John Walker's Electronic House


by on May.06, 2006, under Rants

Things for which I would happily pay £100 a year:

To not have to shave

To never be asked “Are you sure you want to quit?” I’ll handle the responsibility for accidental quits myself.

To be chipped such that I can neither see nor hear public reminders to “take all my personal possessions when I exit the [insert ANYTHING ANYWHERE]”…

(On second thoughts thank goodness, I suppose, because when I get on a train I think all my personal possessions have to be left as an offering to the Train Monster, who without my donated property will otherwise eat my eyes. And I think it each and every time afresh, no matter what. As for aeroplanes, I ensure that all my valuable items are firmly stowed in the seat-back pockets before getting off, because it’s a polite tip to the pilot… Pardon? Really? Oh! Apparently you don’t have to do this! I’m supposed to take my valuable items with me when I get off the plane! How silly I’d feel if they didn’t remind me of this EVERY FIFTEEN SECONDS EVERYWHERE I GO.

You know what – if I leave my own stuff somewhere in public, that’s my own stupid fault. And don’t give me any crap about bombs – remember the news story about the people who found the suspicious bag on the train, and it turned out to be a bomb? NO! BECAUSE IT NEVER, EVER HAPPENS. Here’s how you know when they’re bombs: THEY EXPLODE.

You know what Thames Trains, how about instead of having the digital displays you’ve wasted trillions of pounds on installing to replace those presumably exhausting and money-consuming tannoy announcements, how about you maybe stop having it remind me to “please take all your personal possessions with you when leaving the train” (As opposed to what? My IMPERSONAL possessions? Items I own but for which I don’t feel any particular affiliation should be routinely left behind? Or are you warning me off taking everyone else’s personal possessions in the confusion of this horrifically complicated getting-off-something procedure through which I must be so meticulously babysat? Maybe you could make the infernally slowly scrolling sentence a bit more detailed, because the realms of ambiguity have left me all muddled. “Please do your best to remember to take with you all items that you brought with you when boarding the train and indeed any further items that you might have purchased during your journey when leaving the train which you should only do at the station to which you intended to travel please.”) the entire time, and maybe have it state the name of the next stop more often than, oh I don’t know, THE INTERVAL BETWEEN STOPS.

Er, I got distracted).

To have access to foodstuffs that are not sealed in triplicate and then encased in concrete. I somehow made it through the 80s when the plastic lid of the margarine and the margarine itself were not divided by the impermeable fortress of a piece of paper, and found that, despite the complete lack of flimsily sealing loose bits of plastic, at no point was I killed by a jar of jam.

To have access to the pavement/sidewalk equivalent of a ‘diamond lane’. Not, as you might immediately suspect, for people giving piggybacks, but simply for those who have passed a test to demonstrate that they are capable of the intricate task of walking in a straight line, and will therefore actually go somewhere at some point.

To have dinnerladies (or “Midday Supervisors” as I was recently told they’re now known) employed by restaurants and pubs, with the responsibility for stepping out when the room volume has become ludicrously loud – simply because everyone’s trying to be heard over the sound of everyone else trying to be heard – and sharply clap their hands and ask that “the noise level come down now please,” resetting things to a tolerable place for another fifteen minutes.

15 Comments for this entry

  • JoeVOD

    At the risk of your wrath, I must say why worry about shaving, when you can can have a nifty beard instead? Not only does it offer an air of intellectuality and thoughtfulness when you stroke it, it also makes you look rather biblical. That, despite the obvious connotations towards your faith, also gives you a certain gravitas that no one dare fuck with. Unless of course you are shooting towards the feminie target, in which case fair play for sticking up for those poor souls who have to shave their legs/armpits/bikini lines out of the paranoia that they may become pariahs because they have a bit of stubble ‘down there’ on a friday night.

  • JoeVOD

    Ahem, I meant to type feminine. oh the shame…

  • Lewis

    To not have anyone tell me I “should” do something.

  • admin

    I look so utterly ridiculous with a beard that it’s not an option. I don’t so much look manly, as like a right-wing gun-toting American lunatic.

    Without a beard I’m as handsome as you could hope.

  • Paul Black, Apex of Evolution

    So according to rant# 3, you want to be given a little more personal responsibility, but then in rant# 6, you want to have someone else to adminster to the working of life?

  • admin

    While I have no idea what on earth that means, giving me great cause for worry over the apparent premature climax of evolution, I can only assume you’re misunderstanding the need for individual accountability for one’s own items, and the necessity for external moderation in a collective environment.

  • Enki

    To have access to an item which, when activated, causes everyone in the conversation to have to go away, write down the point they are trying to make, and read it back to themselves 3 times before returning.

  • Tom

    To wear trousers that rigidify to the point of indestructability on impact, so that if I cross a road towards which someone is not freaking indicating, they will destroy their vehicle and perhaps their face rather than me should they turn down it.

  • Nick Murdoch

    Re the train digital displays: South East Trains have them too. Absolutely fucking useless things.

    “The Next Station is Sevenoaks. The Next Station is Sevenoaks. The Next Station is Sevenoaks”

    “But, Mr Train, where do you terminate? I don’t happen to know all your routes off-hand, so I’m unable to tell from that information whether I’m on the right train!”


    “This is the service to Dover AND Ramsgate, calling at… where the train will split. The first HALF of the train will call at …. and Dover Priory. The second HALF of the train will call at …. and Ramsgate. Please ensure you are travelling in the correct half of the train. This is coach THREE.”

    “Thanks Mr Train, that really cleared up my problems. Coach three, eh? Do tell me, HOW MANY COACHES ARE THERE IN THIS TRAIN? Furthermore, which half the the “first half”?


    I’ve learnt from multiple trips that there are usually eight carriages, they’re numbered from the front of the train. And thanks to the announcements I now know the exact order of stations when I should in fact have been able to read my book in peace.

  • bob_arctor

    How about teach everyone sign language and then force them to speak only in sign language?

  • fayze2

    Funny, even from an American view.

  • admin

    Thank you fayze2, I appreciate hearing that.

  • Steve W

    Things for which I would happily pay £100 a year:”

    The printing and distribution of leaflets to every household in my local area, describing the correct use of the roundabout at the bottom of the street. If I’m in the middle lane, it means I can go straight on, you imbeciles; don’t try to crowd me out just because you chose to get stuck in the left side lane!

  • Paul black is feeling considerably less cocky

    Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…… Right. Yes! I did.

  • Mrs Trellis

    I would like some sort of device that made men, when sitting beside me on a crowded train, sit WITH THEIR KNEES TOGETHER rather than splaying them out all over the place. Whilst this position is presumably intended to display and/or air the genitals, it means that I end up crushed into a corner unable to play Animal Crossing.