Monday, July 30, 2007

the brighton wednesday night music club

Last week myself, Siobhan and Ant held the inaugral meeting of the Brighton Wednesday Night Music Club. The beauty of this club is that it is very loud, it may never happen again, and it gave us the opportunity to pool our shoutiest records and have arguments about the nature of reality, while drunk. Here, to the best of my recollection, is what we played that night.

Melt Banana - Introduction for Charlie
Electric Sound of Joy - Food of the Range
Cat Power - (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
Urusei Yatsura - Pachinko
Lemonheads - Stove
Huggy Bear - Pansy Twist
Let's Wrestle - I Wish I Was In Husker Du
Pram - Bathysphere
Smog - Cold Discovery
Miss Violetta Beauregarde - The Unbearable Lightness of a Farm Tractor
Les Georges Leningrad - Black Eskimo
Blood Sausage - Billy Joel
Scout Niblett - Just What I Needed

Friday, July 27, 2007

plans for brighton

Brighton, my home town, has changed a lot since I moved here nearly ten years ago. It has a bright and successful (if rather deadening) shopping centre (Churchilll Square), a beautiful and much-loved new library in the North Laine, a variety of attractive new residential buildings. All of this without losing its scruffy, individual charm. There are plenty more developments lined up, too - the New England district, having been a wasteland sprouting cranes for several years, is coming together, a tall and impressive observational tower (the i360) will shortly be built on the sea front, and the beautiful and controversial Gehry buildings are finally approved. The Brighton Centre and Odeon, two ugly spots on the otherwise beautiful seafront, will be demolished soon, apparently. Most recently, the Local communities secretary, Hazel Blears, finally gave the go-ahead for Brighton and Hove Albion to build an attractive new stadium in Falmer, just outside the city. This is wonderful news for Brighton. Next on the list, I assumed, was the old pier, still standing forlorn in the water, a burned out shell of its former glory.

But no, it seems like the ever changing city will be developed in an unexpected fashion, next, if Council plans are given the go-ahead. The Evening Argus this week revealed a selection of exciting plans to renovate the three major gateways to the city, Preston Road, London Road and Lewes Road, long run-down and neglected parts of our town. The proposals - which at the moment are just that - look genuinely promising, and if a third of what is planned is completed it will be a great step forwards. The plans are outlined below. Thoughts from Brighton residents or interested observers are most welcome.

Lewes Road - this rather unattractive thoroughfare of the city, on the way out to the universities, has long been the most affordable area for student housing, and is at present a busy but unappealing road consisting mostly of funeral parlours, takeaways and budget grocers. The council plan to turn this area into an academic corridor, adding a public square at the Vogue Gyratory, demolishing Sainsburys and the petrol station and encouraging improved shop fronts. They intend to line the road with trees, ban fast food outlets and move Moulescombe station southwards to join it better with the city.

London Road - the closest that Brighton has to a suburban shopping street, London Road is ripe for regeneration sitting as it does in a valley, making high rise development feasible in a city which is famously protective of its skyline. To the west of the high street, the council has already invested in a dense outcrop of buildings, centred on a new Sainsburys, which they hope will provide a new focus for local jobs. But far from reimagining London Road as a financial district, the council see it, post-development, as a new arts district. It's the soon-to-close St Peter's Church which will serve as the catalyst, as it is soon to be converted into a 'cultural centre', complete with art studios. Elsewhere, the open market, a crucial but run-down part of town, will be completely redeveloped and renovated. The approach to the seafront will be transformed into a "green boulevard leading from The Level to the seafront, cutting the fourlane carriageway to the west down to a bus lane and moving all other traffic to the east". There'll be a new car park, too, traffic fans.

Lastly, Preston Road, the main approach to the city, will be similarly redeveloped, focusing on fixing the unused or innapropriate commercial properties and developing the viaduct into a proper Brighton landmark, complete with 'imaginative lighting' and space for 'creative business looking for bespoke accommodation in a high quality, unusual environment".

