Tourists. Oh yeah. The bane of every Londoner’s life, tourists are the life-blood of our city, the bringers of massive amounts of income, the supporters of our world-beating arts and cultural scene, the sustainers of our magnificent museums, the reason we can afford so many of our icons such as the London Eye, Buckingham Palace, the Cutty Sark, the Globe Theatre, London Zoo, Petticoat Lane and Camden markets, Madame Tussaud’s. OK, maybe not that last one. They do so much for us, and are we grateful? Are we heck. Ask the average Londoner about tourists and the chances are they’ll make a noise like a cat with a hairball. Tourists. Blechh.
And just why is this? Well, for one thing, they’re so slow. Sooooo slooooowwwwww. It’s like they’re running on suspended time, like a clunky special effect in an old episode of Dr Who. It’s as though all of their batteries are collectively running doooowwwwwnnnnnnn…….
I’ve had personal experience of this myself with visiting family and friends whilst travelling on public transport. We get the tickets (queueing at the ticket office – how quaint!) and then set off for the train. Reach the platform, train pulls in, look around for family and…. Where the heck are they? Finding them usually involves going back up to the ticket hall, where they are taking a little personal time to put their ticket away and admire the architecture, or else back up the escalator to pass them standing on the down escalator happily reading the adverts. Why are you standing? You don’t stand on the escalator, you run down it. And don’t read those, they’ll give you wrong ideas. No, we don’t want to go and see The 39 Steps. Come on, we’re missing a train!! Move that sorry arse, soldier!!!
My brother once asked me why I got so bothered about travelling on public transport in London and did it matter if we missed a train? I did a little mental arithmetic and pointed out that in a career lasting 32 years to date, involving a commute of one hour each way, I have so far spent one year and eight months continuously on public transport, that this is my actual life which is being tipped into the dank sump of the Northern Line and that therefore YES IT DOES MATTER ACTUALLY IF YOU DON’T MIND!!!!
Sigh. I know I should be a bit more Zen about it. And breathe……
More tomorrow. (By the way, Bake Off fans, I am out tonight, so will be recording the GBBO for watching and reportage later on the week. No spoilers, now!)