I'm forcibly reminded of all this by the new Eurostar commercial, with its images of speed, modernity and weirdness. Train noses merge in a heat-haze; a very modern huntress raises her steel bow and a train shoots off, in parallel with a black T2 running man (echoes of Carl Lewis in Pirelli), intercut with some everyday surrealism and art-school-type passengers. It's all done at great pace - the editing will have cost a fortune - and it all looks shiny, expensive, light and bright.
The music is a seriously clever choice: it combines the traditional train noises with a classical-modernist momentum, just like a Marinetti rendered in sound. This is Futur-ism for the under-10s - and over there is a kid with the Euro Disney mouse ears. It probably incites pestering quite effectively.
But the primary market is in adults - telling them all that Eurostar is open for business "not one day but today"; older viewers may well find themselves waiting for follow-up ads which do more than show a telephone number for a split second. They will ask if the train that moves like a speeding bullet looks like one too. What sorts of seats are available during those exciting three hours? Can they get more than a microwaved bacon roll? And are the loos fully automated? All those questions will play on the mind of the mature traveller who's bought the Euro-star schtick already but, boringly enough, wants to fill in the blanks.
! Video supplied by Tellex Commercials.