I was born in London. I lived there for many years. I’ve travelled on the Underground thousands of times; in fact I could probably draw a pretty accurate map of the Tube from memory, with most of the stations marked on it too. Last weekend I went to go to a gig in London, at a venue I know, using a part of the Underground which I also know very well. After making no less than four navigational errors on the Tube (getting on the wrong line, going in the wrong direction, getting off at the wrong station, etc), I decided that no lesser person than God himself was trying to drop a hint that I shouldn’t go. In the end I gave up and decided to come home, convinced that on my journey back I’d be involved in some sort of ‘incident’ that would offer me the chance to become a national hero. A major train crash perhaps, a little old lady being mugged, or a cute kitten stuck up in a tree, that sort of thing.
Ready for action, I stood in the vestibule bit of the train from Paddington Station. (For the thickos amongst you who don’t know what that is, it’s the bit of the train where the carriages are joined together.) Now I was dressed in what I normally wear when I go to see bands, which means just a t-shirt and shirt on top; coats are a pain at gigs, but not wearing one in the winter means you can get bloody cold afterwards. So I was cold; and knowing that I was very likely to be called on to perform some sort of heroic action in the near future, I’d decided not to trap myself in the bowels of a carriage. The train was actually quite full, so I’d have been unlikely to find a spare seat to sit on that didn’t involve me sitting next to someone; and I didn’t want to force myself on anyone in that way and spoil his or her evening; (yes, I’m very self-confident I know). So anyway, there I was, standing by the door. Joining me in my vestibule was an early 20s no-one; let’s call him Puppy Boy. Puppy Boy decided it would be a good idea to open the window, a lot. This was bearable for a few minutes, but once the train got moving it got colder and colder, as the wind howled in through the window at over 100mph and made a bee-line for me. Meanwhile, Puppy Boy just stood there, playing with his stupid little phone, seemingly oblivious to the near absolute-zero, super-cooled air that was blasting into his face and then travelling across the carriage to crush my life force in its icy grasp.
Ever seen a dog in a car that likes to stick its head out of the window? Well now you know where Puppy Boy got his name from. In my hypothermic condition, I started to hallucinate about Puppy Boy sticking his head out of the window and being decapitated by a passing train and wondering where the emergency alarm was, so I could alert the drive to this fact; and considering, in some detail, how much of a mess the headless remains of his body would make on the floor in front of me.
However, revenge is sweet. So along comes the ticket inspector. Like the upstanding, pillar of society, good citizen that I am, I proudly brandished my ticket and Railcard for the gentleman to inspect at his leisure. Then he turned to Puppy Boy. Oh dear, Puppy Boy had ‘forgotten’ to buy himself a ticket. I guess at a huge station like Paddington that has thousands of ticket machines and a massive ticket hall, it just slipped his mind. Yeah, right. I personally think they should arm ticket inspectors and licence them to carry out on-the-spot executions on people who have obviously tried to avoid buying a ticket; and if you can afford a snazzy little phone on which to surf the web and text your equally annoying and boring Coldplay worshipping friends, you can afford a ticket. Anyway, Puppy Boy doesn’t have a ticket, so has to buy one for the full single price, which was more than my return ticket, which also included all my Underground travel too. This didn’t warm me up in the slightest, but it did give me a great deal of satisfaction. When we got to Reading, Puppy Boy got off the train in front of me and I pushed him onto the track into the path of an oncoming train, in payment for making my journey so bloody uncomfortable. No wait, I just imagined that last bit. And please, don’t ask me why didn’t I ask him to close the window; I’m a Brit, we don’t do things like that, we just suffer in silence! Oh, and I wasn’t called on to perform any feats of heroism either, so I’ve no idea why I became so clueless on the Underground.
Right now I’m listening to “My Lady’s Games” by Blyth Power.
Despite evidence to the contrary, life for the population of Cactus World isn’t always doom and gloom. Yesterday, Cactus World was blessed with the appearance of a new cactus flower and one of its community minded citizens was on hand to record this momentous occasion.
Behold! The Flower:
Sadly, today it’s looking somewhat limp. (Please inset your own penis joke here). However, there are reports coming in of not one, not two, but three flower spikes on the Mother in Law’s Tounge approaching Cactus World. Stay tuned…
Meanwhile, Penny has faced her nemesis, The Puppy Shaped Door Stop! Again, one of Cactus World’s brave citizens was around to record this epic battle, which shows Penny heroically fighting a piece of string, which the cowardly Puppy Shaped Door Stop is apparently using as cover for it own nefarious plans, whatever they may be:
Right now I’m listening to “Underwear Goes Inside the Pants” by Lazyboy (or Lazy B if you prefer).