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  1. Our surprise is part of the problem

    10 November 2016 by superlative

    It’s been a long time since I wrote a blog post. It’s now November 2016 and we’ve just had a US presidential election, a few months after the UK’s referendum on its EU membership. In case you’ve been living in a cave, on Mars, with your eyes closed and your fingers in your ears: we voted to leave, and Trump won.

    Both of those still feel odd for me to say, particularly the Trump one, and not just because he’s completely ridiculous and implausible. It’s because they were both a huge, confusing, terrifying surprise. I knew they were both possible, I’d seen the polls, but I didn’t really think either would happen. I thought people would be sensible, would see why one choice was obviously better than the other, and the votes would go (in my view) the correct way and then we could forget all about them.

    I was wrong. Twice.

    And that’s the point of this post: almost everyone I know was completely surprised. The morning after each vote, all my friends were stunned, shocked to their core, and worried for their futures. How can this have happened? How can we all have been so wrong and not seen any of it coming? There has been a considerable amount of discussion of this in the media since, and it’s only now that I’m coming to understand some of it.

    For a long time, ten years or more probably, an educated, fairly intelligent middle class has shaped a lot of our society. I belong to that group, and so does virtually everyone else I know. And because we don’t mix with anyone else, or hear their opinions, it is a complete surprise to find that a large number of people, enough to carry a popular vote, disagrees with us. These well-meaning, middle class folk have discussed and decided what they think is best for everyone else – what poor people need and how they should be helped, for example – but without really talking to them or knowing what they’re really worried about. It turns out it was things like immigration and the very feeling of disconnection from the establishment and the decision-making process that we’d somehow missed. Oh but immigration is actually a good thing, immigrants pay more in than they take out, we need immigrants to do certain types of work, and it is noble to welcome refugees – those are basic truths, therefore everyone knows them, they can’t possibly think any differently, we assumed. But we were wrong – not on the issues, but on what we decided was the obviousness of them. Even where people acknowledged that others disagree, we either discounted them as stupid and wrong or didn’t want to debate it and convince them because ‘everyone is entitled to their opinion’, even when it’s demonstrably incorrect.

    It applies as much to the left as to the right. Whether you think we should help people by redistributing wealth from the rich, or whether we should help them by giving them the opportunity to work their way out of poverty, it still ends up being the same thing – people talking loftily to similarly-minded people, on the left or on the right, and not hearing anyone else. Not those we’re discussing, and certainly not anyone who disagrees with us.

    We exist in an echo chamber of our own opinions. If we don’t like someone else’s view, we unfriend them on Facebook or block them on Twitter, and then tell our friends about the crazy people we’d just had to disassociate ourselves from. Only from family members do we tolerate it, and even then with a degree of embarrassment and quiet ridicule. We don’t buy newspapers that we don’t like, and think less of someone if they post an article from one of them. We seek to hear only what we agree with.

    Then you find yourself where we are now – votes haven’t gone our way, and we’re horrified and waving ‘not in my name’ placards. And to be clear, I genuinely do think both the Brexit vote and the US election went the wrong way and will be damaging to both countries. But these votes will continue to go ‘the wrong way’, for one side or the other. Our countries will continue to be deeply divided, and that is harmful to all of us. I don’t see a way out of the present situation, not until we reach some kind of large-scale conflict or catastrophe that causes us remember our similarities more than we remember our differences. That’s a scary thought, and it is how we’ve ended up at war in the past.

    I’m not sure what, if anything, I can do about it. I can try to expose myself to more differing opinions, but there won’t be all that many given my friendship group. More difficult than that in some ways is the fact people don’t really want to have a discussion where they disagree. It’s uncomfortable to us and makes us think we don’t like each other because of our differing points of view. We don’t seem very tolerant of debate any more. I’ve always said I’m slightly right of centre in my politics, liberal but right of centre, and I’ve always struggled to have discussions with any left-wing friends because they find conservative views abhorrent and I find left-wing views stupid. So you just don’t talk about it, or we limit conversation to the liberal views we all share and skip lightly over anything else. I can only think of one person who has happily talked to me about such things, and walked away not annoyed or incredulous that we disagree. I still thought they were wrong afterwards, but neither of us took offence.

    It’s going to be a difficult time for our countries. 2016 has already been unpleasant. I don’t want to see us slide towards fascism and isolationism. If anyone has any great ideas for how we can bring our nations back together, well, I’d say now is the time to hear them.