This all sounds like a lot of work, but (with the possible exception of the Lewes Road 'academic corridor', which may house a lot of students and be on the university route, but which hasn't in the last ten years supported a single bookshop) it all sounds plausible and beneficial to the city, If some of these proposals are carried out Brighton will be all the better for it,

shrigley record coming

I've always got time for David Shrigley's cartoons, they're wonderful, but I'm as much a fan of his words as his drawings, so I'm pleased to hear that - after the lovely Scout Niblett song 'Dinosaur Egg', which married Scout's music to a lyric from Shrigley's LP without music, 'Worried Noodles' - the record label TomLab have put together an entire album where some seriously good artists are given free rein to interpret some of Shrigley's imaginary songs. Brilliant.

Artists represented include the redoubtable Niblett, Deerhoof, David Byrne, Islands, Liars, Trans Am, Hot Chip, Les Georges Leningrad and Franz Ferdinand. Which all sounds rather ace.

Here are some of the words they will be singing.

Elaine is a danger
To herself
And other people
Elaine is a danger
And is not allowed
In the metal workshop
In the chemistry lab or
In the sports hall
Elaine is a danger
And must not be given pens
Elaine is a danger
And must only write in crayon
Elaine is a danger
And must not go
Near the windows
Or the fishtank
Or in the cupboard.

"The Bell (1:55)"
I heard the bell ringing
Ding-dong Ding-dong
There was a funeral
Ding-dong Ding-dong
Lots of people at the funeral
Ding-dong Ding-dong
Funeral of a rock star
Ding-dong Ding-dong
Who died in a fight
Ding-dong Ding-dong
He got his head punched off
Ding-dong Ding-dong
By a 12-foot monster
Ding-dong Ding-dong

"The King (2:52)"
I am the King of it all
And you R my subjects
I am the King of it all
And U R my subjects
Don't believe me?
Ask the police!
They will beat you up for asking.

Extract from "Ding Dang"
Squirrel squirrel
In the tree
Do me a favour
Collect Nuts for me
Do me a favour
And take the shells off
The nuts
And examine them closely
To check they are not
Before you give them to me.

Nut Nut
Beautiful nut
Salt nut
Spicy nut
You're a good old nut
And I love you

Thursday, July 26, 2007

oscar knows

Here's one of those periodic cat stories which turn up in the papers and always end up charming me; this time it's Oscar the rescue cat, who has a sixth sense that is pretty amazing, by the sounds of things. Here's the report from the Guardian:

Oscar the rescue cat is not simply a welcome feline companion at the Steere nursing home in Providence, Rhode Island. According to a new report in a medical journal he has a remarkable, morbid talent - predicting when patients will die.
When the two-year-old grey and white cat curls up next to an elderly resident, staff now realise, this means they are likely to die in the next few hours.

Such is Oscar's apparent accuracy - 25 consecutive cases so far - that nurses at the US home now warn family members to rush to a patient's beside as soon as the cat takes up residence there.

"He doesn't make too many mistakes. He seems to understand when patients are about to die," said Dr. David Dosa, an expert in geriatric care who described the phenomenon in the New England Journal of Medicine. "Many family members take some solace from it. They appreciate the companionship that the cat provides for their dying loved one," Dr Dosa added.

According to staff at the nursing home, Oscar began patrolling the wards around six months after he was adopted as a kitten, observing and sniffing at residents before occasionally choosing someone to sit by.

Oscar appeared to take the task seriously and was otherwise quite aloof, Dr Dosa said: "This is not a cat that's friendly to people."

The Steere home is a dementia centre which cares for people with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease and other ailments.

Another doctor who works at the centre, Joan Teno of Brown University, based in Providence, said she became convinced of Oscar's talent after he appeared to make a mistake.

Observing one patient, Dr Teno said she saw the woman was not eating, was breathing with difficulty and that her legs had a bluish tinge, signs that often mean death is near.

However, Oscar would not stay inside the woman's room and Dr Teno thought this meant his correct streak had been broken. Instead, it turned out her prediction was about 10 hours too early, and during the patient's final two hours Oscar joined the woman at her bedside.

Scientists remain uncertain whether there is any predictive basis for Oscar's talent, or if there are other factors at work, for example, an attraction to the warm blankets often placed on seriously ill residents.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

munnery's world

Snorting and giggling at my desk today, sifting through some of Simon Munnery's recent blog posts. Take your pick from the one-liners below - they're all funny.

There is advice in sayings, and the law is a form of advice, backed up by truncheons.

