Monday, 25 January 2010

Train Chaos: Redux

A few weeks ago, back when I was in my twenties, ah great days they were, my twenties...

But they’re gone now and here I am, a thirty something.

Forty doesn’t look so very far away now, not from where I’m standing.

And then it’ll be old age and death I expect.

Anyway, as I was saying, a few weeks ago (when I was in my No more tangents) I wrote a blog about snow induced train chaos.

Snow induced train chaos which trapped me on a train for almost three hours.

Something which caused me minimal bother, because I, unlike many of my fellow commuters, had a book with me, and was therefore able to meaningfully amuse myself for the duration.

Yes, many a smug Iphone user learned a harsh lesson that day.

Their little toy may be of interest for about 10 of your earth minutes, but once you’ve simulated stapling something, had an e-shave, and drunk a pretend drink of milk, you start to yearn for something, well, good.

Like a book.

And I had an enormous book.

Which is probably what stopped me from turning rogue, shouting at the guard and prising the doors open.

All of which brings me to my point.

Our local paper arrived on Friday and contained this story (click on the picture to maximise):

Now I was on that train, and don’t remember it being particularly post-apocalyptic. But as I said, I was busy reading my book.

The moral? Reading is good.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

"Sit down, SIT DOWN!"

This blog is about travel disruption due to snow.

I am nothing if not topical.

However, unlike most tales of snow woe, mine is not concerned with this country's inability to cope with adverse conditions.

On the contrary, I find our weather related ineptitude kind of adorable. Indeed, said ineptitude graced me with the following anecdote.

I got to the station this morning and, as expected, all of the boards either said 'delayed' or 'cancelled'.

However, there was one train that was badly delayed but at least seemed to have a time assigned to it, so I waited for that one and got on it.

We went two stops and then in between stations we came to a sudden halt.

The guard told us over the tannoy that there was a failed train in front of us and that we were stuck until it was moved.

An hour later the guard was back on the tannoy, this time to tell us that another train in front of us was on fire.

After two hours we still weren't moving. And some people were becoming noticeably restless.

I wasn't exactly happy myself but what can you do?

Well, the answer to that rhetorical question is, at it turns out - start a mini rebellion.

After two and a half hours a very panicky sounding train guard shouted over the tannoy - "Attention, attention, sit in your seats, sit down, SIT DOWN, do not get off the train"

I looked up from my book and saw loads of normally stuffy Surrey people wandering past my window, along the track, with the gait of someone who thinks they're a bit like Spartacus or Braveheart.

I carried on reading my book.

Five minutes later the guard announced that we would be moving shortly, but...

...We would have to wait for the people who had clambered off the train and were running loose on the track to arrive at the next station before we could proceed.

Oh the irony. The delayed become the delay.

Over dramatic idiotic rabble.

Although I suppose I should consider myself lucky that they merely disembarked.

If they'd stayed on board they would probably have turned to cannibalism.

The best part of it all, better even than watching the slow breakdown of social order, was watching the return to normal when the train moved.

Metros were pulled back up in front of people's faces, people who had been chatting to their neighbour a minute ago, retreated back into themselves and looked out of the window. And people who had been trying to prise the doors open moments earlier sat back down and fiddled with their IPhone.

We were commuters once more.

The end.

Friday, 1 January 2010

Web Jape of the Year!

Ok, first things first, let's get the cliche over with: Happy New Year.

I hope you had fun whatever you got up to.

Me, I saw in 2010 watching Bid TV.

Don't judge me.

Peter Simon was presenting from 10pm-2am and I wanted to see what he would do at midnight.

And I can tell you that he raised a toast with some champagne that he then promptly went on to try and sell moments later. Bid TV never miss a trick.

Anyway, I just wanted to post a quick blog to say that I got mentioned on Radio 5 yesterday by the lovely Olly and Helen.

They were doing a show called Web 2009, where they were giving out a number of online awards.

One of the categories was 'online jape of the year' (click on the picture to maximise):

Renegade amazon reviewers were nominated, and I was mentioned as one of their favourites! They even read some of my reviews out.

You can listen here for the next 6 days.

The web japes category is about 18 minutes in.

It can also be downloaded as a podcast from here.