With Christmas approaching, I decided to cast my mind back over the last twelve months, or however much of it I can be bothered to remember, and determine who has made their way to the top of my naughty and nice lists. Entries were ranked by how much they cheesed me off personally, and how much external damage I considered that they inflicted. So (drum roll please) the winners are:


Seriously? Is anyone interested in this? Didn’t think so.


5) Oxford Street. For consistently breaking EU regulations on air quality, while containing so many shops you’ll eventually have to go there. Also because it used to contain the wonderful flagship HMV and Zavvi stores. Speak through me, oh muse, of films arrayed as far as the eye could see, the rosy-fingered checkout girl who bagged your boxsets and the strong-armed shelf stacker who knew where the obscure Japanese film you wanted was without having to look it up. We will not see their like again.

4) The so-called hoverboards, those little two wheeled monstrosities that are nothing but a Segway given a bit of a makeover. Beloved of hipsters, teenagers, and teenage hipsters, they have infected our pavements and parks despite the fact that their use is illegal (I assume on the grounds of tastelessness). Their pathetic ground-locked trundling dishonours the memory of Marty McFly.

3) Oxford Train Station. Minging 1970s architecture, stuffed with rude tourists who hog seats and won’t let you sit down despite the fact that they are surrounded by empty chairs. Apparently those are needed for their friends. Because this is Oxford, you have to wait in this soul-sucking hellhole for twenty minutes for the next train out of Dodge. The friends never appear. (Bitter? Me? I’m as sweet as quinine.)

Special mention to my lower back for an impressive level of pain, in the absence of which the lack of a seat wouldn’t have bothered me.

2) George Osbourne. Putting the same money as being spent on two different things doesn’t magically double the amount of money. I see what you did there.

1) The UK train system. Awarded jointly to Southern, for utilising the lottery method of determining when trains will run (it’s possible but the odds are never in your favour), GWR, for running three carriage services when six are clearly needed, Scotrail for making GWR look good, and Network Rail for always being there to overrrun the maintenance works when things could possibly run on time.

I would suggest putting coal in their stockings, but that would just make the air pollution worse. So here’s an alternative suggestion: capture all the hot air in the station announcements, and use it to power proper Back-To-The-Future style hoverboards. Now that would be a merry Christmas!

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