Self-publishing is a choice, yeah, a decision I made after years of careful thought. It’s political, man. Publishing houses are evil art destroying factories and agents are just heartless robots with chainsaws for arms and dollar signs for eyeballs. It has nothing to do with the fact that the book was rejected by all the agents I sent it to. IT’S A CHOICE I MADE, I TELL YOU.
Don’t let anyone tell you self-publishing isn’t great. Why would I want to share all those fat profits with some sort of agent? What do they know about getting books published anyway? It’s not like they do it for a living or anything.
Being rejected isn’t soul destroying, it’s liberating! I just get so JAZZED by the idea of self marketing.
Nothing gets my blood pumping faster than the excitement of putting myself OUT THERE. In the world. With other humans. Branding, SEO, marketing campaigns… Finally, I’ll have an excuse to drink during the day, snort coke off a hooker’s tits and eat a monkey’s brain like a real, live, Ad Exec. I cannot wait to start selling things to my friends.
This is how I imagine it going:
Me: Hey buddy! How are you? Yeah, I know we haven’t spoken in years… how are you? Yeah, whatever, listen. Hey did you know I am a writer now? Yeah man. Got a book and everything. Yeah, it’s self published… hello? I HATE MY LIFE!
It reminds of that time my best friend in school, Josh, (not his real name) convinced me to attend a “business meeting” with him that turned out to be a pyramid scheme selling soap to old ladies. Josh is now living large as a born again christian with dreadful web design skills and a disturbing penchant for World of Warcraft. Incidentally, he’s also written a self published novel. It’s horrendous.
Luckily, unlike Josh, I am the king of social media. People love reading tweets from fake authors about their amazing self published books, am I right? Hey world! Check it out, Johnnie Dillhole from Antfart, Nebraska gave me three and a half stars on Amazon! And daddy said I’d amount to nuthin. Up yers, daddy!
But twitterers aren’t fools. If there is one thing I learned from the National Film Board of Canada, it’s that persuasion is better than force. You can’t just hit them over the head with your pitch, you have to finesse it. You need to trick people into buying a book by writing a funny joke. And use many many hashtags.
Knock knock, who’s there? BUY MY SELF PUBLISHED BOOK, IT’S GREAT #seriouslyitsawesome #book #self #published #amazing
What is my book about, I hear you scream? Fine, settle down and I’ll tell ya.
It is about a man who wakes up in a near-future, post-Apocalyptic Manchester with no memory except that of a machine that prints human beings. He has to survive long enough to retrieve his memory and find the machine. A difficult task what with all the zombies… THERE AREN’T ANY FUCKING ZOMBIES IN IT, STOP ASKING ME.
Anyway, the book is the best thing since To Kill A Mockingbird and it is totally what Harper Lee would’ve written if she was still alive. Out next month.
Yesterday, Barack Obama announced “sweeping” new policies targeting gun violence in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary. I put “sweeping” in quotes because if it was in any other civilised country, the changes he suggested would be viewed as “the barest of minimums”.
Banning military style assault weapons, background checks and limiting magazines to 10 rounds seems to be so obvious as to be positively silly, but this is yeehaw pow pow FUCKIN AMURICAH we’s talkin bout so any gun control is welcome. Even gun control as weak as this.
To beef up Obama’s law, I humbly submit my background check form to be completed by all gun shop owners at point of purchase.
Rob’s Gun buying background check thing
Is the prospective gun owner a member of the NRA?
No… move to question 2
Yes… GUN DENIED
Did the prospective gun owner smile like he was touching his first boob when you handed him the gun?
No… move to question 3
Yes… GUN DENIED
Did the prospective gun owner say “I’ll be back” in an Austrian accent when you told him about the waiting period?
No… move to question 4
Yes… GUN DENIED
Does the prospective gun owner think the US government bombed the World Trade Centre on Sept 11?
No… move to question 5
Yes… GUN DENIED
Does the prospective gun owner have an eye patch?
No… move to question 6
Yes… GUN DENIED
Is the prospective gun owner missing any fingers, toes or especially teeth?
