The sky’s the limit they told us. Broaden your horizons they said. Go to university, study hard, get a degree and chase your dreams. Their words rang through our heads like the tolling of a thousand Sunday church bells. So we did. We broadened our horizons and chased our dreams. We spent hours poring over books dustier than the Pyramids, straining our eyes to make sense of the potent words of philosophers long gone. Our toils and troubles represented in every last bead of sweat and every last heavy eyelid as we watched the minutes slowly tick away. Our rewards? Our first jobs. The elusive golden ticket to a lifetime of success and income and prospects.
"Oh yes, It’s all coming back to me now" she said sitting on the top deck of the 133 to London Bridge on a crisp, foggy winter’s day.
A smile flashed across her face swiftly followed by a nervous laugh, a taste of expectation and a shake of her head.
A sinking feeling.
"I did recreate the Wrecking Ball video on the dance floor at last night’s work Christmas party for the entire office to see. Brilliant."
I never thought this day would come, but it is time to put it out there…
Topshop, is actually, seriously, unpleasant.
Sorry. I know we’re not supposed to say it. But c’maan, I mean what the eff is going on in that shop?
What’s with the music? Why is it set out like a maze? Am I the only one who finds the whole Topshop experience unbearably stressful?
I got lost in there today.
And every time I turned round I was greeted by the most left field contributions to fashion I’d ever seen.
The worst thing was, everyone was acting like it was normal, like the really questionable shit in there was exaaaaactly what they wanted.
I felt like I was on crazy pills!!!!!
I had to get out. I had to run. I emerged angry, confused and hungry (got lost for a really long time), but most of all, I emerged OLD.
I am officially Too Old For Topshop.
What’s sad is that, I’m okay with it.
’Heyzuz Fudge! The commute is tatally shid!’
Yes, not particularly enlightened from me. But you know what? Sometimes you just need to say it, to remind yourself that that thirty to sixty minute section of your day - twice a day - is not representative of your life.
Undeniably, it’s crap because the sole purpose of the commute is to get you from your house, to your job.
To your job…
But feelings about jobs aside, there are still numerous reasons why I, like so many, am a hater of da commoot. Here are seven.
1. Bishy Tube Behaviour
There is nothing more terrifying than the angry huff of the repressed commuter behind you when you fudge up the unwritten tube rules.
The tube rules comprise, but are not limited to, the following:
- Mayyyte, don’t be selfish. Move down the carriagio.
- OhmyGODdon’t read a broadsheet at rush hour.
-Maayyyte. What the eff is wrong with you?! Top up your Oyster mayte.
- Don’t change direction mid-way through walking. What a ridiculous thing to do.
- Rolly suitcases. Mayte, I can’t tell you…
- Also mayte, how ever you’re standing right now, you could take up less room.
2. OCD (Oyster Compulsive Disorder) and other tube related disorders.
A direct result of knowing too many of the tube rules and therefore worrying so much about being a tube hetard (see below) that you become one, and, oh, how,
3. Tube hetards
Tube hetards annoy me because a) they should know better and b) they should at least act like they are sorry for standing on the wrong side of the escalator… Or for STANDING in the MIDDLE of one of those flat moving escalator things- tube hetards always use those things like they’re communal segways.
4. The Health Risk
I’m not talking about long term health risks of commuting, although I’m sure there is some correlation between spending the early hours of the morning in a metal box and a shorter life span. No, I want to discuss the short term risks because you can, and will, catch anything.
Every time I get on a train, or a bus, or a tube, everyone has got the fuquing sniffles. Aaaannndddddddd do you know awhyy everybody’s got the sniffles? Because ONE flu-infested guy decided one morning that if he didn’t file that deadline
he (or she) would be fired, or miss out on that promotion. So all those snivley germs boarded that mode of transporrrrtación, and the rest of us had no chance in hell.
It should be noted that I may be angrier than normal as just last week I was face-sneezed. For those unfamiliar with the official term, being face-sneezed is someone sneezing
Which, by the way, is NOT OKAY.
Hey guysh. Big Ben will still be there between the hours of ten and three. Do you know what won’t be there? Angry people moving really fast.
6. The Perilous Road Cross
Pedestrian lights take far-haar too long to change in London. Yet, there is always one guy who weighs up the prospect of dying vs. the prospect of being late for work and decides “no, it’s definitely a risk worth taking”
Sadly, on the numerous occasions I have witnessed someone very nearly die I am always deeply disappointed with my reaction. No warning cry, no WATCH OUT! No running into the road to ensure the persons safety.
Nope. Nothing like that from me. Just a deep inhale of breath. Just a bit of an uncomfortable wince. Just the usual thoughts of “c’maaaan”/”really?”/”that guy made me breathe my own breath. Whadda deck.” /p>
7. Guilt-inducing Commuters
Yes alright there you with ya toight toighties, ya headphones and ya hiking rucksack. I would run if I didn’t look stupid. And I would cycle if I didn’t care about the very real chance of dying.
No uplifting conclusion. Bye.
London is a perilous city. A sweaty metropolis wheezing from the heavy air filled with darkness, danger and shadows. Fine, I might be exaggerating slightly. But if this story was applicable to you, you would be as well. I found myself the victim of a classic case of mistaken coat identity. One innocent, spontaneous night out turned into the realisation that the juvenile quest for cool will only end up serving you a cold, hard slap around the face.
Of course this had to have happened in Dalston, the only area of London that actively seeks to hate you. It’s as though Dalston and its legions of Dalstonites feed off this, huddled in their secret club that hates to let people in so does its best to keep you out. Oh Dalston, you wily minx, how you taunt us mercilessly.
Dalston. Impossibly cool, urbanely grey, depressing, up-and-coming, bearded, overpriced. Dalston oozes unabashed trendiness with an air of superiority that terrifies ordinary non-Dalston dwellers as soon as they shyly tread on to the Kingsland Road.
I found myself in Dalston one Saturday night at the Ridley Road Market bar, possibly the whitest bar in Dalston. Situated on the gutter like eponymous road, fitting impossibly between a mass of halal meat stores, the RRMB sticks out like a pretentious sore thumb. Then again, that’s the Dalston vibe isn’t it? The inside resembles the working men’s clubs that my friends and I haunted in our hedonistic halcyon days when the only aim of the night was to sidle convincingly past the bouncers without being asked to present legitimate ID of which we had none. Tonight, it’s about looking like we belong when clearly our South London postcodes and corporate professions just aren’t going to cut it. You’re not in Stockwell anymore, Toto.
Of course, a bar where the beautifully disheveled barmen and women have tiger tattoos and Audrey Tatou fringes wouldn’t have a cloakroom. That sort of organisation clashes with the aloof ambience. So, us poor pedestrians from the outer fringes have to wearingly shrug off our protective layers and sling them onto tequila soaked benches only to cast an ever watchful eye over our outer-garments instead of enjoying the aforementioned tequila. But what if you have too many tequilas? Then what are you meant to do?
And now my poor battered leather jacket, the one bastion of urban cool that I clung to, is probably lying under a mass of neatly ironed TopShop Boutique clothes in an apartment in Haggerston that is strewn with left over Wasabi packaging never to see the light of day again on the back of the skinny size 10 whose own jacket I now stare at with daggers and remorse.
Avoid Dalston at all costs…unless you aren’t wearing a jacket…