A Plane Disgrace.

United Airlines are doing their utmost to divide public opinion on them from ‘bad’ to ‘downright despicable’. A thirty-second video emerged yesterday of a male passenger being dragged off one of their flights, kicking and screaming and sporting a bloody nose. 

This incident was in full view of the other passengers and several security personnel carted him off while passengers voiced their anger and horror at such a thing. 

Where do I start with this mess?

Firstly, United overbooked this particular flight and then realised that they needed four seats to accommodate members of their cabin crew because they needed to get to their next flight. Oh, so sod the other passengers who want to get somewhere. The cabin crew asked for four passengers to give up their seats. When they refused, they played ‘eenie meenie miny mo’ and forced them to give up their seats.

United have a lot of nerve. It was their fault that the flight was overbooked and they wanted passengers to pay the price for their cost-and-corner cutting. Why should they? If they are so desperate to get their staff from A to B, use the CEO’s private jet, dammit.

Everyone I know who has seen the video had the same reaction: sheer disbelief. They can’t believe that if they go on a plane, they could go through the same thing and be treated as less than human for something that was not their fault. 

The passenger in question is a doctor- he could have been on his way to perform life saving surgery, plus…HE’S A DOCTOR. I’d rather he stayed on the flight and got to his destination and saw his patients than the airline staff. Couldn’t United have called on other staff members to stand-in? A big old airline like that had no extra cover for four people? Come off it. 

United Airlines gave the go-ahead for security to treat the man lower than a dog- and then had the nerve to defend it! The passenger booked and paid for his seat in good faith, checked in, had his luggage in the hold and was all buckled up and raring to go. His journey ended with him being dragged off a plane and into the world’s spotlight. A paying passenger was treated like a criminal. I could understand if he committed a criminal act but all he did was (rightly) refuse to give up the seat he paid for to accommodate United Airlines’ foolishness. 

In the last few hours, the CEO of United Airlines said sorry for the ‘truly horrific’ incident. It took him long enough. 

This was a disgraceful incident, no matter which way you look at it. I hope the passenger sues United Airlines for every penny because they have behaved in a shockingly callous way and shown that they clearly have no regard for their customers. 



The barefaced cheek of rail companies to announce an increase in train fares in England and Wales is something that people should be striking about. 

Yesterday it was confirmed that fares would rise despite certain train companies cutting down the number of trains they run everyday because they cannot cope (yes, Southern Rail, I’m talking about you in particular). 

How can this fare rise be justified when train delays and cancellations are the norm and passengers are treated like cattle every single day? (Mind you, we don’t help ourselves when people shout, ‘Can you move down please?’ when there is CLEARLY NO ROOM). Oh, and don’t forget the issues at stations such as London Bridge where people had to fight through disgruntled crowds and slide under ticket barriers in order to have a chance of getting their train. 

Fares are rising at ‘double the speed of wages’, although this is denied by government officials (of course). Yet, passengers appear resigned to such terrible service. Can you imagine if this happened in France? The French do not need much reason to down tools and flex their striking muscles, but over here we do our usual, incredibly annoying reaction of shrugging our shoulders and saying that there is no point in protesting. If anyone does decide to stand up and strike, they worry they will lose their job. Well, considering the threat of losing employment hangs over them on a daily basis due to being late everyday and it takes many people several hours to get home, sometimes I think that they have nothing to lose. 

Then these rail companies have the nerve to ‘award’ their chief executives a multi-million pound bonus. For what? Incompetence? Stupidity? Outright arrogance? These men (for it is usually men in these high-ranking positions) spout waffle about how they try to make the service better everyday while sitting in their ivory towers. I bet they have never travelled on one of their trains and if they have, it’s usually on an empty train with a government minister and a camera crew, slapping each other’s backs and laughing about how they keep getting away with this. When they say they are ploughing money back into the rail infrastructure and service, I think they mean they are talking about those undeserving bonuses that they trouser every year. 

If Europe can provide cheaper rail fares, why can’t this happen in Britain? If anything, people should be getting refunds and rebates for the shocking service they have had over the past few years. Not year…years

It is disgraceful that fares are rising in the wake of so many problems with train services across Britain. Fares should be frozen rather than thawed out and hiked up. 

Sixteen Stops.

