The Plastic Hippo

September 26, 2011

And the winner is…

Filed under: Fiction,Transport,Walsall,Wolverhampton — theplastichippo @ 3:54 pm

Gold Trophy“The award for best supporting role in a horror journey undertaken by public transport goes to…the plastic hippo.”

Cue applause, standing ovation, follow spots, glitter cannons and Tina Turner singing Simply the Best.
“Wow! Oh My God! I cannot believe it, thank you, thank you. This is the happiest moment of my life. There are so many people I would to thank, all the little people that helped to make this possible. I would like to thank God, my parents and Centro, without them I would not be standing here tonight.

It would be impossible to thank everyone, but there are are those that deserve a special mention. To the driver of the 529 bus from Walsall to Wolverhampton who couldn’t add up the correct fare for me and my travelling companions, thank you. For slamming on the brakes for no apparent reason as we left the bus station, thank you. The bruise on the small boy’s head is now receding. To the two teenage girl passengers loudly arguing over the affections of some slack-jawed youth, thank you. The swearing was magnificent. To the young man smoking dope at the back of the bus, thank you. Respect again for the driver. For waiting for two minutes at every bus stop and driving like a maniac between stops, thank you. For parking outside Wolverhampton bus station and refusing to let us off even though we told you that we had a train to catch, thank you. For entering the bus station at two miles an hour when the speed limit is ten, thank you. For explaining the regulations to us before finally opening the door of the bus, thank you.

To the smokers congregated outside Wolverhampton railway station who, seeing us running down the ramp to catch the train, refused to get out of the way, thank you. To the passengers on the platform waiting for a later train, blocking access with your heavy luggage to the train about to depart is nothing short of genius. To the fellow travellers occupying our reserved seats, booked weeks in advance, “f**k off, sit somewhere else” is not the correct response. To the young man playing car alarm hip hop on his phone, thank you for the audio toothache. To the fat man in a vest who sprayed me with Special Brew as he opened one of his cans at ten in the morning, thank you. To the beautifully dressed middle-aged lady who decided to leave her suitcase on the table rather than in the luggage rack and so left us unable to play travel chess, travel backgammon and travel connect four, thank you. To the train guard who failed to grasp the meaning of a family rail card, thank you. To the operative dragging the refreshment trolley, £1-80 for a cup of tea and £1 for a packet of crisps, no thank you very much.

The return journey featured a broken toilet full of vomit, four old people eating fish and chips and about eight young people throwing bits of pizza at each other. Thank you, one and all. Back at Wolverhampton bus station, special thanks must go to a different driver of the 529 bus who, seeing us rush to the stand with our luggage, closed the door as the small, bruised boy attempted to board. To the driver, for his cheery smile as he drove away, thank you. Thanks as well to whoever decided that it should cost 20p for a small boy to go to the toilet. No wonder your lovely new bus station stinks of wee.

Okay, I know, I know I’m running far too long, but there are some more people that need thanking. To the architects of the Walsall and Wolverhampton bus stations, thank you. Keep trying to walk upright, you may achieve something. To the decision makers that approved the designs, thank you. You can find the number for the Samaritans in the phone book. To whoever decided to cut the direct rail link between Walsall and Wolverhampton, I wish you a slow and lingering death and whoever decided to privatise public transport, well, you are the true stars tonight. My achievement is absolutely nothing compared to your hard work, talent and ability in turning something that was reasonably adequate into something that is dreadful. Thank you. And finally, to my fellow nominees. I am not worthy to be up here tonight. This award is dedicated to those who have to use public transport to get to work, to hospitals, to schools and then get back again. Thank you.

I’ll see you at the after show party. Good night Burbank and thank you.”

Cue applause, laser beams, a hug from Martin Scorsese and a kiss from Rene Zellweger.


  1. Makes you wonder why we live around here…..

    Comment by Kipping — September 26, 2011 @ 7:02 pm | Reply

  2. Brilliant blog posting, it just about says it all about the wonders of public transport.

    Comment by Derek Bennett — September 26, 2011 @ 10:33 pm | Reply

  3. Surely that wasn’t a National Express 529?
    But it says on their website
    “Nobody will try harder for our customers than we do” (
    and they must be good because …Operating profit +23% to £117.6m; Profit before tax up 26% to £95.5m.

    Are you suggesting in your usual, bitingly satirical yet whimsical manner that a huge plc profited from the privataisation of public transport to the detriment of its users, but to the benefit of its shareholders?

    Who’d have thought such a thing?

    Comment by Martin — September 27, 2011 @ 2:21 pm | Reply

  4. Travelling back from London to Wolves First Class – four people in the carriage – wine and food included for 90 quid

    Comment by Kipping — September 27, 2011 @ 7:40 pm | Reply

  5. And you thought the 529 was bad enough when Walsall garage had it! Wolverhampton seem to be doing little better since taking over in July.

    Comment by Tony Martin — September 29, 2011 @ 8:56 pm | Reply

  6. Hahaha, nice read. Good to find someone as angry as me!!

    Comment by Sqwares — January 23, 2012 @ 12:41 pm | Reply

    • Oim surten that yow will foind that moi anger is a grate deal bigga than yowrs! (Thanks to the Fast Show). And moi rooof as more tioles than yows

      The Realist

      Comment by The Realist — March 27, 2012 @ 12:05 pm | Reply

      • Hehe…nice Yamyam accent in your reply there!!
        Consider yourself followed fellow ranter.
        However – I dow bileev yow ov a bigga anga than may – I’m just getting started!!

        Comment by Sqwares — March 27, 2012 @ 12:10 pm

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