My friend Matt and his friend Matt have started recording a Doctor Who podcast. I've never really been much of a one for podcasts - never quite had the time to listen and concentrate - but assisted by a change to the dogwalking logistics, I made a bit of an effort. I'm glad I have, because I've really enjoyed listening. Doctor Who is an intriguing cultural artifact. Like millions of other people, I've watched Doctor Who my entire life and some of my earliest and clearest memories of television are of the programme. As a child I read a few Doctor Who novels, and I've read some more over recent years. I've even read the odd Doctor Who comic. To my surprise, while listening to the podcast I've discovered I have opinions about Doctor Who. But am I 'a fan'?
Matt and Matt are self-declared 'Doctor Who fans', although they agree that there's a difference in degree between them. Curiously, in the two episodes so far, the 'fan' has out-Who'd the 'fanatic' on at least three occasions. I'm also entirely tickled that the second Matt, Matt C, is the 'fanatic' but is, to my mind, far too young to claim such a title. Under the guise of talking about Doctor Who, Matt and Matt have been exploring the idea of fan and fandom and I hope that they'll pursue it some more.
» What is Birmingham's worst road for parking tickets? - Our high street brushes the top 10, which would seem to give the lie to the idea that what local shopping streets need is to let people park where ever the hell they like. There's a car park at the end of the high street that is almost never full and yet people, lots and lots of people, routinely risk a parking fine rather than pay 50p and walk less than 200 yards back up to the Co-op. Twits.
» Parking offence fines in England could be cut : In a recent report, the Commons Transport Committee said it was "hard to justify parking fines that are substantially more than the fines for more serious offences like speeding", for which the minimum penalty is £100 and three penalty points added to the offender's licence. - On the other hand, perhaps we should take the parking fine as a base line and consider £100 for a speeding fine far too lenient. In practice in many places, the minimum penalty for speeding offense is attending a speed awareness course, which will cost you less than £100, doesn't count as a conviction, won't put points on your license, and probably won't have to be declared to your car insurance provider.
» London rolls out smart parking sensors : Westminster council will begin installing smart parking sensors across its entire road network. The sensors will detect whether a bay is vacant or not. Combined with an app that allows drivers to view a real-time map of parking spaces it will direct them to an empty space. Although presumably looking at the app while driving is an offense, so you'd need to park up before you could get your phone out and find a place. Wait, what? On average, drivers spend 15 minutes looking for a parking space in the area, the council said. And that's before you factor in all the time and money you pissed away actually driving into Westminster and the congestion charging zone in the first place.
I do have a car. I try not to be a massive cock about it.