No… move to question 7
Yes… GUN DENIED
Is the prospective gun owner Rush Limbaugh?
No… move to question 8
Yes… GUN DENIED
Is the prospective gun owner chewing gum or worse, a piece of grass/wheat?
No… move to question 9
Yes… GUN DENIED
During the transaction, did the prospective gun owner use the word “Y’all” more than once?
No… move to question 10
Yes… GUN DENIED
Is the prospective gun owner American or been American at any time in his life?
No… move to question 11
Yes… GUN DENIED
Does the prospective gun owner have blond hair?
No… GUN DENIED
Yes… GUN DENIED
Penalty for selling a gun to anyone that fails the test is (obviously) death by firing squad.
It’s difficult to know how to write a final column. Do I wax nostalgic about the past, highlighting the bits people seemed to like? Do I pretend that the crap columns didn’t happen? Or do I just write the same smarmy BS I’ve written for the past five years?
Waxing might make the most sense, but it doesn’t make for an interesting read. Who wants to read a thousand words on how amazing I am? It would’ve been easier to write this had LeftLion told me to get lost; writing whilst cranky comes so much easier to me, and certainly makes for a better column. Unfortunately for you, dear
reader, it’s been quite a lot of fun writing for this magazine, so there is danger of this being the most boring column I’ve ever written.
So perhaps I’ll start with a confession, and that confession is this: I am a complete fraud.
The truth is, I don’t actually live in Nottingham and haven’t done for some time. Is that a gasp I hear? Well, it’s even worse than that; I have never actually set foot in New Basford. When I did live in Nottingham, I lived in Sherwood; but we thought ‘Rob from Sherwood’ as too Hoody. The Editor tells me now he was looking for a play on words with An Englishman In New York. He also tells me that no-one has ever got that massively tenuous pun, its rubbishness has bothered him for years, and he cringes like a poisoned rat whenever he sees it in the magazine.
Hell, after living in the UK for six years and receiving my British citizenship, I can scarcely call myself Canadian anymore. To be honest, it would have been more accurate to call this column ‘A Guy Who Used To Be Canadian Who Lived Relatively Near To New Basford At Some Point In The Past”, but I suppose that doesn’t have
the same zip. The acronym ‘AGWUTBCWLRNTNBASPITP’ certainly isn’t as snappy.
The strange thing is I don’t even feel a bit guilty about my deception. Perhaps it is because I am vain and love seeing my name in print at all costs, maybe its simply because I have no integrity whatsoever. Whatever the reason, I do hope you’re not too angry with me.
Let me explain. Regular readers will remember my ‘Broken Britain’ column, where I talked about my wife and I being made redundant. The alternate title for that column could have been ‘Why I Effed Off To Manchester’. I could have gotten away with saying that back then, too, as it pre-dates Leftlion’s war on the F word. (I hope
they will allow me this one sweary transgression, seeing as it is my last column and all. Oh, they haven’t. Sigh).
The guilt (or lack of as it happens) of writing about Nottingham from afar is not the reason for this column’s end; the reason I’ve decided to call it a day is that I have simply run out of things to complain about. The Viccy Centre chavs, the queues, the crap builders, the Council House Goths…they all don’t seem so bad any more, now that I live in Manchester. When a person gets hit by a plastic pint full of chav piss at
a Courteeners gig, the Goose Fair scrotes no longer seem so bad. When you can’t go into the town centre because an army of Salford scallies are burning it down, it puts the Notts equivalent – listening to Professor Green spouting intelligible kack at full volume from a mobile on the bus – into perspective. Compared to Manchester, Nottingham feels like the most civilised place in the world.
Perhaps there are one or two of you out there who will miss this little ranty column, and to you I can only apologise. Apologise, and remind you that Leftlion will likely have no problem filling the maple leaf-shaped hole with somebody else’s words, and before long you’ll forget I was even here. But please remember the following; despite what the mainstream media says, Nottingham is full of talented and creative
people and really is a great place to live and write aboot.