  2. My penis is fine, please leave it alone

    10 September 2015 by superlative

    This post is about circumcision.

    This topic comes up in conversation or the media from time to time, and whenever it does I find that people say some really horrible things and frankly it pisses me off. I’m not going to be coy about this – I’m circumcised, I had the operation when I was about 7, and it was for medical reasons. I also happen to quite like my penis.

    The problem that I have with the comments people make about circumcision is in part that often these people are not circumcised themselves, so they don’t really know what they’re talking about. Examples include “I’m not circumcised, because my parents didn’t hate me”. Someone has actually said that to me. Well that’s charming. You don’t know me, and you don’t know my parents.

    But what I find far more annoying are comments like this one, which I saw recently on Facebook.

    Cut

    When people say things like this, they obviously don’t stop to consider that men who are circumcised are going to read it. How do you think it makes me feel to be called mutilated? It’s not very nice. I don’t consider myself mutilated, or ugly, or defective simply because I was circumcised for a good reason. If I had a scar from another type of operation, would you call me mutilated? No, I don’t think you would. Because that is horrible and unkind.

    The comments are not directed at circumcised individuals themselves, and I realise that. They refer to child circumcision for religious or cultural reasons, often where the decision is made by parents and the child had no choice, and the commenter is speaking more to those parents. I agree that child circumcision is often unnecessary, and I think circumcision should at least only be performed when a man is old enough to choose it for himself. If he wishes to observe that particular religious or cultural custom, it should be up to him.

    But not all circumcisions are carried out for that reason, and once it has been performed that person has to live with and love their body for the rest of their life. It does not help them to hear it publicly scorned and derided as inferior. Address your views at parents considering circumcising their child if you wish to convince them otherwise – but phrase it like that. Don’t say ‘Your penis is mutilated and doesn’t work properly’. Say ‘This decision affects your son for the rest of his life. It should be his choice not yours.’

    And just so you know, I happen to prefer my penis how it is, and I prefer circumcised penises on other men. They are easier to keep clean, and every foreskin I’ve encountered has had a slightly unpleasant (albeit perfectly natural) sweaty smell caused by its innate secretions that I am not sorry to be missing out on. And if we’re going to talk about sensitivity, a lot of men seem to have trouble lasting longer than a few minutes after penetration anyway so a little less sensitivity might do them and their partner some good. I’m not arguing for circumcision; but there are advantages I’ve learned to love, and if people are going to comment on circumcision it would be good if they showed a bit more of the sensitivity that they’re apparently so fond of.


  3. Drugs are bayd, mm-kay?

    12 April 2015 by superlative

    I was talking to a friend about drugs a few weeks ago – not the medicinal kind, the illegal recreational ones – and I had a hard time articulating what I really feel about them. I found it very frustrating, but since then I’ve had time to ponder it and put my thoughts into words properly.

    Essentially, I think I have the relatively uncommon opinion (among those under 50) that drugs are bad and you shouldn’t take them. I don’t care if people think that is uncool or that it makes me not fun – they’re wrong. The consumption of illegal drugs is selfish and irresponsible, and here’s why (in as few words as possible).

    Taking drugs is selfish towards the people who love and care about you. When you buy drugs, most of the time you don’t really know what you’re taking. You’re putting your trust in a drug dealer. Sure, you might know that person, they might be a friend, but they had to buy them from somewhere too. Ultimately somewhere along that supply chain is someone who doesn’t give a fuck about you and just wants your money. You don’t know what they’ve put in what you’re taking, what it might have been accidentally contaminated with, or exactly how strong it is. You’re taking a risk, either of harming yourself seriously and immediately, or of causing long-term harm either through addiction or other physical or mental health problems. I find that selfish towards the people who love you and want you to be well. You’re putting your wellbeing at risk for your temporary pleasure, and that is selfish.

    Taking drugs is also selfish towards society in general. If you do end up harming yourself, either immediately or in the long term, it is society that has to pay through the NHS to try to fix you. Your harm is self-inflicted because you wanted to have a good time, but it is everyone else who has to pay if it goes wrong. This is no different to people who drink to excess and either injure themselves in a drunken stupor or damage their bodies over time. Doing that to yourself and making other people pay for it is selfish.

