Thursday, November 15, 2007
First the good news; for years and years and years and years and years, St Pancras was an absolute shithole. In fact, it's main purpose seemed to be to put off people from the East Midlands from ever visiting London. The first time I ever went there, when I was 14 and on a mission to buy some Jam shoes and a white Lonsdale sweatshirt like what Paul Weller had, I spent the first half an hour cowering in a toilet, reading the most horrific invitations to stand on Platform 3 at 7.30 with a copy of the Standard under me left armpit if I fancied getting me cock sucked, and discovering that the previous occupant had left his shoes, trousers, pants, and tie on the floor.
(I nicked the tie, though. It was nice)
Now, of course, all the papers are rubbing their genitals in undisguised glee over the £800m spunkage over said grot-laden station, making particular reference to the fact that Nottingham is now linked to Continental Europe (because we're always going out on the piss in Brussels and commuting to our call-centre jobs in Paris, aren't we?) However, what they fail to mention is for the 99.9999% of people who use St Pancras to get to That London, it's not all that, really.
Why? Let us count the ways;
It's all very well being able to get to Paris in 2 hrs 15 mins, but before you can even do that, you're stuck on a train that - if you're really unlucky - stops at Leicester (our jumper-wearing crisp-devouring inbred cousins) Loughborough (which I won't have a word said against, because Chris Needham comes from there) and Luton (which demolished the only reason for going there - those massive flamingos in their local Arndale Centre - years ago). And if you're coming back, you run the risk of wasting valuable minutes of your life in the stations at Bedford (I went there once. There was a Carpet City) Market Harborough (why?), and then - just when you think you're a few minutes away from planting your feet on the Motherland, the bastards stop at Attenborough and Beeston. All you want from a service to London is to get into the fucking place as soon as possible, and back to a proper city even sooner.
There are only four things you need at a decent station; a pasty, a pub, a decent-sized paper shop , and somewhere to curl one off. The architects of the new St P, on the other hand, think that what we really need is a dead long champagne bar, and loads of poncy shops, which means that you have to walk half a mile outside to get to the tube station. The nearby WH Smiths is tiny, and there isn't a requisite West Cornwall Pasty stall, so you still end up at Kings Cross station. Rubbish.
Local business-dickheads are twittering that, thanks to the new St P, Nottingham will finally achieve its dream of being part of the commuter belt. No, mate. The only way that was going to happen would be if they somehow managed to move the station five miles into the centre of London. You're still going to have to spend an hour or so with your nose under Mr Commuter-Twat's minging armpit to get wherever you need to go. You're still at the mercy of someone in Stratford bringing the entire Tube network down because he left a box of chicken on the seat. Kings Cross is still going to be a shithole.
The bogs are nice, though. They're just miles away.