I still return to Nottingham every couple of months, as my house is still constantly falling apart, and I have a mate or two here that still require visits (the needy gits). So if you see me looking petrified in Hooters with Owen, or splitting an absinthe with my Gothic plumber in the Pit and Pendulum, munching faggots at the Beer festival or doing it large at the Heavy Metal karaoke, feel free to come by and say hello. Just don’t get too close, you filthy, Nottinghamian animal.
When you lived in a small town in the middle of the Canadian prairie, your senior year in high school was pretty much the best year of your life. Behind you lay the ruins of your bullied adolescence; ahead, seductive visions of escape. You’d yet to know any of life’s real pain, so you stupidly looked to the future with optimism and hope. It wouldn’t be long until all your dreams were crushed and you settled into a life of chopping hay or having your fingers lopped off in an oil rig’s anchor chain, but for that one year, life was good.
Being a high school senior in Brooks, Alberta came with certain privileges. Your curfews became a thing of the past, you had a 50/50 shot at getting served at the Newell Hotel and you could legally buy hollow point bullets from Canadian Tire. And if you were a farm kid, the years of getting your ears flicked from behind on the county school bus were over because at long last, the coveted back seat belonged to you.
So imagine my surprise when I walked onto the bus on my first day of my senior year to see the back seat taken up by a kid one year my junior, whilst my fellow Grade 12 bus riding pal, Chris, occupied the seat second from back. What was this all about? I asked myself. Don’t these people know the rules? The back seat was my prerogative – nay, my God-given right! Who was this interloper to deny me the back seat?
I searched Chris’s face for an answer as to why he hadn’t exerted his authority and received a deflated shrug in reply. The bus started moving and the driver barked at me to take my seat. I was at a crossroads; in one direction lie shame and humiliation, in the other, confrontation. Being a four-foot dork, confrontation was easily my least favourite thing (followed closely by talking to girls) but if I didn’t say something, I would be treated like a sucker for the whole year – maybe for the rest of my life. I couldn’t stand for that insult. I wouldn’t stand for that insult. I was going to march right up to this pony-tailed trespasser and put her straight.
I twisted my face into a scowl and charged the back of the bus, like Eric Pickles after a pork pie. That day, I would not be the pimply dwarf who buckled under a feather’s weight. That day, I was fierce, I was mighty; that day, I was to be a man. A real man, like ones in deodorant adverts. In my mind, I had the grit of a wounded wolverine and the law on my side.
Oddly, she didn’t seem scared at all. Just the opposite in fact. She sat defiantly, with her chin up and a face as cold and unmoving as an Easter Island statue. I opened my mouth to speak, met her hard stare full-on and promptly bottled it.
Defeated, I sat down beside Chris, leaned over and whispered; “Why didn’t you kick her out of the back seat?” Chris said nothing, but that didn’t mean my question went unanswered. The riposte was firm and direct and it came from the girl behind: “Rob, if you’ve got something to say, say it to my face.” As it turned out, I had nothing to say to her face. Nothing at all. Suddenly, the underside of the bus seemed like a perfectly welcoming place to be.
That snippy disposition and hardened glare didn’t do much for her secondary school bus decorum, but it did help her to win the World Cup fencing title in 2006 and secure a place at this summer’s Olympics. Her fourth. So when I decided to try for Olympics tickets this year, women’s fencing was high on my list. Twenty years had passed since my run-in with Sherraine Schalm, so I supposed it was time to put that terrible day on the bus behind me. I would do whatever it took to see that spiky girl from my tiny hometown of 12,000 compete on the world’s biggest stage.
Illustration: Rob White
Now, I know where you think this is going. This column was initially going to be about the idiotic way the organisers doled out tickets. I had this whole big whinge prepared lamenting the fact that some lazy, Johnny-come-lately got a ticket for the 100m final at the 11th hour while a dedicated person (like me) who got up early on Day One and spent three hours clicking refresh got the shaft. After coming away ticketless in the first round, my column was half-written, bursting with vitriol and seething hatred. I had at least three jokes comparing David Beckham to a gardening implement but then, boom, I got tickets in the second round and lost interest.