    Finally, taking drugs is irresponsible. You don’t know where that money is going. Ultimately it may go to the Taliban who control the poppy-growing areas of Afghanistan, or the Mexican drugs cartels who kill hundreds of people in South America each year, or criminals involved in people trafficking and sex slavery. It might not, but some of it does, and the point is that you don’t know. You don’t know and you don’t care because you want your drugs. It may be argued that this is the fault of the drugs’ illegality – you wouldn’t have to buy them from unscrupulous people if they weren’t illegal. That may be true. But that doesn’t make it OK. That doesn’t make it OK not to care where the money goes. If the money from cigarettes went towards funding paedophiles, you’d expect people to say ‘Well I don’t want to fund that, even though I quite fancy a smoke’. I don’t see drugs as any different. Buying them and ignoring where that money goes, turning a blind eye to it because you want to have fun, is irresponsible.

    So there you go. I really disagree with taking drugs and, unfortunately, I think less of people who do it.

    You might think however that my vehement opposition to drugs means I don’t think they should be legalised. There you’d be wrong. The majority of drugs, with the possible exception of the most addictive ones, I think should be legalised because many of the problems I have with their consumption would go away if they were legal. Properly measured doses with a secure supply chain would mean you’d know what you were taking and could manage the risk to your health. You could still harm yourself, but you can drink yourself to death too – at least you’d reduce the chance of doing it by accident. Properly taxed drugs would also provide funds for the NHS, should you ultimately need treatment as a result of them. Drugs would then not be that different to our already taxed alcohol in that regard. And you’d know where the money you spend on them is going, rather than guessing, or hoping, or ignoring it.

    I’m therefore fairly liberal with regards to the legalisation of drugs. But that doesn’t mean it’s OK to take them while they’re illegal. Campaign for their legalisation if you want to, but if you take them in the meantime you’re putting your own pleasure above everything else. That’s selfish and irresponsible.


  4. Angshuss

    26 February 2015 by superlative

    Over the last couple of years I’ve developed a problem with anxiety. It only flares up occasionally, but the odd thing is that every time it hits me I seem to think “Oh, this is new. Where have I got this new problem with anxiety from?” If I look back at posts on this blog though, I can see that I’ve written about it a number of times, and described it in exactly the same way. Certain things set it off, usually around a loss of control or a lack of certainty, but the way I respond is always the same – I freak out, I feel sick, and I want to remove myself from whatever situation or decision that has brought it on. And then I get past it, and think it was the worst episode I’ve had so far. But who knows if it was? Every episode feels like the worst.

    In the past I’ve had freak outs about starting new jobs, buying a new car, and buying a home. I haven’t had to do any of those for a while, so most recently it has been caused by travel to new places. Booking holidays is a fun thing to do, right? Everyone likes that. Choosing where you want to go, picking a hotel, booking flights. These are exciting things. Holidays are nice.

    NO. I don’t like it. It makes me feel sick. What if I choose badly? What if it’s horrible? What if it’s a bad hotel, or we get lost, or robbed, or stabbed, or it’s not a nice city? It’ll be a waste of money. I won’t like it. I’ll be trapped and I won’t be able to come home. I don’t want to book a holiday. I just want to stay at home where it’s safe. Or go somewhere that I know, where I can get on the right train without getting lost, and feel comfortable walking around the streets.

    I’m a freak. I don’t want never to go to any new places for the rest of my life. There are lots of places I’ve always said I’d love to visit, and I don’t want to deprive Chris of going and doing nice things. But it’s only fine in theory. As an abstract concept it sounds great, just as long as I don’t actually have to book it.

    Last week I freaked out because I didn’t want to go to Nice. To NICE. It’s almost definitely nice there, it’s in the name. Who doesn’t want to go to Nice? I wasn’t even paying, we’d been given some money to spend on a holiday. But no, I absolutely did not want to go, for no real reason, and it turned into a major thing.

    I don’t know what to do about it. I hate it when it happens, I hate myself for not being able to control it, and I don’t think it’s just going to go away. We’ve arranged to go to Madrid now instead, and I feel OK about that – the trip looked more manageable to me, the hotel has great reviews on Trip Advisor, and there’s a straightforward metro from the airport. It sounds OK. I can do Madrid. It was also a way of not going to Nice, which is illogical, but it helped somehow. Once I’ve been on a holiday and I’m back home safely again I can look back and say yes I enjoyed that. It’s just that I have to get through it first, which sounds so, so bizarre.

    Chris and my Mum think I should look into counselling or hypnotherapy or something. They’re probably right. I’m past the episode now though and once I’m back to normal again it never seems worth it. I don’t know. I hate it. I hate being weak and not in control of myself. I hate not liking myself, because normally I really do like myself.

    I should probably do something about it.