I’ve had a couple of glasses of wine
One each of rosé and white combined,
I’m feeling tired and slightly drowsy
On the train but won’t get rowdy
‘Cos that is indefensible,
And acting that way isn’t sensible
My stomach is empty, for I didn’t eat
What was I thinking? Must not repeat
This foolish idea, don’t be so bold,
Lord have mercy I’m so damn cold
I want my bed and I want some food
Sex would be nice, but I’m not in the mood.
I’m still far from home, another sixteen stops
Maybe they’ll fly by- fingers crossed.
The train driver can’t drive well at all,
Sends us flying and down we fall
As he slams on the brakes for no good reason,
Leaves on the line? Well, it’s the season.
It’s getting late but I’m almost there
Trying to be patient but I’m going spare
Come on! Get me home, no time to waste,
Got things to do and food to taste,
I’m trying to fight the sleepyness
So let me get home and eat and rest.

The Election Section.

Just a quick note on tomorrow’s general election. The day is nearly upon us where Britain decides who they are voting for. Most people I have spoken to are still undecided and won’t make up their mind until they get in the polling booth. I think I know who I am voting for but, much like this election, anything can happen.

Here are my thoughts on a few things that are important to me and will influence who I vote for. 

1. The NHS. It needs sorting. Get rid of some of the Chief Executives of certain hospital trusts who seem to do nothing of note. Take their massive six-figure salaries and spend it on the essentials. Wards! Beds! Staff! Training of doctors and nurses! The NHS saved my life many times and there is not one person in this country who has not been indebted to this great big creaking system. It is a vital part of the tapestry of British life. It does not need endless budget cuts, nor does it need to be privatised, it needs to (in the words of Dizzee Rascal) fix up, look sharp. An overhaul of some sort but for the love of God, no privatisation because if it is, we are all fucked. There is no other way of putting it. 

2. Housing. We need more affordable housing; places big enough for people to live in and to swing a cat in (figuratively, of course). It’s all well and good building houses but not everyone can afford to get on the property ladder, particularly in London and if you read the load of cobblers known as the Evening Standard newspaper, you’ll understand why. All they do is talk about the ultra-expensive properties owned by oligarchs and the like, which are just like a really fit man: great to look at and fantasise, but (in my case) out of reach. Speaking of London…

3. London. Gentrification is rife and I understand the need to turn certain parts of the capital into more well-kept areas…but this is not always a positive. I hate the way it appears to be turning into a rich man’s playground, with oligarchs and sheikhs helping prices to hike up and go through the roof. I hate how certain establishments are closing down; places where people gathered to feel at home and find a sense of belonging. The number of pubs are dwindling and I find that to be a shame. Many are turning into fancy gastropubs and places where they serve food on manky wooden chopping boards. If we are not careful, London will become more…minimalist. Stripped down, homogenous, lifeless and bland- everything that it is not. 

4. Travel. Stop the absolute travesty that is the high-fallutin’ HS2 railway system and the potential trampling of the great British countryside and concentrate on fixing up the current national rail service, dammit! The whole country knows how bad it is (see London Bridge and plenty of other mainline train stations nationwide), but the powers-that-be have their heads in the sand and would rather spunk money up the wall on a new toy to show off to their new friends in faraway places than focus on what is wrong at the moment. Look at what happened just last week at Clapham Junction- the train broke down andpassengers had to be led off the tracks. Engineering works are always overrunning and yet we are all paying more every year for late and terrible service. David Cameron said the Conservatives will freeze train fares if he wins this election. But Crossrail and HS2 do not come cheap, so how the hell is he going to see through this fare freeze? It is unlikely this will go to plan, Dave…

Anyway, I hope the right person and party (or parties) get into 10 Downing Street and things get better, not bleaker for us all. 

“Where’s the Thank You??”

Finally the Easter bank holiday weekend is here. I had just finished work and was at the train station when an old woman approached me and asked if I knew which platform she could get her train from. I told her and she then asked if I could bring her trolley upstairs as she’s, you know, old. Despite nursing a bastard cold and having just reached the bottom of the stairs myself, I thought I would help- I couldn’t say no, could I?

