When the web first became a mainstream proposition in the mid to late 90s, we had ringingly, unrealistically high hopes for it. The information superhighway was going to bring down undemocratic governments, stop human rights abuses and usher in a world free of ignorance.

Since then we’ve had a masterclass on the gulf between what idealistic early-adopters envisage and what the mass market demands. Instead of being a gleaming vehicle for intellectual debate and the spread of freedom the net is about porn, chatting inanely to friends, buying unnecessary stuff and, increasingly, watching telly.

The advent of Gogglebox means that TV viewers are now the stars of their own show, watching TV while we watch them. Indeed, the Goggleboxers were recently shown watching themselves win a Bafta for best constructed reality show. This created a meta-vacuum into which all participants were sucked. They remain trapped inside their own TVs like General Zod in Superman, spinning in space forever.
It appears to be in an evidence bag from the scene of a crime. A CRIME AGAINST BLOODY COOKING. Either that or some sort of back-street underground cookie, purchased off a gun-toting maniac high on his own supply of yeast. You certainly wouldn’t want to be caught carrying one of these through customs. Imagine biting into a piece of brass Richard. That would be softer on the teeth than the specimen above.
But while fragging a Canadian teenager with a well-placed tank shell is undeniably more fun than reading Dostoevsky, it can teach you nothing about love, ambition, friendship or beauty.
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I like the idea of some couple coming from Brazil or Spain or Japan or somewhere and looking out over Edinburgh and declaring their love for each other and sticking a padlock on this thing shortly before some big gruff council worker comes marching up to the top with a pair of bolt cutters over his shoulder, unceremoniously snipping all the padlocks off and shoving them in a bin-bag full of dogshit.
Deadline day has become a little like a small car crash at the bottom of your street, at which people will gather without having any idea really what they are there for.
In order to build a career and to be successful, one has to be determined, one has to be ambitious.
I much prefer to drink coffee, listen to music and to paint when I feel like it.
Buses often have very weird people in it, who yell things or smell or dress funny. I love that.

Our greatest national ancillary skill - teasing the English - has been on the critical list for some time. On the news that the touring team would feature a chap called Root, it sat up in bed, brushed its hair and took a little chicken soup, but things remained pretty dire.

Until now. The English team’s travelling menu - all 82 richly textured and hysterically detailed pages of it - is like a shot of super-concentrated foetal stem cells into the wasted arm of our domestic sledging industry.

The quinoa requests alone would keep a slips fielder sassing for days.