Some Comments on Commuting

September 22, 2016 Leave a comment

“Let the train take the strain”, runs a slogan the origins of which are probably shrouded in plumes of steam from the locomotives of yesteryear.

“Let the train take the piss” would be its updated and altogether more accurate modern equivalent. Metaphorically speaking, of course,  though in some cases literally – and here we speak of the delightful arrangements provided on certain trains for the relief and alleged comfort of their human cargo.

Whosoever would devise a train timetable must possess Machiavellian levels of cunning, with a touch of insanity thrown in just to add further interest to the proceedings, topped off with an utterly questionable grasp on the concepts of time and space. Thus, a train that is very obviously five minutes late appears to be “on time”. A train that grinds to a halt and ejects its passsengers due to a “fault on board” springs into life the minute the last commuter steps onto the platform and merrily sails onward, presumably to its destination – which but mere minutes ago seemed likely to be the scrapyard.

The design of train carriages themselves is also attributable to the mind of a complete lunatic. For who but a lunatic would imagine that the warmest welcome for any rail user would be the smell of shit wafting delicately from the toilets, usually situated right by the doors? Or that people actually enjoy being forced to face a fellow traveller for the duration of their journey, and for the knees of both parties to become intimately acquainted?

Let us now enumerate the several types of commuter one may expect to encounter when travelling by rail.

1) The Bag

The Bag isn’t actually a commuter, but you might easily mistake it for one – for lo, it has its own seat, and therefore must be a paying customer. The Bag, in truth, is probably the least irritating feature of rail travel, as it doesn’t elbow you in the ribs whilst reading the paper or attempt to engage you in conversation about the corn it has just had removed from its big toe. That being said, The Bag is an impostor. It sits, smug, taking up a seat that would be put to better use cradling your weary buttocks. Attempts to move The Bag are usually met with outrage from its owner. You are perfectly within your rights to hurl The Bag out of the open doors of the carriage at the very next station – and its owner, too, just for good measure.

2) The MUA

MUA is usually an acronym for makeup artist, but in this context it is also an acronym for Massively Uneducated Asshole. The MUA likes nothing better than to spend the entire commute gazing narcissistically at themselves in a hand-held mirror – which as a strategy for avoiding fellow passengers, is probably quite effective. With one hand the MUA holds the mirror; the other hand roots endlessly in a bottomless bag of cosmetic products. As the MUA completes their beauty routine on the train, you hope for a sudden jolt of the carriage to smear their lipstick halfway across their face.

3) The Backpacker

The backpacker, unlike the owner of The Bag, does not wrongfully take up a seat with their burden. However, this doesn’t make them any less of a total waste of time, space, and oxygen. The backpacker will stand amidst the aisle, forming an impenetrable roadblock to anyone wishing to actually get off – and like something from It’s A Knockout or Total Wipeout, will deal blows left and right to anyone who attempts to pass. Deal with this odious f*ckwit the same way you would deal with The Bag.

4) The Caller

Occasionally commuters receive calls when on the train; this cannot be helped. However, what can be helped is the person who, once aboard, will proceed to ring every single person in their contacts list. And why? So that they can announce, repeatedly and at absurd volume, “I’M ON THE TRAIN”.

“Hi, yeah yeah…I’M JUST ON THE TRAIN…yeah…well…hello? Hello? Hello? Hello? Oh, yeah sorry, I’m on the train, yeah, just – sorry? Yeah, just got on the train…”

5) The DJ

The DJ steps into the carriage with his Beats by Dre surgically attached to his skull, his body lightly bouncing up and down to the cretinous rhythms that assault the ears of everyone around. The DJ is passionate about music, but unfortunately the music he is passionate about is utter shit and sounds like a bunch of tin cans being kicked down a rubbish chute.

With all the above in mind, the train is still an altogether more pleasant experience than the bus, but this is like comparing an enema to root canal work. Highly unpleasant both, but one only gets on your nerves, whilst the other is a pain in the arse.