"Never a borrower or a lender be" my Uncle used to say, and perhaps inevitably the bank sacked him.

The announcement runs 'Please be aware that professional beggars are operating in this station'. But how are they operating? Are they operating normally - or is there a restricted service? More information please.

I should be more grateful to my parents. That I’m not is their fault: they should have raised me to be more grateful.

"I didn’t ask to be born," she eventually said. "Yes you did," I replied. She couldn’t argue - she knew as little about that time as I did.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

beware bees

Cameron in trouble

Shall we have a quick round up of the problems that David Cameron is facing at the moment? I think we should. I shan't go back so far as to drag up the gaffes pre-dating the last few weeks, although much pleasure was to be had from the whole Greg Dyke debacle, the Grammar School U-turns, the museum charges stuff and Quentin Davies defection to Labour (Oh, OK, I'll quote Labour's second newest MP: He told Cameron that "Although you have many positive qualities you have three, superficiality, unreliability and an apparent lack of any clear convictions, which in my view ought to exclude you from the position of national leadership"). Having had a pretty dreadful June, July shows no signs of letting up for the Tory leader, to my great amusement. Here's a quick overview:

1. I suppose that some people might consider it a good thing that the Tories have, in Boris Johnson, finally found a high profile and popular figure to run against Red Ken, but I'm pretty sure it'll turn out to be a calamitous mistake; Johnson may have carefully cultivated a joshing, likeable reputation, but he's a shambolic, desperate politician and a bad choice. He's certainly got no qualifications for running London, and the chances of him getting to the election without some appalling gaffe look pretty slim. Ken will bury him.

2. Cameron's strategy, hankering after a clause 4 moment, is clearly to ensure that no policy commitment he makes (or rather, alludes vaguely to) wins the jaundiced approval of the nutter section of the Tory Press, represented ably by Simon Heffer, Melanie Phillips and Peter Hitchens. The latter, Cameron says, is a maniac and Heffer's politics were roundly refuted by Cameron in a recent Telegraph article. "Simon Heffer's approach", Cameron wrote, "heartfelt though it undoubtedly is, will simply ensure that our party remains in Opposition for ever". All of this is doubtless sensible, seeing as the lunatic politics of that triumverate have done much to destroy Tory hopes of government over the last twenty years. But the fact remains that this policy, sensible or not, means that the right wing press slag off Cameron constantly. The section of the electorate who are his core base spend every morning, every day of the week, reading about what a charlatan he is. It looks like the mud is beginning to stick.

3. It's not just the grassroots who are getting impatient either. It's one thing for dinosaurs like Norman Tebbitt to attack him, but criticism is coming thick and fast from figures who matter, either to the party itself or to its members. In the first category, there are few more important than Lord Kalms, who is a major Tory doner and a former treasurer to the party. On the Today programme this morning he was relatively careful not to damn his leader out-right. "I'm just sending warning signals from the back ranks:'Look, chum, we need to do some rethinking'", was how he phrased it. Yet he was less cautious in the FT, indicating that he was "disillusioned to a substantial degree" with David Cameron.

4. Ann Widdecombe may be a figure of the past too, but she's popular with the party and her criticism is becoming more strident. Today she insisted that Cameron spend less time gadding about Rwanda and more time shoring up the traditional vote. Crime and immigration, according to Ms Widdecombe, should be back at the top of the Tory agenda. Most of the grassroots will probably cheer her intervention. Cameron won't.

5. His trip to Rwanda appears to be playing very badly. I'd argue that this is decent work and worth his while, but the problem lies in perception. The floods here in the UK are really bad, and while there's not much he can actually do to help, it's his constituency that's under water. People are asking why he isn't there. Equally, as worthwhile as a trip to Africa might be, it follows several sensationalist PR exercises (remember the huskies, the wind turbine, the bicycle?). When will Cameron stop posturing, his party are wondering, and start delivering? Will he ever? A Tory frontbencher apparently asked "What is the point of him going to Africa? Does he think he’s Bob Geldof? This is just a stunt".

6. This one's serious - The Sunday Telegraph reported at the weekend that dissent on the backbenches continues to ferment. Apparently as many as six MPs had sent letters to the chairman of the party's 1922 backbench committee demanding a vote of no confidence. Six MPs is nothing in a party the Tories' size, but it is absolutely vital, if the Cameron project is to succeed, to create the illusion that the party is with him not against him. He's moving too fast, clearly, and leaving people behind. Those people are going to start creating quite a lot of noise, by the looks of things.

