Thursday 21 October 2010

Pain train to Rayners Lane

Last night, Jason and I attended a Stephen Hawking lecture. I merely had standing tickets however Jason was living it up with high society on a comfy seat somewhere in the auditorium. The standing section is too far away to accurately spit at people below, so I thought it best not to. I didn't see him at the end of the lecture and he hasn't got to the office yet, so I can only assume he was consumed by a black hole. Perhaps the animations on the screen were not just animations. Has physics really come this far? Well according to Professor Hawking, it may well have. He talked about his new book which shall remain un-named, and M-theory that is a collection of other theories that all overlap eachother, and go some way to explaining the origins of the universe. This is big news. I remember my A-Level physics teacher Mr Roy Woodworth getting rather excited in 1993 at the prospect of such a Grand Unified Theory, and later at University my Astronomy lecturer Professor Raman Prinja getting equally excited. If only I was as passionate about physics, I might have made something of myself and had my own constant. One that wasn't related to burritos in any way, shape or form.
The lecture was rather good, if a little difficult to understand. Professor Hawking's speech synthesiser is clearly not designed for the Royal Albert Hall, and the echo made it difficult to hear, if not understand.
I was proud to have been there for what could well be the last lecture he ever gives.

Why the pain train to Rayners Lane, you may ask? Well in order to get to the Royal Albert Hall, Jason and I had to take the Picadilly line tube from Holborn. Unfortunately when we got there, we were confronted with what seemed to be a mini black hole of people. It was incredibly dense and we were unable to get into the station, so I boldly decided that we would walk to Covent Garden and take the train from there. The walk itself was rather pleasant, but we foolishly decided to take the stairs which, with the health and safety colour scheme of the steps, made us rather dizzy and confused. We then managed to get on the train, and proceeded to get squashed by all manner of people. It's been a while since I took the tube at rush hour, and I am sure women never used to press their entire bodies against me before. At least I hope it was a woman. I was too scared to turn around and look.

Now, not meaning to make this blog post read like a choose your own adventure book, but I ought to write about what happened in between the pain train to Rayners Lane and the lecture. We had intended to eat at Da Mario, a great little Italian restaurant on Gloucester Road. The food here is great, the service is good and the prices low. The restaurant is spoiled only by a cheesy painting of Princess Diana being served a pizza by Mario himself. Apparently she used to like this place.
Unfortunately last night they had a party booking for a 4 year-old child and we were told we could only sit downstairs. This would not have been a problem were it not for the fact that downstairs smelt like a rotten dishcloth and made me feel a bit sick. We went to Il Borgo next door instead, and in restrospect, I probably should have put up with the smell. Unlike Da Mario, Il Borgo is overpriced, slightly below mediocre and the service is terrible.

But the lecture made it all ok :)

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