John Vane’s London Stories: Scenes from the shithole

John Vane’s London Stories: Scenes from the shithole

Another day, another “patriot” on Twitter describes London as “a lawless 3rd works shithole”. Note that with qwerty “k” is next to “l” and “s” is next to “d” and poisonous stupidity can spoil a dickhead’s aim.

I ventured out into the “shithole” this afternoon, having a purchase to make in Islington. On the outward journey the bus was pretty full – perhaps fuller than you’d expect on a Sunday afternoon, though weekend custom has ticked up and for many it is a day for visits and sociability.

Lots of women were on board, most of them middle-aged and black. We were joined by a frail Asian man using a medical walking stick, a large group of children and an elderly black man wearing a capacious fawn suit and complementary overcoat, a spectacular tie, a heavy chain that hung from his neck to his navel, dark glasses and a bright red trilby. A big day at church maybe.

The driver had a message for new arrivals: “Seats upstairs. Seats upstairs.” A newly-boarded youth greeted me with a friendly “hi!” before realising he’d thought I was someone else. An elderly woman got on wearing a face-covering. A young man moved so she could squeeze on to a seat. Another woman got on wearing an enormous golden hat.

“Upstairs. Seats upstairs. Man, you double swiped!” And soon it was standing room only.

Heading back in the half-dark, I mostly walked, carrying my purchase and wolfing a kebab. A white man walked past carrying a big Christmas tree. Another man, black, remarked as he struggled past, “You’re a bit early, ain’t you guv’nor?” Laughter all round.

Keep your distance from our “lawless 3rd works shithole”, patriots. We don’t want your sort round here.

John Vane writes word sketches of London. Sometimes he makes things up. Follow John on Twitter.

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Categories: Culture

1 Comment

  1. Michael Carley says:

    Given how littered the streets are in Islington and Camden, maybe your misspelling “dickhead” has a point. I recently visited four Spanish cities and found their inner-city streets were spotlessly clean. I could see that the cleaners had a regular set of streets they were responsible for, more or less on a daily basis, and that they seemed to take a real pride in their work. Compare this to the poor-value service we get from Veolia. My own street in Kings Cross hasn’t been cleaned in two and half weeks.

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