7. And then of course there's the biggest problem. By any standards the results in last week's two by-elections were an absolute disaster. The tories may have increased their share of the vote in both Ealing Southall (where they fought, humiliatingly, as Cameron's Conservatives) and Sedgefield, but a party that trails in in third in two key by-elections at this point of the electoral cycle is in serious, serious trouble. The background to all the points above, and doubtless the cause of much of the dissatisfaction, is surprise at how Brown is doing. There's not a lot the Tories can do about that, except shut up and let him have his moment in the sun (which, like all honeymoons, will end before long) - but even so, they should have come second in Sedgefield and some might say they should have won in Southall. It's a massive problem that they didn't.

Brown should go to the polls.

Sam in Siberia

For those of you interested in keeping up to date with Sam's latest location on his trek around the world, he's reached the Siberian town of Yekaterinburg now. Extract from his blog, below, and the full, rather fascinating, post is here. Hello Sam, if you're reading this! We miss you.

"I ordered a pint of Harp, and tried to make faltering conversation in Russian with the unimpressed barman. I looked hopefully over at a lively group of 20-somethings at the other end of the bar, immersed in their own quick Russian conversations. I was about the leave, and was asking the barman to point out tourist sights on my map, when one of the group overheard our conversation, and came over to help translate. She spoke excellent English, and was soon joined by her equally eloquent friend. Almost before I knew it I was welcomed into their group, introductions made, the two English speakers translating my answers to their multitudinous questions for their less English speaking friends.

After a quick introduction to Russian hitchhiking, I was taken to one of their friend's small neat flat, some way from the town centre, where they prepared a midnight feast of fresh sushi, and was introduced to Ukrainian chili vodka. All of them were incredibly friendly, with even the least able at English commanding that their friends translate their questions, and waiting patiently for the translation of my no-doubt tedious answers. We made toasts in the traditional Russian way, laughed, ate, and drank copiously. The night spun into a blur, but at some point my phone number was given out, with a dedicated drunken invitation to take me to visit important sights in the morning. I humbly accepted, whilst insisting that I not take up any more of their kindly given hospitality, and fully expecting that the offer be tactfully forgotten in the harsh glare of morning."
No chance of that - I think the thing that appeals to me most about travelling, despite an exhilaration at the thought of all that geography and hidden history, is the thought of these inspiring encounters. Go to Sam's blog for the rest.

Friday, July 20, 2007

welcome back

I'm very much enjoying calling myself a Labour supporter at the moment; it's been such a long time since I've felt happy to describe myself in that way, but recent events and the purging of Tony Blair have - and I have to be careful not to tempt fate here - done a lot to bring me back in to the fold. I'm still cautious about a number of things, but overall the feel of the party under Gordon Brown seems transformed. And weirdly, although Cameron seems capable of besting his opponent at PMQs, where he struggled against Blair, somehow the new Prime Minister makes him look more insubstantial, rather than less. Against Blair Cameron looked weedy, but at least a reflection of something successful. With Blair banished, and cast against Brown, Cameron seems utterly featherweight, all of his Blairite affectation making him look, well, pathetic. Even when he beats Brown he ends up looking bad, crowing and jubilant as if he has no idea that he will likely be crushed at the next election regardless. If he needs bringing down to earth, of course, he might want to take a look at last night's by-election results. Third in both Ealing Southall and Sedgefield. This is probably not the next party of government.


This is my favourite blog at the moment, although I have only just discovered it, via Pete Ashton.

Speechification is a blog about radio 4, and a great way of highlighting bits and bobs on the schedule worth listening to; it includes MP3s of stuff so it's not about highlighting things you've already missed. Well worth a visit. Oh, and I should clarify... according to the blog's descripion, it isn't a blog about Radio 4 at all. It is, instead...

"A blog of Radio 4. Not about Radio 4 but of it. We point to the bits we like, the bits you might have missed, the bits that someone might have sneakily recorded. And other bits of speech radio might find their way here too.

Of course, one day this might turn into something else, maybe a new skin for Radio 4, maybe a new way of curating radio, or maybe it won't."