From what I’ve gathered on the ground before the games, you people didn’t really give a toss about the Olympics anyway. If Big Ben was a giant limey Moan-O-Meter instead of a clock, it would be currently bonging its head off. It’s so corporate, mate! The IOC are crooks! It’s too expensive! The logo looks like Lisa Simpson giving head! Seb Coe looks like Face from the A-Team! Believe me, I’ve heard them all and I was right there with you. Until I got tickets. Now all I can say is: nyah nyah nyah-nyah nyah.
Now that I am actually going to be there, I really want to enjoy these Olympics. I want to lose myself in the joyous atmosphere of the world’s middle class getting together to cheer on its fastest and best at throwing heavy objects. I want to hug that weird mascot until its eye pops out. I want to help load a surface-to-air missile launcher in Notting Hill. I even want to be around other Canadians. Every time I hear a story about an Adidas exec pilfering a coveted torch-bearer slot or of another juiced-up sprinter being allowed to compete or, most infuriatingly, “London 2012 is proud to only accept VISA” I just cover my ears and eyes and hum the Super Mario 3 theme song in my head until an advert of Jessica Ennis’s midriff comes on TV and I can again allow myself to get pumped about the whole ridiculous, electric pink abomination.
I will be hoping Sherraine has a better outing this time around; the Beijing Olympics was one to forget. She went into the Games as a hot medal favourite and was knocked out in the first round by her former Hungarian training partner. She then removed her mask and launched into a sweary tirade at her opponent’s coaching team and apologised to the “Canadian taxpayer” for her failure. To say she “lost it a bit” would be an understatement. As a result of her so-called “un-Canadian” outburst (we’re all supposed to be uber-polite little darlings, dontcha know) there will be less press fanfare and public support for her this time, but if there is one thing I know about that girl from the bus, it’s that I will be happy to be watching the match from the stands and not directly opposite her, staring down the business end of her rapier.
Ah yes, Spring/Summer: my favourite time of year. The time when it rains one fewer day per week, I switch from stout to mild, Canada Geese get bitey, and, oh yeah, the Royals are all up in our faces. Again. The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee has the country enraptured or completely uninterested, depending upon which bit of the country it is that you live. In Nottingham, the Queen’s Jubilee (like pretty much everything), seems to get a big fat ‘meh’.
If I close my eyes really tight and repeatedly hit myself over the head with a rubber hammer, I can almost understand why enough people in this country go ga-ga for the Queen and her minions. The woman seems nice enough, has some cute fuzzy little hats and, as an added bonus, she lives in England most of the time. But why do so many Canadians want to remain under her rule? Why do so many of my countryfolk go categorically batshit for the woman? If, say, the King of Spain came to Calgary tomorrow and said, “Hey muchachos, please send us money for polo matches and garden parties”, we would tell him to go eat a chorizo, or some other mildly racist foodstuff-related threat. But for some reason we don’t mind shelling out an obscene amount of money for your Liz.
‘It’s less than a cup of coffee per person to support the Monarchy’; that’s a line that’s often used by Canadian royalists to soften the blow, and make us forget that we are basically helping prop up another country’s monarch in return for no tangible benefit. Canadians read that coffee quip and think, ‘A cup of coffee? Is that it? That’s not so bad.’ This is because we are morons. When you do the maths, the yearly total comes to over $50 million. That is quite a lot, even in Canadian money. Especially when the Canadian government is cutting public sector jobs and doing precisely zero to offset the damage that the Alberta tar sands are causing the environment, due to supposed budgetary constraints. The sight of the Duchess of Cambridge in a cowboy hat at the Calgary Stampede is definitely worth a bob or two, but $50 million? For that kind of money, I don’t think it would be out of order to expect a lapdance off her. With touching.
Illustration: Rob White
According to Maclean’s magazine (Canada’s version of The Economist) Canadians pay more to support the Queen per person than the Brits do. Let me say that again: Canadians pay more to support the Queen than you people do. More. Canadians pay more. Not less. Not an equal share. More. My yearly contribution to the Queen has actually decreased as a result of my move to England. I’d make a joke of it if it wasn’t so tragic.