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The Photograph

Since time immemorial, man has looked to capture the transient, living world through the medium of art. Be it the first cave paintings, the masterpieces of the Great Painters, or a pair of buttocks cunningly fashioned from Play-Doh, nature has been tamed by the mastery of brush and hand.

The development of the photograph – initially marred by the appearance of a big, blurry pink thumb – captured life in a way never before seen, and yet seen every day; not here could be found the flourishes and overblown touches of painting and Play-Doh, but life as it is, in all its imperfections and its beauty.

Here we now recount some of the ways in which the photograph has grasped the very essence of life.

The Thumb
The faint image of the view from Niépce’s window at Le Gras is the earliest known surviving photograph, it is said. This is not so. An even earlier image exists of a vague thumb obscuring what appears to be a small Frenchman with onions strung about his neck. Whether the thumb was indicating approval of this unusual sartorial choice, or purely a matter of accident and cack-handedness, is unclear.

The Blink
It is an established adage amongst practitioners of the photographic arts that the camera adds 10 pounds. The camera also adds other unwanted and distressing attributes, such as the Mouth Half Open, the Awkward Pose, and the The Blink. Falling victim to any one of these misfortunes ensures that you are captured for posterity as a drivelling cretin with all the social grace and poise of a half-chewed potato. The Blink is exacerbated by the sort of sadist who will point a camera in your direction and then fail to take the photograph until several aeons have passed and your eyeballs have dried up from the effort of keeping the lids open. At this point the unwilling subject stands an immobile statue, mentally willing the photographer either to hurry up and take the photo, or to burst into flames, depending on the severity of the situation.

The Rabbit Ears
A favourite amongst those whose sense of humour has quite possibly been half-baked in an oven, left to go cold and bendy, and then partially reheated in a microwave, the Rabbit Ears involves placing two fingers behind the head of a fellow subject to give the impression that they appear to have the ears of a small rodent – or, more accurately, that they appear to be some freak of nature with two fingers growing out of the top of their skull.

Taken in all, the aforementioned essence of life which we have claimed the photograph seizes shows that, at bottom, humanity is a collection of bizarre specimens probably unworthy of record. Stick to nature photography.

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Secrets of the Elderly

September 30, 2010 1 comment

Your doughty author ventured this afternoon on a walk along the promenade.

The promenade is a Victorian invention designed largely for all that is hideous and malformed about the human race to parade itself in full uncompromising view (it also serves as a handy repository for dog poo, so do take care as you gawp at the collection of freaks on display not to find yourself stepping in a Douglas Hurd). However, the main function of the promenade is to act as a sort of powerful attractor of the elderly. The elderly are drawn to sea-side environs like teenage girls round Edward Cullen. It is here, on the promenade, that it suddenly struck your author that in the affinity between promenades and the elderly lies a secret.

Have you ever noticed the sheer number of commemorative benches along promenades? There they sit, unassuming, bearing such legends as ‘In Memory of Albert Bickerstaff (1932-2009)’. Ostensibly commemorating a loved one in this way implies that, in their memory, other members of the public can take a well-earned sit down and admire the view that Mr Albert Bickerstaff used to come and admire along with his tartan-print thermos of tea and tin-foil-wrapped egg sandwiches. Ah, look at that sun setting over the coast, and can’t you almost smell those eggs (that, in fact, may just be sewage leaking into the sea, but use your imagination, for old Mr Bickerstaff’s sake). But no. For you see, the elderly have a dark secret. Once they have been on the promenade for an entire day – taking up at least two spaces with their Austin Metro – they metamorphose into benches. No shit. There’s enough of that on the promenade already (come to the promenade, for benches and shit. Sit and shit, if you will).

Yes, the elderly spend so much time upon the promenade, and such is their attraction towards it, that they metamorphose into benches. After some time, they will evolve a commemorative plaque marking their former identity. At the promenade you must take the utmost care not to stand in any one spot for too long, lest you should also turn into a wooden public seat – such is the powerful resonance of the spell at work.