Right, go see, it's ace.

more on the daily mail

So, having admitted to a one-off look at the Daily Mail website, below, I thought I might as well have a glance at it properly. When I worked in London I'd often pick up copies of the Mail on the tube, so I quickly got used to it's snide, vicious tone and unpallatable politics. I never see it these days, however - and that viciousness gives me a shock. On the front page of the site, in quick succession, are two feature stories. See if you can spot the common theme:

Wasting away: Madonna reveals her 'sinewy' arms: "The saying goes one can never be too rich or too thin - but these pictures of Madonna may disprove that theory"

Nice dimples, Posh ... shame they're on your sun-kissed legs: "With that pout permanently in place, there was no chance of dimples ever showing on Victoria Beckham's unsmiling face. Maybe that's why they've turned up somewhere else ".

I bet if I kept looking I could find, say, twenty stories on that site, in only a few minutes, which expressed that same misogynistic disgust towards successful women.


Now listen, I really don't read the Daily Mail website at work, I promise, but I just went to the site hoping to find something caustic about the hilarious failure, in last night's by-elections, of David Cameron's Conservatives (as they were absurdly branded in Ealing Southall). And I found this amazing, amazing photo. Wow. It's raining a lot in the UK, if you're based abroad, and hadn't guessed. This is one of the entrances to Charing Cross station this afternoon.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Ant's blood on my guitar

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

dave's terrorism video

His tendency to post embarrasing pictures of me aside, my friend Dave runs one of the most consistently inventive blogs of any of my friends - and he's hosting Terrorism Week over at Lever Pulled at the moment. The following, created after a night in the pub, apparently, is the best thing on there at the moment. Not for the easily-offended, but very funny indeed. Sound needed.

Friday, July 13, 2007

interpol record

just a quick link, courtesy of Ben, who directs his readers over to this enjoyably cutting review of the new Interpol album, over at his Silent Words Speak Loudest Blog. I've not heard it yet so shall reserve judgement for the time being, but my hopes aren't high. Like The Strokes, Interpol followed up such a good debut with a pretty shit record, although theirs was overblown and pretentious, too, something it took The Strokes an album longer to achieve. Perhaps they'll be back on form though, and Stylus are just being sniffy. Anyway - if I hear the record sometime soon I'll come back to this and see if it was a fair assessment.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

bird watching

Okay, so the weather is shit again, but the sun and the attendant basking activities which it provoked over the weekend provided a host of nice images; dogs out for cheerful walks, the sea a shocking green over behind the old pier, and young families circling newspapers in the Pavilion gardens while their young waddled across the park in search of adventure.

Rounding the Museum in the aforementioned gardens on Monday afternoon I saw a not-unusual sight; a sunny, fair haired child delightedly stumbling towards his father. Yet there was something wrong with the scene, and the boy's dad, necessarily more observant than me, spotted it first, jumping to his feet and galloping to meet him. Looking again at the child, I saw the source of his delight; clenched in his little white fist was a grey, feathery object. The kid's face glowed with happiness. The dead pigeon hung limply, bits of it stringy and red.

His dad wrestled the bird away, swung the bemused toddler up over his shoulder, and marched him, wriggling, out of the park. I didn't see what he did with the pigeon carcass - whether he simply left it where it fell, thrust it into a bin, or hoyed it away, amongst the bushes.

luton carnival

Monday, July 09, 2007

Hanover Day

Each year Hanover, perhaps the prettiest part of Brighton - a series of colourful, narrow interconnecting streets which clamber up the east side of the city - hosts an event called Hanover Day. It's a small, homely festival which plays on the strengths of the area, focusing on the bright and lively streetlife and the many awesome pubs. Two of the central roads are lined with small stalls, in effect a kind of outdoor jumble sale, and the churches and community centres are open and serving tea, cakes and unusual, spicy curries.

The stalls are always great fun, not least because Hanover residents often have a delicately bohemian bent, meaning their tables are laden with small surprises as well as junk. People seem to resist the urge to mark everything up, too, so the many boxes of books and records yield inexpensive delights - in the course of an hour or so's browsing I'm able to pick up nostalgic treats by Dinosaur Jr, Teenage Fanclub, The Blue Aeroplanes and a great collection of early Creation Records stuff, paying no more than a pound for anything.