    Maybe next time.


  5. Election 2015

    17 February 2015 by superlative

    It’s an election year again suddenly. It feels like only a few months ago that David Cameron and Nick Clegg were announcing their new-found bromance in the rose garden at Number 10, and yet here we are. Unfortunately this time round  I really have no idea who to vote for.

    I live in a constituency that has traditionally flipped every few years between the Conservatives and Labour. No other parties have really been anywhere close to them here since… well, since the war actually, looking at the election results I just found online. So while I’ve always voted Liberal Democrat at general elections, there really doesn’t seem any point. I’ve never liked the idea of tactical voting and I normally say you should vote for whoever you agree most with, or who you think will represent you best as an MP. But if they’ve got no hope of winning it does feel like a waste.

    Support for the Liberal Democrats has collapsed since 2010, so if they weren’t anywhere close to taking this constituency last time they certainly won’t be now. I don’t actually agree with much of the criticism levelled at the Lib Dems – the things people tend to say betray a wilful ignorance of how coalition government works. They won 57 seats and formed a government with a party that held 307. How much of their legislative agenda did people honestly think would be enacted on that basis? They’ve had some achievements – they got a referendum on changing our voting system (which they lost, but having one at all has been a key aim of theirs for years); the pupil premium, albeit horribly named, seems quite effective at targeting additional educational resources at those most in need; and they prevented the Conservatives from redrawing our electoral boundaries in a way that seemed reasonable but which was really a means of screwing over Labour. That’s just off the top of my head, but they are certainly achievements. And yes they ruined their credibility with their tuition fees pledge, but that was a stupid promise made by a party that didn’t think it had any realistic prospect of power. I’ll come back to that kind of politics in a minute.

    So do I hate the Lib Dems based on their time in office? No, not at all. If it were based solely on whose policies most closely match my views, I’d probably still vote for them this year. But it’s pointless, and I don’t really want an unfettered Conservative majority government, nor do I have the remotest affection or affinity for Labour. So I’m left with no one.

    ‘Vote Green!’ some people might say about now. There is no way that will be happening.

    I have a real problem with the Green Party, and with the surge of the support they’ve enjoyed in the last few months. Nobody seems to have noticed how reminiscent it is of the surge experienced by the Liberal Democrats in 2010. Fed up with the parties we have already experienced in government, people are reaching out for something new – a party that says nice, pleasant things and makes generous promises. Like, say, scrapping tuition fees. Just like that. Does no one see the similarities with the Green Party currently? Does no one remember how disappointing it was to watch those promises go unfulfilled once the constraints of government bite and the party takes a hard bump back down to reality?

    I doubt the Greens will win enough support to enter government, but if they did that is exactly what would happen. Economics and practicality would get in the way. It is very easy for Caroline Lucas to smile self-righteously and say things people want to hear, because she knows she won’t have to deliver on any of it. If she did, she’d fail, and she’d end up as hated as Nick Clegg.

    I’ve lived under a Green-led council for the last five years, and while local politics isn’t directly comparable to national government, I feel it’s at least given me some measure of what the party is like. I find them incompetent, inexperienced, fractious, beset by infighting and unrealistic. They seem entirely fixated on bus lanes and unable even to maintain decent relations with the trade unions. I really, really don’t want to see them in charge of my city’s council again, and I certainly don’t want them in charge of the country. I’d rather have anyone else – any of the main parties anyway. I of course don’t want UKIP. I’m not insane.

    Which leads me back to my original point of having no idea who to vote for. Simon Kirby, my present MP and a Conservative, seems a fairly decent sort of man – he works quite hard for the constituency, has so far not been shown to be dishonest (about the most you can hope for from an MP, it seems), and he’s from the more progressive wing of the Conservative Party and voted in favour of things like equal marriage. So in the absence of an alternative I could vote for him; but as I said, a full majority for the Conservative Party that includes their less moderate members would trouble me.

    So I am open to suggestions and reasonable debate on the matter. I really would like some idea of what to do. If all else fails I could stick the candidates’ faces on one of those Twister spinny things and just let fate decide.


  6. 2014 in pictures

    10 February 2015 by superlative

    Looking back through Facebook, it seems I did quite a lot last year. So here are a few things I got up to.

    Amsterdam, January
    We took our friend Sarah for her birthday. It was freezing but loads of fun.

    Amsterdam

     

     

    Diving, April
    We went to the FINA Diving World Series and saw some FIT boys in tiny speedos doing exceptionally clever things on platforms.