The ramifications of this discovery go beyond the promenade. Now we see how pointless are those signs that, on public transport, exhort us, as tired or rain-sodden or hungover as we may be, to give up our seats to the elderly. The elderly need only summon the power to transform themselves at will into a bench, or arm-chair, or wicker-work patio furniture, and rather than demanding a seat they would provide still more accommodation. Selfish bastards.

And so, go about your day taking up seats on public transport with impunity.  Of course, if you see pregnant or physically impaired individual, do give up your seat immediately. But other than that, spread yourself across as many seats as possible. It is your civic duty.

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The New Rickrolling

THE ONLINE PUBLIC is being warned against a new, devastating, and potentially life-destroying Internet phenomenon that hacks into video content and links it to material of an unexpected and unsavoury nature. Much like Rickrolling, the unwitting viewer is forced to see atrocities the likes of which decades of therapy won’t undo.

This phenomenon is Bieberbombing.

Across the Internet, videos that appear to contain footage of cats flushing toilets, phallic vegetables, Gears of War 3, and feats including hand-farting the Imperial March from Star Wars are being redirected to the image of the bay-window-toothed gender freak Justin Bieber, or to the aural torture that is Bieber’s rapping in the key of ‘chipmunk having a poo’.

“It was well out of order”, reported London cab-driver Arthur Shoehorn (54). “I was settled down for an evening with the missis when we thought we’d have a gander at last night’s Big Brother, ‘cos we’d only seen it last night. I click on the link thing, and there’s this Justin Bieber, lovely girl I’m sure, but the missis has been struck mutt and Jeff ever since, an’ I can’t see to tie me shoelaces straight of a morning.”

“I was deeply, deeply traumatised”, said college lecturer Kirsty (not her real name). “I had intended to look up footage of Sir Laurence Olivier in Richard III when…when….this thing appeared on the screen…I screamed…I just screamed and screamed until my tonsils fell out and my teeth shattered…sadly I couldn’t afford new teeth on the NHS so I used Scrabble tiles instead”, Kirsty added, smiling and displaying ‘braciola’ for a score of 12.

Other internet users reported similar ill effects. One man from Southport turned entirely into stone, much to the chagrin of his family. His last words were “sounds like a chipmunk having a poo”, adding to the embarrassing nature of his demise.

Bieberbombing claims another victim

In response to this crisis the government is launching a campaign entitled ‘Click with Caution’, partly to advise the public on safety and mostly because alliterative titles for campaigns mean the government doesn’t actually have to do anything besides sit back and look smugly at the pleasing repetition of consonants they have wrought. The campaign advises that if you must click on a video link, take the necessary precautions: encase yourself in a radiation suit within a block of concrete 20 metres in depth, and 500 miles beneath the ocean. Of course, you’ll probably die anyway, and when you reach the Pearly Gates, Bieber will be there.

If you have been affected by any of the issues discussed in this report, please feel free to ring the helpline on 000-000-0001. Or shoot yourself.

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Tron: Legacy

March 21, 2010 5 comments

Once again, readers of the Rustbucket blog can skip over to the AR to read a review of Tron: Legacy, a film which I have not seen, mostly because it hasn’t been released. Is it December yet?

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Every Day The Same Dream: A Review

Today’s post is a review of the short indie game Every Day The Same Dream, and can be found on this blog’s sister site, The Agoraphobic Reviewer.

Whilst you are there, peruse some of the AR’s fine offerings.

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Pariah Rustbucket’s Guide to Teenspeak: 1

January 8, 2010 10 comments

The intrepid and pioneering spirit that brought you Pariah Rustbucket’s Guide to Modern Art now offers you, at considerable arm’s-length, this Guide to Teenspeak.

We will first of all examine the basic principles of the language, before moving on to some simple but useful phrases that will enable you to converse with confidence and ease in a number of everyday locations and situations, including In the Post-Office, Down the Pub, and At the PC in the Library Whilst Talking Loudly on Your Mobile Phone.

