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The Usual

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 So it was modern life is rubbish again:
My brother booked our train tickets over the internet,
The server went down half way through,
He had to ‘phone up and do it all over again,
The server went down again, but Robert the Bruce,
Well done, bingo, confirmation of booking.
The next day, Millwall versus Swindon,
We printed the tickets at Stroud station –
But the machine decided to miss out a return ticket,
We only received 3 from the machine, not the paid for 4 –
Unhelpful conversations at the ticket office ensued,
Not our responsibility, etc., etc.,
Can’t do anything about it etc., etc.,
We’re Great Western and you didn’t book through us,
I’ve got other things to do etc., etc.,
A queue of sympathetic fans developed,
45 minutes of ‘phone calls followed,
There was a call-centre acceptance that, yes,
My brother had paid the requisite amount for 4 tickets,
But the computer says you can only have 3,
And despite the obvious demands of logic and natural justice,
Despite the consumer is sovereign mantra,
We’re here to please etc., etc.,
We had to stump up for another return ticket,
A journey of two halves – or, rather 5 quarters,
O tempora! O mores! (Again)
Oh brave new world that has such creatures in it,
Once upon a time,
“Oh, sorry mate. Here’s your other ticket.
Sorry about that. Bloody machines.”
Still, there was the tradition of men travelling by train
To a football game, drinking cans of beer for breakfast,
Blissfully unaware that only the Bakerloo was in action,
But we went down to the Thames, past all those faux pubs –
How can you trust a pub that says it’s a traditional English pub?
A bouncer recounting “He stabbed him literally in the chest,
Literally right in the chest, right in the chest, literally.”
Inside, a bar full of football fans, outside, a small boy,
Sauntering along the riverside in his Swindon shirt,
While we went down beyond Tower Bridge,
For a pie, pint and chat with my brother and nephew.
We discussed the demands of teaching, retirement,
The transmission of my sister’s first ever text,
The general election, the iniquities of capitalism,
Until we took a boat down the river –
Our intention to be in the vicinity of Millwall versus Swindon,
To be at the game without being there,
A sort of virtual football vibe, a kind of metempsychosis,
A sort of confusion of time, space and consciousness,
A sort of Situationist spectacle of paradox,
Using only a radio for information –
But the first text came through,
Just by the Globe at Southwark –
“Swopping shirts with Shakespeare”,
And then we rode a roller-coaster of scores
From Millwall, Leeds, Charlton and Huddersfield,
The only constant being flux and anxiety,
Until the next day, when the usual returned.
I decided to write a letter of complaint to the train company,
Sunday morning sense of fair play and all that,
Job done, I went to the post office,
Put £5 in the ticket machine,
Pressed the button for my change,
“Sorry, out of order. Please try later.”

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Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/the-usual/