In a way, I’m glad I don’t have proper Internet access. The BBC radio news yesterday evening was apocalyptically depressing. How much global death, disaster, and destruction is it possible to fit into one broadcast? Pakistan, Mexico, South-East Asia. The latest Economist—a journal not normally known for “quagmire” rhetoric—welcomes the Iraqi people’s recent vote on their constitution by making Iraq sound like ‘Nam. Brum is burning. And, er, Villa managed to lose at home to Wigan.

Meanwhile, I am sitting in a sleazy Internet Caff in Hove. For you, dear reader, I have been walking the mean streets of Retirement-Ville. It’s ugly. On a seafront wall I found evidence of a Saturday night of Grey Power excess: an empty screwtop miniature of Macon-Villages Chardonnay, tucked carefully upright against the trimmed privet. At every step I wonder if a former colonel will leap out from an alleyway, smash me over the head with his shooting stick, and steal my wallet to feed his Sanatogen habit. The local bowls club is having a recruitment drive and is draped with a banner declaring “ALL AGES WELCOME”. Who dares me to join up?