Just spent a very interesting hour or so with a chap travelling back from Birmingham University. We, or rather I, was talking about a whole range of things. I am not one to hold much in the way of conversations on trains these days, prefering to do my own thing (yes, I can be a grumpy curmudgeon).
We started when he saw my Axim and wondered what exactly it was; of course I launched into what one friend calls "the sales pitch", running through the basic history of the device, what it could do, what I use it for - leisure and my work for a national charity, what the next step is UMPC (shoutout to Kevin and Josh), the jump to the tablet computer (shoutout to James) and so on. I did give him chances to ask questions, after all I did draw a few breaths.
We then moved on to the Flashman novel he was reading, I read Flashman and the Redskins only a short while ago. We then moved on to what he was doing - music studies at Birmingham. Again we had interests in common. I mentioned some early music and modern composers whom I liked with an older feel like John Tavener and he knew exactly what I meant. It turns out he plays in a medieval group and plays a form of dulcimer - OK an 18/19th century version but it's about the sound isn't it? I expalined how I held composers in awe, the act of music being something of a mystery to me, (I did once play instruments - cornet and a little tenor horn - but did not have the enthusiasm to carry it through).
Toward the end of our conversation and his stop at Plymouth, home for a few days away from the hustle of what is called Britain's second capital, we came back to modern music. I left him with my all time favourite singer, someone with the most amazing voice (IMHO), Eddi Reader. He said he'd look her up. A second thought occurred to me, one other person I have a huge respect for musically (oh dear, I don't mean I don't respect her in every other way too) is Sissel; I am not certain he knows whom I meant and she has only one album and appeared on a Christmas album with Charles Aznavore and Placido Domingo that I have come across. I can't quite recall but I think I told him she was Norwegian when I meant Icelandic. Just imagine if there were a host of such voices to sing you through all those months of persistent night.
Anyway, I had a blast this evening and it definitely improved my journey home, I have a strong feeling that it would have been the same even if we hadn't covered PCs. He had a perfectly respectable laptop, that he apologised for in light of my Axim and BT keyboard, then I showed him my steam powered laptop - 600Mhz top speed and only just running XP Pro because of a memory upgrade.
We never exchanged names but some of my best conversations have been that way.