What is a Diamond Jubilee, anyway? It sounds like a square dancing festival in Kansas, or a Katie Price courting ritual. If Leviticus is to be believed, a jubilee marks a year of mass forgiveness of sins. So the Queen is a god now, is she? No, that’s stupid, because in the Bible, it says that a jubilee year takes once every fifty years. The Queen now has one every ten. That means she is five times as important as God.
And just what is Her Holiness doing to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee? Why, I’ll tell you; she’s attending a horse race, a boat race, a lunch and a couple of concerts. If I was loaded and worshipped by millions, I would do something much more exciting. I would eat oysters off a lion’s face and ride a Harley Davidson up the side of an Egyptian pyramid. Then I would scissor-kick a rhinoceros and run naked across Tiananmen Square covered in Branston pickle. I know she’s like a hundred and thirty five years old but gee whiz, Queen, live a little. At least have McDonald’s make you a Big Mac the size of Prince Philip’s head and eat it while pissing off the top of Blackpool tower.
In addition to the horsey-concert-boat-show, the Queen is releasing a brand new medal. Have you seen it? It’s shiny, it’s got the Queen’s head on and it dangles. Plus, if you ever really get stuck, it (along with 70p) can buy you a Diet Coke. It’s exclusively for military servicepersons, prison guards, and people who want to buy one off a military serviceperson or prison guard on eBay. I know it is hard to believe, considering what a treasured thing a Queen’s Jubilee medal is, but apparently they are being auctioned off by loads of ungrateful recipients. To its monumental credit, the government has said it is ‘saddened’ and ‘disappointed’. It breaks your heart, doesn’t it?
Ah well, I suppose I shouldn’t complain so much, seeing as I am a British citizen now after all. In fact, I will make you, the people of Britain, a pledge: I promise not to moan about the Royals on Jubilee day like I usually do. I will resist reminding you of Prince Philip’s “You look like you’re ready for bed!” comment to the President of Nigeria or Prince Andrew’s paedo pal. I won’t take the piss out of Nazi Harry. I won’t call Sarah Ferguson a ginger heifer. I won’t even shout “Twat!” when I see a grown man erecting Union Jack bunting. No, this year, I promise to be good. I promise to be a proper subject and keep my mouth firmly shut, in fact, I will do the most dutiful thing a person can do on this Diamond Jubilee: I’ll be going to Canada.
When the Tories were first elected, I saw it as something to tick off my list of UK Things To Do, along with ‘Drunken Gardening’ and ‘Getting Called “Our Kid” By Someone Without Irony’. Everyone in this country tends to go on a bit about the Thatcher years, so I thought “Ooh! Now I’ll get to see what all the fuss was about!”
I have now seen the fuss and, um, wow. It’s not exactly the non-stop rocketshipride-on-acid laughfest I had anticipated. In fact, it’s kinda awful. Virtually overnight, I seem to have acquired the UK sense of perpetual rage every time I turn on the TV. I used to love watching the news – “Ha ha ha, look at all those horrible things happening to other people!” But now it seems to be happening to me. The vast increases in rail and bus fares and (gasp) cycle-to-work scheme. The VAT rise jacking my gas bills up. Cuts and the rises in student fees putting my uni job in jeopardy. Every other day, my bank threatens to fold altogether. What the hell? I’m a middle class thirty-something white guy – I thought the government was supposed to be on my side!
Privatising the police force. How do you even do that? Adorn police stab vests with 888.com
patches, like him off the snooker? Febreze ads on pepper spray canisters that read; Wouldn’t
you rather be smelling the freshnosity of Febreze than tasting the searing pain of CS gas? This taser was brought to your eyeball by NPower?
Why stop at privatising the police force? Why not privatise parliament itself? Chasing tax-dodging corporations and regulating the banking industry to recover lost assets is obviously a waste of time, why don’t MPs do ads for Cillit Bang instead? And doctors, ha! Look at them running around all smug with their flashy, obscenely blank white coats. Do your share, doctor man! You think saving lives is enough? Get some Sky badges on that coat. In fact, use it to advertise drugs!
