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» Real-life slapstick

I should have been a stuntman.
Picture the scene... It's a beautiful Friday evening on Oxford St. I've just left work after a couple of cheeky beers in the office, and am wandering up the street towards the bus stop. And then I spot a 73, in all its old Routemaster glory, waiting at the traffic lights. So I start running after it. And it starts moving off. So I run a bit faster.

By this time I have an audience - some girls looking out the back window from the top deck are cheering me on - so naturally efforts are redoubled. The bus is moving quite quickly now, and I don't know if I'll make it... But I'm there! With a gazelle like spring, I'm on! Nice'n'safe, one foot on the platform, both hands around the pole. Phew.

At which point, the strap on the record-bag style, erm, bag, slung over my shoulder, decides to snap. And with that sudden jerk, my feet slip off the platform, my hands slide down the pole and my body ends up stretched out on the road, being dragged up London's busiest - but not, take it from me, smoothest - street.

So at this point, the bus is gathering speed, steaming up Oxford St with me fishtailing along the road behind it... I didn't dare let go cos I had no idea what was coming behind me, and I was pulled a good 150 meters before I managed to crane my neck behind me and see the road was clear. So I let go, eventually skidding and rolling to a stop.

I'm not exaggerating, but my little escapade had brought Oxford St to a standstill. People just stopped and stared open mouthed. I got up, brushed myself off and walked about 50 yards back to where a woman was standing holding the remains of my bag.

"Are you alright?!" she asked, clearly expecting me to be dead.

"A lot better than I should be," I mumbled, taking the bag and limping off to the tube (decided against the bus), face burning with embarrassment. The pain only started when I was safely downstairs and hurt overcame the shame.

Since Oxford St has more cctv per mile than anywhere else on the planet, I'm still expecting this footage to appear on 'Aren't People Cunts III'.

And people moan about bendy buses. I think they're fucking great.
(Sat 23rd Jan 2010, 11:15, More)

» Stupid Colleagues

Astrology schmastrology
I was freelancing at a mag where each week some unlucky sap would get the job of making up that issue's star signs (well, not the actual signs - they're quite well known).

It was always a mix of 'that boy you like will say something mysterious on Thursday' or 'Sagittarians: on Tuesday, why not treat yourself to that new top you've had your eye on, you deserve it!" Etc. and so forth.

I was editing the things one week, written by this incredibly posh regular freelancer. I was - at first - pleasantly surprised, she seemed to have done some research and it was all 'house of Saturn' this and 'Neptune rising' that. Until I got to the point where she started talking about how Tuesday's eclipse of the moon would affect your homework, or spots, or that new top you've had your eye on or something. 'Cos I was pretty sure there wasn't an eclipse of the moon coming up, and since these eclipse things tend to be predicted several thousand years in advance by Ancient Mayan astronomers etc., I was guessing our freelancer hadn't managed to spot one that had somehow fallen through the net. Still, you know what the heavens are like: unpredictable. Oh no, hang on.

She'd made it all up of course. And when I asked her if she thought that while people might not notice that that top they were really after wasn't, after all, the solution to all their spot/homework/new top problems, they *might*, on the other hand, notice the moon *not disappearing*, she didn't really have an answer.

She was later caught (and fired for) making-up and selling 'real-life' stories, including one tragic one about someone caught up in the boxing day tsunami, getting a friend to pretend to be said victim for the photos and everything.

Apologies for length, but if it bothers you, why not treat yourself to that new top you've had your eye on?
(Mon 7th Mar 2011, 14:31, More)

» Dodgy work ethics

More tabloid journalists
This all seems a bit tame what with, y'know, everything, but still...

I was freelancing for a weekly men's mag (the one that's not Nuts, and I was only writing about sport, not tits), and one of the section eds there was an old tabloid hand.

One night in the pub, he regaled us with stories of life at the hard edge. Things like how they'd doorstep grieving families in pairs, so while one talked to them sympathetically in the kitchen, the other could steal family photos from off the mantelpiece. Lots of nice stuff like that.

What really pissed me off was how he thought we'd be somehow in awe of him, and that every journo somehow aspired to that level of tabloid fuckwittery. He actually finished the one-sided conversation with words to the effect, 'one day son, keep yer head down, work 'ard and you too could do something unspeakable to a recently bereaved family!'

At which point me and the other happy magazine let's-write-a-pointless-but-amusing-feature-type person made our excuses. Twunt.
(Thu 7th Jul 2011, 17:13, More)