Brendadada, no less, has weighed in to the Pig Sty Camera debate. We're getting down to the wire now. It's between the Canon EOS 350D and the Nikon D70, and here's a very useful side by side comparison she's put me on to. Hmm. The Nikon's a wee bit heavier and bigger, which is a negative for me... But this interchangeability with most other Nikon lenses is very persuasive, with the opportunity to borrow your pals' lenses for particular tasks... And if the price comes down in the new year, which seems likely, it's coming into my price range. Oh yes.
As for the pocketability angle. As I said, the bigger size of the Nikon is a negative. But to take pictures of people, I'm just going to have to deploy a whole load of interpersonal techniques to put them at ease. And there are other things I want to photo: spiders in their webs, dewdrops on railings, sunday morning football, dog races, motion blurred metros and aeroplanes and cars on the Tyne tunnel approach road... Only a good SLR can do these things.
Mind you, thanks to Vee8 for giving me this link to an article about a serious photo-journalist who's been working in Iraq on compact cameras. He likes to have a big DoF, which of course you get with compacts and that's ok, but not always.