Since much of today’s communication is conducted through such channels as e-mail, instant messaging and text, this guide is not limited to verbal exchanges. In fact, to use Teenspeak like a native, it’s best to avoid any form of verbal communication wherever possible, even if you’re in the same room as your intended audience.

1. High Rising Intonation

High Rising Intonation, or HRI, is the essence of Teenspeak. You must master this skill before moving on to other sections of this Guide. The effect of HRI is such that every statement sounds like a question, with the voice rising on the last syllable. It is important to confine this to the last syllable. The rest of the statement must be relatively flat in tone, and only at the very end of the utterance must it suddenly take off like a demented seagull. Note that appending ‘Yeah?’ to the end of your sentence is acceptable, but it is not HRI per se. No matter which word your sentence terminates in, it must be the aural equivalent of Roger Moore’s quizzically-raised eyebrow. The general effect is to create a sense of uncertainty, nausea and vertigo in the mind of your audience.

2. ‘Random’

Back in the days when people knew how to use a dictionary and hold a pencil, the word ‘random’ meant ‘made, done, or happening without method or conscious decision’. Now, the power of this word is incomprehensible and almost unlimited. It may be used in one of two ways:

Example A: The adjective

Teen 1: Hey, d’you wanna go to the cinema tonight or what?

Teen 2: Yeah, cool, what’s on?

Teen 1: Just some random film about how people want to save the Earth from destruction.

Note: the word ‘random’ can preface something quite specific and not lose any of its power. I mean, like, WTF??!!?? (see WTF, OMG, LOL).

Example B: The noun

A further instance of the proliferation of the word ‘random’ within Teenspeak is its promotion from an adjective to a noun. As in, ‘I went into the MacDonalds and this random just starts telling me his whole life story’. The use of the word ‘random’ in this way is intended to suggest that the speaker’s life is so full of crazy shit happenings that they can’t leave their doorstep without disturbing the very fabric of time and space.

Other useful phrases might include: ‘I like really random stuff’ and ‘OMG that’s like, totally random’.


Again, these are words with mystical power. Originally they were abbreviated versions of the phrases Oh My God, What The F*ck and Laugh Out Loud, but these meanings are quickly becoming lost in the mists of time. At present, only OMG can be used in verbal communication, where it must be said as slowly and emphatically as possible. For example: ‘O…..M…..G! Did you see Big Brother last night, it was, like, totally random?’ However, it is only a matter of time before the same holds true of WTF and LOL.

LOL (or lol) is also an exception, in that it can be used in a number of ways.

Example A: To indicate laughter, even when laughter has already been indicated.

‘Hahahahahaha lol!!!!!!!!’

In Example B, LOL multiplies itself in a process that we shall call bacterial hilarity.

‘Hahahaha lololol!!!!111!!1

It is not certain whether the implication is ‘laugh out loud out loud out loud’, or ‘laugh out laugh out laugh out loud’. Either way, it’s the drivellings of a moron.

OMG, WTF and LOL can be combined in any way that takes your fancy: the more, the merrier. Remember to decorate your sentences with as many question marks and exclamation marks as possible.

For example: ‘OMG WTF???!?!?!?! Lolol’.

4. Spell everything phonetically

Only losers can spell, right? And what’s the point of spelling, lol. Everiwun nos wot u meen, dont thei? Eevn if I rite leik this, an mix teh lettrs up, an evn miss out sum ov teh lettrs, u can stil reed it, an I dunno how to spel anywai hahahaha lol.

Make sure that you replace the letter ‘s’ with ‘z’ wherever possible. If the word ends in ‘ay’, replace this with ‘ai’, or even better, ‘aii’. If there are vowels in your name, double them. It looks cool and like, mysterious (misteerius). So aniwaii what I meen to saii is that the moar yuu add too ur wordz liek then the bettr it is innit?

In Part 2 of Pariah Rustbucket’s Guide to Teenspeak, we will see how to put these basic principles into action.

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