Watching TV while you’re on the phone: my friend AB lives in Toronto, and when she calls three or four times a year, we tend to talk for hours. So she’s describing Matthew Barney’s new Cremaster movie, and whether the film Seabiscuit did justice to the book’s vivid prose style, and I’m listening and replying, and all the time half-watching a rubberfaced Tommy Lee Jones chase crims round America, flicking over now and then to a documentary about idiots snowboarding down some spectacular ice-capped peak. Then as I check out the Newsnight reports of Hurricane Isabel, her windows start rattling and she decides to go and batten down the hatches.