Monday, 3 September 2012

Hold onto your knuts

Here's a book that you probably can
 judge from the cover 
I was pondering blog topics a little while back, and I settled on doing a topic that I knew inside out. But I've done bands I like to death as a topic. And I was a little stunted for subjects, since I've got the whole jack of all trades, master of none thing going on. I study journalism, but there's not too much you can say about that unless you want to sound like an Andrew Marr wet dream. But as I was squatting over that toilet, unable to sit because the seat burnt my arse cheeks, holding on for dear life, trying not to splash shit on my trainers as I jolted back and forth, I realised something. I knew what I was on like the back of my hand. Not toilets. But the finest transportation service to grace planet earth - Megabus. Because friends and family are spread out between Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow, and even Birmingham, I've had to make heavy use of this budget service which has given me an uncountable number of experiences.

Stagecoach Group began Megabus in 2003 for the United Kingdom, and 2006 in the USA. Scouring the US wikipedia page has been interesting, because there appears to be a long list of Megabus drivers that have been caught drink driving, and generally crashing into things. But funnily enough, my search for out of control Megabus UK drivers turned out to be fruitless. Which is actually fair enough. I'm maybe being a little sceptical here, since I've never had any problems with their drivers. The service you get from Megabus is exactly what it says on the tin - low cost travel, and it isn't really so bad. As long as they maintain their toilets properly. Which isn't very common actually. Right away you can tell there is something a little iffy about Megabus before even using their service. You shouldn't judge a book by it's cover. But Megabus is a a bus service, not a library, so let us indulge in some prejudice as we look at their mascot in the picture just below.

Picture a sane person. Completely sane. Can you imagine them designing that with good intentions? I'm thinking this. It's late 2002. Stagecoach Group are on the verge of creating a fine, low cost service all can enjoy. They hire a designer to come up with a lovable mascot for this blossoming idea. The designer forgets his project and gets drunk on the very last day. Memories flood back to him, something has to be submitted. In a blind panic, he finishes his bottle of gin, grabs some crayons and paper from the Early Learning Centre, and hops on his bike. But there's a storm. He does the best he can on this creaking little bicycle with the wind swaying him back and forth. It's shite, but it's something. It's submitted, and Stagecoach Group are so pleased with their low cost bus idea that they love the drawing. The mascot has a melted face, resembling a perverted gnome thinking about molesting something innocent with his tangerine slice penis. But hey, maybe some people think it's wonderful.

The mascot is the tip of the iceberg. The toilets, as you may have guessed, are not desirable places to be. On one of my first ever Megabus experiences, the toilet was full, and had a broken flush. A mountain of faeces almost rose above the seat, competing with the thick vomit stain near the door handle that hung in the limbo between solid and liquid. Another visit saw a solitary trainer lying on the floor. The hand-dryer coughed and gave me a small piece of chewing gum, but didn't actually dry my hands. The sink doesn't usually work, and when it does, it takes the skills of a maverick jet pilot to avoid the jet of boiling water it shoots into your chest. And there's also the usual assortment of screaming children, drunks, hambeasts, and people playing their tinny custom ringtones for all to hear.

Sometimes I go on the 'Gold' service, which costs a little more, but can be well worth the luxury. These journeys have more comfortable seats, and are generally populated with a small number of polite, elderly folk, rather than a full bus of junkies and thieves. You also get a little sandwich, a drink, and a piece of shortbread, which is fantastic. These journeys are interesting in their own right, mainly for the steward that serves you. Sometimes the steward is sane, but I always hope for psychotically nice man. Psychotically nice man offers you shortbread in a threateningly nice way. His girder-like arms bulge underneath his tiny shirt, threatening to crush his basket of pancakes and jam (and your skull) at the first sign of refusal. His wide smile is particularly impressive, and his hollow eyes that have probably seen countless kneecaps broken stare into your soul and remove any desire to deny a tuna crunch on wholemeal bread. There's also trauma lady, who simply melts into an abyss of mental torment if you refuse her offers, occasionally looking back with a guilt-tripping stare. It's all fun.

Megabus doesn't have a twitter, and it's clear to see why. There are often various problems that would mean that they constantly get harassed for providing a questionable service in some cases. But I'm going to continue using it. It isn't particularly expensive and well...yeah. It's cheap. God bless Megabus.

What I'm currently listening to > \Drokk - Geoff Barrow/

Thanks for reading!

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