Monday, October 02, 2006

The Torture Never Stops

So, Saturday night which, after my obligatory catch-up of sleep in the morning/early afternoon, was spent at The Comedy Store with my brother. A night of pure hilarity courtesy of Americans Rich Hall and particularly Dave Fulton, MC for the evening Alun Cochran and headlined but the always-outstanding Simon Evans. The disappointment of Marcus Brigstocke's cancellation was washed away by Evans' and Fulton's brilliance, Cochran's expert hosting and all the comics' ability to destroy the 50% of the crowd too stupid to understand the majority of the gags. Evans' "that was just a noise, please articulate your arguments better or be quiet" was priceless.

The night was to bring more middle-class English idiocy our way before it was over. It has to be said, of all the useless phrases modern society has currently latched on to, "at the end of the day" has got to be the most pointless. Coming back from the Comedy Store, we're waiting for the next train home, and a train going in the opposite direction pulls in on the other side of the platform. At the same time about eight police officers, with a dog, come running up the steps from the underpass onto the platform and tell the driver to hold the train. They then go marching down to look for some group of youngsters they'd obviously had some report or other about, and some bright-spark says to her boyfriend, "that's not what you need, at the end of the day". Really? Presumably at the start of the day it would have been fine. In the middle of the day, perhaps a mild irritation. But at the end of the day it's very definitely not what you need.

Boarding our train when it arrives a couple of minutes later leads to a whole new league of irritations. We carefully select a carriage away from the lanky nerd who's been pacing the edge of our platform mumbling to himself for the last 15 minutes and find ourselves some free seats. As per the usual layout of seats on trains in our part of the World, one side of the aisle has a set of six seats in rows of three facing each other, the other side has four in rows of two. I take the end seat of a row of three, next to a middle-aged couple, with another middle aged couple opposite them. They don't appear to be travelling together. My brother takes the end seat of a row of two, next to the male half of a young couple. The female half sits opposite. Yeah, weird huh?

It turns out the couple I'm sitting next to are each a pair of hicks short of a line-dance, and numerous repetitions of phrases like "ooh, it's raining now!" begin to wrangle. After a short while the women, who I'm sitting directly next to, sneezes. Fair enough. Ten seconds later she sneezes again. And again. And again, every 10 seconds for the next 15 minutes. I'm starting to think my jacket is made of cats' hair or pollen or something.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the train, the young couple sitting oddly opposite each other are being suitably affectionate leant across the gap in the middle. Not something that in itself is particularly annoying, but the stupidity of the situation certainly is. A few stops (and sneezes) down the line one particular town seems to be the popular one at our end of the carriage, and every bastard in the vicinity elects to be as awkward as they possibly can, squeezing past everyone else to get to the door furthest from their seat.

At least they've all gotten off, leaving us in peace. Or so we thought. It turns out the incessant squeaking from the pair on my side had been drowning out the loud group of drunks discussing football at the far end of the carriage. Their favourite phrase proving to be: "at the end of the day".

Makes me proud to be a southerner.

"I think you're one big joke"