    Diving

     

    Birmingham, June
    We had a weekend of fun in Birmingham with our friend Lee including eating loads of free chocolate at Cadbury World.

    Cadbury World,Birmingham

     

     

    Pride, August
    I ate a number of cream teas during 2014. This was one of them. Unfortunately I had the WORST post-Pride hangover and could barely keep my scone down. I hid it fairly well for the photo though.

    Cream tea

     

    Barcelona, August
    Once I’d got over my hangover, we thought we’d try Barcelona as everyone raves about it. It was great, but boiling, and the Sagrada Familia was really kind of tacky…

    Barcelona

    I did wash that T-shirt between Pride and Barcelona, by the way.

     

    Edinburgh, October
    I’ve wanted to visit Scotland for a long time and finally we got round to it. Edinburgh was brilliant and beautiful. We also did our first ‘escape the room’ puzzle there and thoroughly enjoyed it.

    Scotland

     

     

    Birmingham, November
    In an odd piece of decision-making we went back to Birmingham again, and I’ve actually just been AGAIN (February 2015). This has turned into a confusing habit, but we’ve had some lovely nights out there. We also completed our second escape the room, so I’ll be well-prepared if I’m ever trapped in a locked room about to be gassed to death with only a helpful sequence of clues to aid me.

    Birmingham

     

    All in all it was a good year.


  7. Blogging

    by superlative

    Someone reminded me today that I haven’t written anything on my blog in ages. It’s true, and it’s a shame, because I used to like writing on here. It’s been a good place to organise my thoughts, or sometimes just to vent. The problem as I’m sure I’ve explained before is that once too much time passes it becomes difficult to pick up blogging again. You can’t write about all the things you’ve missed in the preceding months, but it feels odd to ignore it and have huge gaps in your narrative. So you end up never writing anything.

    I’d like to write from time to time again, so I might just try. Maybe once a week or something. And apologies for any gaps.

    For anyone who has read my past posts and wants and actual update on how things are: Mum is still barking, but is actually a little better health-wise; Horrible Grandad is still dead and I’ll probably never see or speak to that side of my family again, which is a shame; Nice Grandad eventually accepted having carers to help him at home, so is older and frailer but still plodding along somehow; work is good – and I got a promotion!


  8. I can’t get no sleep

    25 August 2014 by superlative

    I’ve become someone who doesn’t sleep properly, and it’s really annoying. Often it’s alcohol-related, but it happens at other times too if I’m stressed about something or if I know I really need to sleep because of something that’s happening the next day.

    It started about 6-9 months ago I think. I noticed it happening after I’d been out drinking with people from work, when I’d spent the whole evening drinking but had deliberately not let myself get too drunk. It’s like all the calories and the sugars in the alcohol had digested into my system by the time I went to bed, and it felt as though there was a lightbulb on inside my brain when I tried to sleep.

    And then it happened again. And again. And started to happen when I hadn’t even had a drink. I can spend the whole night awake, not even remotely close to sleeping, until about an hour before I need to be up at which point I’ll finally drop off. Then I’ll feel absolutely shocking for the whole of the next day, like I’ve got the worst hangover even if I haven’t drunk anything.

    I don’t really know what to do about it. I could drink less, and that would help sometimes, but it would still happen at others and I really quite like drinking. It’s been suggested that I should drink more, and that actually does work in a weird way when I’ve tried it. Instead of drinking and then sobering up by the time I go to bed in an effort to avoid a hangover, I just drink until I’m drunk and then let the booze send me off to sleep. I end up with a hangover, but at least I’ve slept, and I can actually do something about a hangover if I eat and take painkillers the next day. So I think it’s the sobering up before bed that is definitely part of the problem on those nights.

    On the other nights when it’s stress-related, well, I’m a bit stuck on those. I’ve tried two types of herbal sleeping tablets, one that’s the same ingredients as Nytol Herbal and another one called Kalms. The first did nothing at all, but I’ve got off to sleep a few times about half an hour after taking Kalms. They don’t always work, but they seem to help a bit, if I’m lucky.

    It’s really horrible. I don’t want to be someone who doesn’t sleep, and it makes getting through the next day really hard. I could try stronger sleeping tablets, like actual medicinal ones with antihistamines in them, but I think they’d make me sleep really heavily and I can’t take those with alcohol.

