Clowns & Jokers

Stuck in the middle.... Left, right, centre. It's a mess out there.

Monday, November 14, 2005

"Single to Tottenham Court Road and a bloody right wing revolution please"




We all knew that the red Routemaster would make a small but welcome return to the capital. Its been common knowledge for some time that there were to be ‘Heritage routes’. (Brought in to ensure the famous and traditional London icons were not ruthlessly dismissed). Our glorious leader Ken had phased them out and updated them because "One Londoner in 10 can't physically get on a Routemaster and that's before you consider all the people struggling to get on with buggies”. Yet again minority rules. They were not updated with commuters in mind. Despised commuters play second fiddle to handicapped people and day time mums. Now of course Ken can say proudly “Ten out of ten Londoners can physically get on the bendy buses without paying a penny” and give himself a pat on the back. The buses payment system relying totally on trusting the passenger to swipe their card!

The Routemaster cannot last forever. It is a testament to how well it was designed that it lasted so long. Of course London’s bus network needs updating. And the powers that be have certainly made an effort on this level. We now have several different species of red buses cruising the narrow streets of this great city. The much loved and uniform appearance of the Routemaster has been replaced with a mish mash of bus styles some ugly & painted red out of some miss-the-point duty, some long and bendy and some futuristic and devoid of air. And some are downright dangerous. The bendy bus for example can take huge volumes of people. They career around the roads driven by mentalists with seemingly no awareness of the fact that they have cut a road in half when they hunch up to stop at a junction ...and totally blind to the cyclist at the back. Not that I have much time for cyclists either but I wouldn’t wish them dead. The bendy bus’s ultimate moment was the other night when even a drink sodden tramp was shaken from his stupor to take huge umbridge at Ken’s baby. “Bloody hell!” he screamed and swayed in someone’s ear “Sorry I stepped on your foot..grrrrr...dont you look at me like that! I cant ‘elp it if this driver is insane and drives the thing like a tank! If you wanna blame anyone..blame Ken F**ckin’ Livingstone..” followed by drunken mumblings about the driver not knowing if a riot had broken out on the back end of the bus it was so effing long..& how could he tell who’d paid..& and a few more ranting choruses of “Don’t you make that face at me grrrrrr!”. Now, thanks to Ken and in the joy that is rush ‘hour’ commuters are treated to airless tube-like capacities and can sweat it out with fellow passengers on their way to work, i-podding out the thought of a terror attack as they go. And all because ‘the pink lady’ loves to champion welfare over air conditioning.





The last time I jumped onto a Routemaster was an experience I will never forget. Sadly not for the memories of being able to swing onto and off the bus at my own ‘I can handle it thanks Ken im a grown up’ peril. This particular time I was sat on the long seats facing a bunch of suitably entranced commuters opposite. We had chugged along for about ten minutes when I became aware that the bus conductor, a young woman was staring hard at a passenger with a look which didn’t really tell me much. The bus not moving, however, did. The passenger was staring abjectly out of the window. “Fare please” she repeated. “Fare please ‘sir’”. He ignored her. A guy seated in front swung round “Come on mate. We all need to get to work”. “Fare please” she droned on, her face utterly devoid of expression. As was the non paying passenger’s. The latter was a burly black guy in his 50s. He didn’t appear insane. Or deaf. He eventually snarled “Im not paying” and stared out the window. She calmy explained that he would have to get off the bus. “Why should I” he replied and continued to look out of the window. “Force me” he droned on “I don’t have the money so Im not paying”. He then decided to clam up totally. He just stared out of the window as she asked over and over again. Of course I couldn’t sit there and say nothing so I said

“Don’t make her job difficult please. Everyone else has paid and everyone else wants to get going” (politely). Shock. Gaaaaaasp.

Apart from me, one guy and the conductor everyone else had started getting restless. There were tuts of disapproval that I initially presumed to be directed at the awkward sod sat opposite. This went on for some time with calls from the conductor who was quietly but firmly insisting on payment. Eventually someone shouted for the bus to get going, echoed by others. The conductor explained that she couldn’t because it was her job to collect fares and one passenger wouldn’t pay ..or alight. It all descended into chaos. Now, Ive stood in a supermarket queue in south London and watched a badly beaten young immigrant mother struggle to get the pennies to add up to the till total. She takes yoghurts she wanted to buy for her smiling baby off the belt and looked hopefully as the till was re rung. Whilst spot-the-liberal morons looked the other way. I ended up paying for some of her shopping. I imagined her husband to have drunk away the money in some eastern European drinking match. She was humbling. This guy was not. He was awkward, aggressive and rude. The world owed him a bus ride and everyone else was in agreement. Eventually one woman ran up and started screaming at me in broken English that I was ‘a bitch’. Over and over and over again. If Im a bitch for standing up to liberal lefty bullying tactics then bring it on. I calmly suggested she pay the passengers fare. “Yoooouuuuu pay eeeeet!!” she screamed back. Oh OF COURSE! She wants him to ride for free but catch is...someone ELSE has gotta foot the bill.

Eventually of course the awkward passenger chose to wake up from his coma and make his way off the bus but not before he had spat in my face ( i swerved, he missed...rotten d**k head). Not the conductor's who had been far more insistent and ruder than me. Nope. Mine. Followed by several other passengers, stomping off the bus screaming at me in spanglish, calling me every name under the sun to my by now pissed off ‘yeah, whatever, bite me’ style retorts.

At the end of the day is it really so important to stand up to this sort of shit in my city? Id argue it is. Because to them, our liberal chums and their carefully moulded electorate, there is such a thing as a permanent free ride.

2 Comments:

At Tuesday, 15 November, 2005, Blogger Dumb Brit said...

Bravo. Applaue, applause. It's people like yourself who keep my tenous faith in humanity afloat.

 
At Tuesday, 15 November, 2005, Blogger Dangerouslysubversivedad said...

You Nazi, its people like you that keep the black man from achieving his rightful place in society at the head of the queue for, well, everything. How could you dare to even look at a black man funny, let alone actually contradict him, you fascist.

Institutionalised racism on London Buses! Bush! Fascism! Bush! Bush! Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuush!

/sarc off

 

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