Well, this woman SPRINTED to the top of the stairs as I lugged her big ol’ trolley- and then she started walking off without showing any gratitude! So I shouted, ‘WHERE’S THE THANK YOU?’ at her and she wafted some response in return, all the while never looking back. I was incensed at this sly, rude bint. But karma is a bitch as well because she missed her train, which caused me to laugh and clench my fist in celebration as the train left without her inconsiderate self.

I don’t care if you’re young or old, manners cost nothing and it’s a two way street. If I’m hauling your trolley full of junk upstairs despite being sick, show me some courtesy in reply. Thank you: two words, two syllables, very little effort required to say it.

Trouble on the Tube

Today was Day Two of the Tube strike. Whoopee-shit. I had so much fun dragging my sleepy-eyed self on a 2.5 to 3 hour commute by train.

By the time I got to work I was well and truly narked off and to top it all off, I wasn’t at my usual workplace; I was ‘hot desking’ at my old work HQ. So instead of being settled in my surroundings, I was in a dark, dusty and dingy building that has seen better days…and I didn’t like it one bit. The way the working world is nowadays, hot desking is something that will probably become the norm. But I hope it doesn’t as I like stability. I like being in my own space where I know where everything is and I’m surrounded by my things, my own shit. It’s a mess, but it’s my mess. When I’m in an unfamiliar environment, I don’t feel right.

And another thing: why oh why, on the day of a tube strike, do people try to get in early? The strikers said the trains would start running at 7am. So hordes of people eager to get to work (where some of their superiors couldn’t give a monkeys what time they get in) stood outside tube stations across London, waiting for the gates to open. Waiting…and waiting…and waiting.

Seven o’clock came, then ten-past, then later. The doors opened and in they went, huge crowds of people crushing themselves on trains like sardines. And no matter what time you leave the house, you’re more than likely to be confronted by a sight like this:



Despite the inevitably long journey, I got in just after 10am, which surely is to be expected during a tube strike! And I did more than enough walking, thus fulfilling my exercise quota for the day. But I was still the last one on my team to get in, which annoyed the daylights out of me. Most of my colleagues were in by 9:30; some were in at 8, leaving their house at an even more ungodly hour to do so. Whatever happened to employees getting in later than usual during a tube strike? Maybe it’s just me but I think it’s futile leaving the house mega-early. I did that this morning and still ended up getting off my bus and walking to the train station which was a good 20 minutes away. There was so much traffic en route to the station, it was beyond ridiculous. Employers should realise that strikes are an exceptional circumstance, so as hard as we try to get to work, you cannot control these kind of events.

And we have to do it all again next week, bar any developments regarding the ongoing talks via all parties which might end up conducted on LBC radio. Can’t wait!

The Unfortunate Episode of the Filthy Fingernails

Apologies, as bad etiquette on public transport is starting to be a recurring theme on my blog, but I had to share what I had the misfortune of seeing this morning…

There I was standing on my bus when I heard the distinct sound of a nail being clipped. I turned round and before my eyes was a man clipping his fingernails on the packed bus. For the entire journey (a full fifteen minutes), I shuddered as he snipped off another piece and shook it onto the floor, oblivious to how rude and downright disgusting his actions were. He didn’t even stop when someone sat next to him.

And I wasn’t the only passenger appalled by his behaviour- several people looked like they wanted to say something, but of course we all let ourselves down by staying quiet and tutting instead. This entire episode of nastiness took place in full view of the bus driver, but the lucky woman didn’t notice as her eyes were focused on the road.

I mentioned this fuckery on social media and the overwhelming reaction was one of mutual disgust. Quite a few people had seen others doing the same thing. Someone even tweeted that I should (and I quote), ‘Set fire to the wanker’, but fire-based revenge has never been (and never will be) my style. All I wanted to do was tell him off and make him feel guilt-ridden.

So all you filthy sods out there who think that clipping your fingernails or- God forbid –toenails is a perfectly normal thing to do on public transport, you ought to be ashamed. Public transport is NOT your bedroom. How would you like it if I sat down and started cutting my toenails and shaking the remains into your lap? You’d hit the roof, even though I would call it karma. If you’re that desperate to give yourself a manicure then do it in the privacy of your home or a toilet. Otherwise I will shove your nail clip (and clippings) up one of your many orifices and no amount of trimming will help get them out.

© G. Holder 2013