    Maybe I should learn some yoga or tai chi to do when I can’t sleep? At the very least I should have a rule that if I’ve tried to sleep for an hour or more and it’s still not happening, I should just get up. By that time I should know it’s not working, and laying there won’t change it. It’s hard though because you always think if you just wait a bit longer you’ll drop off. But you don’t.

    Stupid brain. Sleeping should be easy.


  9. Stressss

    15 July 2014 by superlative

    It only seems like a couple of months ago that my Grandad died. In fact it was more than a year now, and I’m not sure where that time has gone. That was my Dad’s dad, and now a year later it feels like it won’t be long until we lose my Mum’s dad too.

    The same as it was with my Horrible Grandad, my Nice Grandad is nearly 90 now and in the last few months his health has suddenly just started to fail. He’s lived in the same house, the house my Mum grew up in, for something like 60 years, and for the last 30 of those he’s lived alone and managed all by himself. But he just can’t do it any more. Unfortunately he hasn’t wanted to accept that he was starting to need help and starting to need to make changes to his home so he could carry on living there, and now everything has suddenly gone crunch and there’s nothing been put in place to help him. And it’s SO stressful because no one knows what to do for him.

    He lives in Hertfordshire about an hour from my Mum and Dad, and my Mum’s sister lives in Canada. Mum’s obviously ill so can’t do very much, and my Dad is having trouble with his heart again and isn’t meant to be over-exerting himself. So there’s no one really that is very nearby. They knew Grandad was starting to get more frail, so Mum has tried for about a year to convince him to make provision, to get a stairlift and to consider that he might need someone to come in regularly like a carer or district nurse or something to check on him, but he just wouldn’t have any of it.

    And now what’s happened? He can’t really manage the stairs, he can’t clean his house, he can’t get his shopping on his own. He just can’t be on his own really. It’s all deteriorated so quickly. Why does it have to happen like that with old people? They get something wrong with them, and suddenly they get something else too, and something else, and their body just can’t cope. Everything gives way all at once.

    So now I’ve got my Mum on the phone several times a week at the end of her tether with worry about him, and I just don’t know what to say to her. She feels bad because she can’t do more for him, and my aunt feels bad for being so far away and puts pressure on my Mum to do more than she can. I’m about two or three hours from Hertfordshire, so I don’t feel like I can realistically do much myself, and we’re all just talking about how difficult it is and not actually fixing anything.

    I just don’t know what to do. If he won’t even allow them to arrange for a carer or anything, what are we supposed to do? He doesn’t want help even though he needs it, and you can’t force him. You can’t kick his door in and install a stairlift and a carer. We’re all just stuck in a horrible stressful limbo and it feels dreadful.

    Urgh.


  10. #BEDM14: What annoys you every day?

    27 May 2014 by superlative

    The bus.

    Oh my god the bus annoys me so much.

    People try to say that buses are more environmentally friendly, and are much better than they used to be, and that they’re quicker than sitting in traffic or waiting for a parking space.

    NO. Buses are HORRIBLE.

    The seats are too close together, so if you’re above average height and you don’t want to sit sideways like a freak then they cause you considerable pain. Buses are dirty too, both in terms of being strewn with litter and abandoned Metros, and because they’re festooned with the germs of all the other people crammed into them, coughing and spluttering and putting their disgusting paws all over the handrails. And not content with being generally diseased, the passengers are frequently obnoxious too – talking too loudly, playing music, eating stinky foods, smoking, and on occasion abusing the people around them.

    The temperature on buses seems to be a Russian roulette where it can range from anything from Siberian winter to the seventh layer of hell, with no particular indication before you get on of what it might be.

    They’re unreliable – my bus to work takes a very Mediterranean attitude to punctuality – and despite the multi-million pound bus lanes the Green party has spaffed all over Brighton, it can still take me 40 minutes to travel the three miles to work.

    And to cap it all off, they’re not even cheap. Our bus company seems to put its prices up about twice a year, always blaming ‘rising fuel prices’, and the amount of money you’re expected to pay to endure a horrible, slow, traumatising journey is now bordering on ridiculous.

    Each day I wake up in a fairly normal mood. Not madly excited to be going to work, but not troubled by it either.

    By the time I’ve negotiated my way through the bus journey to work, my blood pressure has doubled, I’ve gained half a dozen new grey hairs, and I’ve considered murdering a broad selection of people, many of them children. It really does me no good at all, and has almost certainly shaved a few years off my life expectancy. They’re just awful, and all buses, bus companies and bus enthusiasts should be burned alive and turned into tarmac so I can drive my big fat car around on top of them.