Yes, sorry, to explain that image below – I had a jaunt to Berlin to see Atari’s line-up of games. We stayed in the excellent Q! Hotel, a picture from whose website I inserted below. As you can see from that picture the hotel has a certain, aha, ‘bent’ on hospitality, one emphasised at reception. I bent over to do up my laces, and the slender male receptionist leant over the counter, said “Oh, those are *lovely* shoes”, and flounced off down the corridor. We were later informed that Q! stands for Queer, and that when they saw 90 pallid thin male journalists walking in, they naturally assumed we were here for the hotel’s attractions…

However, as most of the games were for PC I scared of not being able to do my usual flying visit of the various attractions of the city – the odd clubs that are Berlin’s stock-in-trade completely eluded me. That said, as it turned out, at 3.30 one drunken morning, after having spent 12 hours trudging round genre and platform titles, aborted beauties one and all, only passing attractions, me and an unnamed compatriot, decided to visit the Reichstag (there’s a symbol of Imperial ambition – the whole place, with its surrounding screen of futuristic buildings, and every office open to public scrutiny is decidely odd at four in the morning). The following day, with a couple of hours free before our flight, we managed to hit Checkpoint Charlie and blitz that (if you forgive the quite-deliberate, premeditated expression.) I still don’t feel I saw anything of Berlin, but damn that hotel was good.

In other sad news, the father of a friend died suddenly recently – it’s odd in that, most of my university friends have now lost a parent, whereas my school friends, as far as I know having lot touch with most of them, are still secure in a swaddling blanket of parental vitality. Without looking at the stats, I honestly don’t know if one group is particularly unlucky or lucky – I certainly feel lucky myself. I want to spend more time with my family because of it, but on my salary and with my commitments on time, that’s just not possible. Seventy years suddenly seems nothing at all.

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