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Blog: Weekend Of ROCK: epilogue

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After all the excitement of the Weekend Of ROCK I was looking forward to a nice calm trip back down to London on Sunday. I met with Mr T McClure at Glasgow Central Station to board a train which would take him to Derby (then Leicester) and me to Edinburgh (then London). As we stood waiting for the doors to open I noticed that the train was a CrossCountry Service, which I'd not used on the way up, so thought I'd best check to make sure I'd be OK to use this for my first connection. For my Northward journey I'd checked the webpage, the online help, barrier staff at Kings Cross and had passed through THREE ticket inspections so assumed it would be FINE going South, but it's better to be safe than sorry right?

The first chap I spoke to, at the ticket barrier, had no idea and directed me towards the Virgin Information Staff, who insisted there was no possible way I could do anything but travel via the West Coast Route. "It said on the website I could", I said. "No it doesn't," she replied. "It was fine on the way up," i PARRIED. She looked at me CLEARLY thinking I was lying. "It couldn't possibly be". I explained the 3 ways I'd checked and the 3 people who'd seemed to think it was OK and she said they must ALL be mistakes. She went off and asked somebody who agreed with her and then pointed me towards the CrossCountry guard who got VERY angry at even the IDEA of me travelling on his train. "I'll definitely charge you!" he said.

Annoyed I thought "Sod this then, I'll go over to Glasgow Queens Street, where I'd arrived on Friday, and see what they say there". I said farewell to Tom and stomped off to the aforesaid station where I was WAVED THROUGH the barriers as if they see it every day and then passed a ticket inspection with flying colours. I texted Tom to tell him this and he replied with the news that the Angry Guard on CrossCountry had SPECIFICALLY told everyone on his train that they COULD NOT use a Virgin Ticket, or they would be FINED!

I got off at Edinburgh to find the train to London on the next platform, so hopped aboard. I thought I might as well QUADRUPLE check that this really WOULD be OK, but the staff member I spoke to thought that I COULDN'T use the train unless there were more problems on the West Coast line. PANIC. Is THAT why it had been OK on Friday? She said I could speak to the guard and so there followed 15 minutes of FEAR and DREAD while I waited for him to arrive. Would I have to go all the way back to Glasgow? Would I have to pay for a whole new ticket? Would I ever get home?!?

PANIC levels rose as we got to within 3 minutes of the train departing, at which point the train guard arrived and said, smiling, "That's fine". "Even with an advance ticket?" I asked. "Oh yes, no bother, on you get," he replied. PHEW and MEGA RELIEF! Later on this same fellow would turn out (via a conversation with someone sitting near me) to be a massive fan of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, and later STILL another staff member would heartily recommend watching ALL of "Extant", which I'd just started watching on my laptop, and it made me realise what was going on here. The West Coast Virgin Trains route IS a Virgin Trains route, with horrible crappy Virgin Trains and staff trained to be Not Very Nice. The EAST Coast "Virgin" Trains route however is still the East Coast Mainline, formerly semi-nationalised and lovely, still staffed by the MARVELLOUS people who have always worked there. This explains EVERYTHING!

It was a slightly FRAUGHT way to end my weekend of ROCK, but it did at least allow me to win one last victory over THE MAN - take THAT, Richard so-called Branson!

posted 17/2/2016 by MJ Hibbett

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Comments:

And just to fit the pattern, the cross country route used to be part of Virgin Trains but isn't any more. Your CrossCountry guard presumably had the Virgin training.
posted 17/2/2016 by Rob Brewer

This explains EVERYTHING - thanks!
posted 17/2/2016 by MJ Hibbett

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