Ooh, I know! Let’s tax charities, or even better, churches! It’s a tough old world out there for Johnny Taxpayer and it’s about time these parasites started doing their share. When Cardinal Keith O’Brien comes out to bash gay marriage, why not do it with an ad for Kirk Cameron’s latest Jesusflick playing on his big, stupid Cardinal hat? Then we can have two out-of-touch assholes spewing hate at us at once! That’s almost double the message. Kids today are sophisticated animals, they don’t respond to crusty old pajamaed fuddy-duddies spreading bigotry with their boring analogue mouths anymore, it’s 2012 for God’s sake!
You need to digitise that discrimination, god boy! Pimp that prejudice! I mean, come on, those hats are literally crying out to be projected on. Virgin Hospitals, Barclays Nottingham City Council, the Senior Court of Appeal brought to you by Tesco; we are limited only by our imagination.
Unfortunately, we only have a few short years before those pesky Labourites come back and ruin everything. If only the Conservatives had someone as dynamic and inherently electable as Ed Miliband. He is precisely what a sausage would be like if it could talk. Is this pasty milquetoast really the one to go up against Cameron in the next election? This is exactly how the first debate will go:
Miliband: Excuse me! I have something like totally important to say or whatever.
Cameron: Oh, do shut up, Talking Sausage.
Boom. Five more years of Tory Hell™. Why has no one but me figured this out?
Ed may have some sound ideas for the country and he might care about poor people, but that don’t mean jack these days. This is the problem with you British people, you haven’t figured out that sexy beats common sense every time. Our Canadian Prime Minister, who is arguably the most boring man alive, has figured this out. Despite being Canada’s answer to Vladimir Putin, he has successfully conjured a majority government simply by playing street hockey and putting videos of himself on YouTube playing Proclaimers covers on the piano. That might not sound sexy to you, but to a Canadian, that’s like spraying himself with beef-flavoured Lynx deodorant and reverse cowgirling Salma Hayek on the back of a Harley Davidson. He could only be sexier in Canada if he accidentally chopped his leg off with a chainsaw.
David Cameron has figured this out. In the UK, the Bullingdon Club is sexy. Trust funds are sexy. Owning lots of land and offshore accounts are sexy. Tax avoidance is like freaking Spanish Fly. Miliband needs to sexify himself to the max, and quick as he’s already got a few strikes against him. I mean, not only did Ed not go to Eton, but his parents weren’t wealthy landowners, in fact, they weren’t even born in Britain! Yuck! He needs a little razzle-dazzle to distract the nation from the fact he is a horrible broke-ass foreign Talking Sausage.
When some smarmy Labour backbencher fiddles his expenses, Miliband needs to walk up and kick him square in the face. Then when the papers get on his back, drive around the East End handing out free cash. When Cameron starts giving him crap for his close ties with trade unions, ram a lit firework up his keister and spend the next day breaking the notouching rule in a strip club. Being intelligent and sensitive is Election Day poison. Selfish tantrums, infidelity and violent eccentricity are what people want these days. Get your social media persona right and the British people will forgive you anything. I mean, hey, it worked for Mario Balotelli.
(Writers note: To fans of the blog, you will have noticed that I reused a gag from the first cycle obsession post. This is because that article was never published. Please find it in your heart to forgive me.)
If you’ve never done any cycle commuting in this country, let me tell you, it’s an absolute delight. Cycle commuting is such an enjoyable and rewarding experience. By the time I’ve arrived at work, I am so invigorated and ready to take on the challenges of the day, I can hardly keep myself from jumping up and shouting: Come on world, show me what you got!
The main reason for my upbeat attitude toward cycle commuting is the courteousness and understanding afforded me by the drivers in this country. They have a total and complete grasp of the fact that my only protection out there is a brain bucket made of plastic and hard foam whilst they themselves are encased in a half-ton of steel. The gap they create for me as they go past is so large and comfortable to the point of being embarrassing. I feel like a great Wooly Mammoth with all the space I take up, but the drivers don’t see it that way at all; they are only too happy to share the road with me. For you see, these people understand that if I wasn’t on my bike, I would be in my car further clogging up the roads. It’s all British drivers can do to stop themselves from rolling the window down and thanking me personally for my selflessness. I can see it in their eyes.
