You people are doing everything within your power to destroy me.

27 Sep

Originally posted at Three Blog Night.

I was an ill teenager when I wrote my last blog post. I am less ill and teenage this time, but I have compensated for my lack of infirmity and youth with unspeakable levels of anger. I think it was watching Robin Ince on the same day that I left my teenage years that inspired this. Not that Robin Ince himself makes me angry. That’s a cruel thing to imply. I like Robin Ince. It’s more that public displays of anger seem infinitely more acceptable if you’ve witnessed them from a 41-year-old man who wears cardigans and walks around with a little wheelie suitcase full of books about crabs and Jesus and specula.

Although it’s fairly local, I’m largely unfamiliar with Birmingham and on Thursday I found myself needing to get to the Midlands Art Centre so that I could go and see an angry man shout about Mills & Boon. As I’d only been 20 for a few hours, my optimism and faith in humanity hadn’t yet been shat on so I asked someone who worked at Birmingham New Street for help in finding the bus park. I managed to say, “excuse me, do you know where Queensway bus p…” before she cut me off and said, “I DO NOT DO THE BUSES!”

“DO YOU NOT DO COMMON COURTESY OR LOWER CASE EITHER?” I didn’t ask her in response. Because I’m not a cock. I thanked her for her time and asked if she knew who might be able to help me. She repeated that she DID NOT DO THE BUSES. Of course. I conceded that yes, it was indeed a stupid question and apologised. She didn’t do the buses. I knew that she didn’t do the buses and I still went right ahead and asked her about buses. I’m a prick and deserved none of the politeness that she was clearly capable of but chose to reserve for less idiotic acquaintances.

Fortunately for me, I found a bus driver wandering around outside the station who wasn’t aware of how much of an idiot I was. I knew that he was a bus driver because his eyes were sunken pits of despair and hatred, and also because he was wearing a fluorescent vest that said he was a bus driver. I asked him for help and he told me that I needed to get a bus from outside of Argos. He gave me the wrong directions to Argos but I was still really grateful because at least he hadn’t spat in my face.

20 minutes later I decided that I should probably ask someone else for directions to Argos. “The next person that I see,” I thought, “will be asked for directions to Argos.” I should say at this point that I was with my mother, but she was less inclined to ask for directions because she was old enough to know that everyone is A Shit. I was not old enough to know this and had failed to heed the earlier warning signs offered by the woman in Birmingham New Street station. I saw someone. I thought, “this person will be asked for directions to Argos.” I made eye contact with the person that would be asked for directions to Argos. “NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” screamed the person before I could ask them for directions to Argos. I apologised and thanked them for their time.

I used Google Maps on my phone to find Argos.

Once I was outside Argos the finding the bus bit was easy, because I was standing at a bus stop and buses are really big and quite distinctive in form. And also because my mum said “there’s the bus.” She was right, too; the bus was there. I got on it without falling over or anything. My day had suddenly become brilliant. I asked the bus driver if he’d be able to tell me when we were close to the Midlands Art Centre so that I could get off. He stared at me and then asked me to repeat what I’d just said. I repeated what I’d just said. He said no. Luckily I’d had the foresight to check the bus route before I left my house – I needed to get off at Willows Road. I asked whether he could tell me when we were on Willows Road. He said no again. I asked whether he went down Willows Road. He said he didn’t know. He didn’t know. I couldn’t help but feel that knowing whether or not he should go down a particular road played a pretty significant role in his job as a man that drives buses down particular roads, but decided that I was probably just being silly and sat down. I tried to work out how many miles we’d have time to walk before the show started in case we got off in the wrong place, but failed because Birmingham had broken my mind.

I did manage to find the theatre. Another passenger took pity on me and told me she’d let me know when to get off the bus, which was nice, and then she drew a map for me so I wouldn’t get lost afterwards. This was very kind of her, and also confirmed that everything about my appearance and demeanour screamed “absolute fucking idiot” because there were lots of massive signs to the theatre and there was no conceivable way that anyone could get lost unless they were an absolute fucking idiot. I didn’t get lost. Probably because of the map rather than the massive signs. It was a good job she’d given me a map, I could’ve gotten lost.

In direct contrast to the rest of humanity, Robin Ince was excellent (as was his guest, James Cook). In fact, when I went to the venue bar and bought a pint my mum informed me that it was “not a girl’s drink”, but even this failed to overshadow the brilliance of Ince. BrilliInce. I am overtired. But you must go and see him immediately. His tour dates are at

I’ve read this back and realised that what I’m experiencing isn’t so much “unspeakable levels of anger” as it is “crushing and relentless disappointment”. The moment I turned 20 everyone felt it necessary to go out of their way to turn me into a cynical bastard like they all were because I was HAPPY and the world HATES happy people. Well, fuck you all. Just wait until you see how much of a curmudgeon I’ve become by the time I turn 21. You’ll wish you’d just gone ahead and given me the directions to Argos.


4 Responses to “You people are doing everything within your power to destroy me.”

  1. Misha September 28, 2010 at 8:03 am #

    I reckon that’s just Birmingham, I asked someone for directions and they ran away. Luckily an old man took pity on me.


  2. Simon September 28, 2010 at 11:06 am #

    I think Brummies may just not know where anything is in their own city. I am a masochistically cynical, near misanthropic person. But at least I try and give directions whenever I can.


  3. Alex... December 15, 2010 at 8:28 pm #

    Although all your blogs are really good, this is my favourite so I thought I’d leave you a comment on it. Weldone!


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