Lots of the stands specialise in home made, or home grown produce; clusters of white-green spring onions, jars of garlicky salad dressing or fairy cakes topped with hundreds and thousands. Along the way stands can be spotted campaigning for justice for Palestine and against US intervention in Cuba, alongside the usual Labour and Green Party stalls. More surprisingly, at one point, warm in the rare July sun, I gingerly approach a stand piled high with books. Then a logo, printed on laminated paper and pinned to a bookshelf, catches my eye.

I start to retreat, recognising it as the blue and green logo of the party now branded with a small c: 'conservatives'. Rudely, I murmur, 'Oh, fuck', and instinctively give a filthy look to the blond guy standing there. The look he returns is no more generous, and we stand eyeing each other for a second, wrinkling our noses. I'm mildly offended by the way he looks at me, despite my initial rudeness. As we walk away Siobhán reminds me that he's probably looking at my specs, floppy fringe and brown cardigan and thinking 'fucking Guardian-reading liberal poseur', just as I am thinking 'disgusting Hanover-encroaching right-wing fuck'. Later, Siobhán sits bolt upright and cries 'that Tory wanker is a TV doctor', recognising him from sporadic appearances on This Morning.

We've retreated to the pub by then, alarmed by the unusual warmth and the prospect of getting caught up in a part of Southover Street which might spring to life with Morris Dancers at any moment. Cooled down a little, we take our beers out to the pavement and sit in the sun, admiring the many, grinning dogs climbing back up the hill as the party quietens. At one point a family emerge from the pub behind us and their little boy stands before us, smiling. He is wearing a t-shirt printed with a little waistcoat and a red neckerchief. Siobhán says hello to him.

'I like your T-shirt', I tell him, 'I wish I had one like that'.
'I'm a cowboy', he tells us, earnestly.
We both laugh.
He furrows his little brow and rebukes us. 'It's not funny'.

This year's Hanover Day has a Doctor Who theme. I bump into my friend Iain, who reminds me that the man who voiced the TV dog, K-9, lives on Washington Street. Perhaps it is his idea. We don't see any Dr Who stuff at all, except for one stand which stands in front of one of Hanover's pretty terraced houses. Hanging from the upstairs window is a sheet upon which a Tardis has been crudely painted.

The man running the stand looks disappointed that no-one else is getting into the spirit of the thing.

I really like Hanover Day.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

doctor who

expecting of hanover

Overheard conversation in the pub today:

Man in stripey jumper, spotting a friend with a toddler arrive at the bar: Oh hello, how's it going?
Man with toddler: Oh, good, thanks - lovely weather. Have you met my youngest?
Man in stripey jumper: No, hello. I've got two of my own coming shortly.
Man with toddler: No, really!? Congratulations. Two, you say?
Stripey jumper: Yes. Due in about sixteen weeks.
Toddler man: Gosh. Twins?
Stripey jumper: No. (beat) Different mothers.

He was joking of course, and several people at the bar laughed. Good stuff.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

status updates

A lot of my friends are from places in Europe which have more reliable weather than we do here. Or at least more reliably warm or reliably cold, as opposed to hopelessly ill-disciplined and changeable, which is what we seemed to be saddled with her in the UK. One thing myself and a lot of my friends have done recently is bowed to the inevitable and signed up for a facebook account. Facebook has an agreeable little status update prompt which works rather like twitter (currently lying dormant on my sidebar, I know) and enables facebookers to post short, regular messages which keep all and sundry apprised of their activities.

For my English friends, who are used to - and enjoy - discussing the weather, this functions as a straightforward method of continuing a conversation which we will engage with until we die. For friends from abroad I get the feeling that this little status update widget enables them to finally express their bewilderment at this rubbish country's climate and simultaneously finally slide with ease into the one conversational mode in which all Englishmen are happy. Finally on facebook we have complete synchronicity: we all declaim the weather, announcing that 'Jonathan is seriously considering emigrating to a country with less rainfall' or 'Anne-sophie is tired of this miserable weather' or 'Dan is wondering why Global Warming is working against his interests right now'.

All of a sudden I am tranfixed with fear at the thought that a real summer might be lurking around the corner, smiling in the sun and ready to crush our peaceful, ordered conversations.