The mannerly and orderly way of British driving is eclipsed only by the mannerly and orderly way of British parking. A British driver would never DREAM of pulling over to snag a parking spot in front of their local Post Office without looking. No, they understand that killing someone is slightly worse than having to wait the extra twenty seconds it takes to let the cyclist go past first. The considerate practice of leaving the cycle lanes free and clear truly is an example for other drivers of the world to follow.
And the indicating! The timely and, frankly, persistent indicating makes every night ride a spectacle to behold. It’s like cycling through some sort of flashing amber wonderland or sparkly advert for Ferraro Rocher. Drivers, with all this indicating, you’re really spoiling us.
When I first started cycle commuting, I didn’t get the whole cyclist versus driver thing. I felt like I would be the one to bridge the divide between drivers and cyclists. Tutting other cyclists who ran red lights, stopping for cars at unmarked intersections (No, after you mate, please) and wearing baggy shorts to shield the drivers from my gyrating Johnson.
It didn’t last. Getting consistently honked, shouted and smashed into by the motoring public has changed my mind somewhat. As a result, I’ve sacked off the baggy shorts and now make a habit of pouring myself into a pair of lycra shorts three sizes too small just out of spite. Get an eyeful of those badboys, you lazy, inconsiderate, car-driving bastards.
Let’s just get one thing straight before I continue. There is no, I repeat, NO such thing as road tax. Road maintenance is taken care of through the collection of council tax and other taxes. That little disc on your windshield has nothing to do with maintaining roads and it hasn’t done since 1937. That disc acts as proof that you’ve paid Vehicle Excise Duty and that fee exists mainly to combat CO2 emissions. Vehicle Excise Duty does not apply to us because (unless of course one has had a bacon and egg sandwich for breakfast) bicycles are zero-emission. It is why zero-emission cars are also exempt. Surely, a person who’s paid real money for a car called “Leaf” deserves a bollocking more than I do. Go shout at them, why don’t you. It always seems to be some fat idiot in an R reg mondeo who shouts “Pay road tax or get off the road!” at me. Considering my bicycle is worth more than your car, mate, I would suggest I currently pay MORE “road” tax than you do, so zip it.
The number and array of dozy, selfish drivers out there is staggering. Minicabs, British Gas trucks, white vans and busses make my daily commute a gauntlet of death, but there is one group of drivers who put them all to shame. The most aggressive, most unaware, shoutiest and all around most awful people without question are Mums on the school run.
I have been knocked off my bike three times. And all three times it has been a hurried mum on the school run who has turned into the cycle lane without looking or indicating. I put this down to two things:
Mums are always running late for things.
Mums’ priorities are hopelessly out of whack.
Dearest mums, I know you think the planet will stop rotating if you don’t get your angel to his classes/sports match/scouts troupe on time, but let me be the first to tell you it really doesn’t matter at all. Your child’s very existence has no bearing anywhere at anytime on anything or anyone. On the list of “Most Important Things In The World”, your child getting to school on time ranks somewhere below “a hobo’s nail fungus” and “a gnat’s fart”. No amount of heavy-footed cyclist killing will make him love you. I can say with absolute conviction that the spoiled little nazi is entirely unimpressed by your efforts to get him to things on time. Chances are he’ll wind up shlepping fries at McDonalds or strung out on crack in a ditch somewhere despite your best efforts, so take it down a notch, will ya?
I know cyclists are not entirely blameless in this war. There are hundreds of helmetless cyclists out there with Morrissey haircuts and oversized designer eyewear who pass drivers on the wrong side, blaze through intersections without looking, scrape car doors with their pedals and who do more than their own fair share of shouting and V flicking. These people are called fixie riders. By all means run these people down, just don’t take your fury out on the rest of us. I thank you.