Raymond Kirkpatrick’s New Rules For London



In travels across London, one can’t help but notice how some things could be improved. Of course I’m far too polite to suggest changes so I invited one of Arthur Bryant’s contacts, the heavy metal-loving bear-like Professor of English, Raymond Kirkpatrick,  to be our guest speaker. Here are his top five bugbears;


1. Remember we aren’t children!

We don’t need to be told that escalators stop moving at the end or that doors open outwards. It’s a bloody door, of course it opens. We don’t need continuous bloody announcements that trains may be stopping or starting every ten seconds. Most useless warning of the week, and I swear to God this is a real sign in St Pancras station; ‘Be careful with scarves and hats, it may be windy outside!’ What are we, five year-olds? After a commuter bent down to pick up his case and got hit in the head (and killed, there’s a surprise) by a tube train recently I’m amazed they haven’t started warning us not to bend over. Sorry, mate, Darwin took care of you.

2. If it’s old, take it off!

Although I prefer listening to Black Sabbath I used to like the odd Shakespeare play of an evening. Now our theatres are clogged with crappy old musicals that have been on for decades. Don’t tell me ‘Cats’ and ‘Les Miz’ are financing the fringe because they’re bloody not. ‘Book of Mormon’? You had your moment, now f**k off. ‘Mathilda’ is still on; she must be at university by now. Don’t get me started on ‘The Mousetrap’. The detective did it, okay? Now you can see something decent instead. If you couldn’t get your arse down to the theatre within the first sixty years of its run you’re never gonna see it. And if you’re willing to pay £240 a ticket to see ‘Elf’, you deserve to be hit by a train. Twice.


3. Take out 99% of all street furniture!

Know why everyone likes the idea of Victorian London streets? They weren’t f**ked up, that’s why! Across this city we now have sticks, poles, posts, signboards, arrows, warnings, directions and a million other items of metal street furniture rendered obsolete and pointless by GPS. On one corner alone near the British Museum, where I’m working, I counted ten such redundant bits of useless crap. On my street there’s a ten foot bloody sign directing traffic to bloody Barnsbury, a tiny neighbourhood you can’t even sodding well drive into. Every street is lined with railings which are just ugly kettling devices. Are you listening, Mr Mayor? Tear ’em down!

4. Pull the chains!

Okay, you open a nice little cafe and it does all right. You don’t need to open 350 more identical branches. I’d allow you three more, maximum. It stands to reason that what made you great won’t still be there when you’re too busy to cook at them all. Blimey, I can’t tell a compote from a compost but even I can figure that one out! Mind you, thank God Poland lent us their beautiful, efficient waitresses to staff ’em.

5. Get rid of crap attractions!

In the list of annoying things the French have done to us, number one must be a twenty three nicker visit to Madame Tussauds. London is packed with really shit attractions, like ‘Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!’ and ‘M&M World’, a place to take your child only if you hate it enough to want its teeth to fall out. I’m prepared to donate some of my valuable time to be the SAC (Shit Attraction Czar). M&M world isn’t an ‘attraction’, it’s a revolting shop foisted on us by the Yanks. Let’s get kids back into art galleries!

11 comments on “Raymond Kirkpatrick’s New Rules For London”

  1. Ness says:

    PC and spoiler alert switched to off. More please.

  2. Vincent C says:

    Please book Professor Kirkpatrick for regular appearances here – no slight to our regular host intended.

  3. Jo W says:

    Vincent C—– Hear,hear! (No offence Chris) 😉

  4. keith page says:

    Uncanny! This could be me speaking [apart from working at the British Museum]

  5. Roger says:

    Part of the “We’re all big children” theme: anhropomorphism[?] of things. Oven doors with “I’m hot.” on them, for instance.
    “You really are stupid” On the Jubilee Line platform at Baker Street the p.a. says “This is a Jubilee Line train. The next station is Oxford Street.” Of course the next station is Oxford Street. The bloody trains can’t go anywhere else! It shows it on the bloody map!

  6. chris hughes says:

    Oh, very well said! My particular bugbear is the saccharine voice that tells me when I get to St Pancras that we ‘have come to the end of your journey’. I’m never sure when the doors open whether I will be stepping on to the boats along with Frodo and the elves – or it’s the payoff at the end of Tales From The Crypt! Either way, I want to shout at someone……

  7. Vivienne says:

    Why do they tell you to “take all you belongings with you” when you get to the end of the liine? Are people who travel that far so stupid? Just as easy to forget an umbrella at Bank I should think.

  8. Allen says:

    Roger, chris, and Vivienne: That’s all well and good for you, but you have full sight and have been taking the tube all your life. Besides, I doubt you’re familiar with all 270 stations, so I can guarantee you’ll find some use for the PA guide at some point in time. I find the PA guide extremely helpful on the rare times I need to use the New York subway system.

  9. Edgar Torné says:

    I suppose some of the announcements (such as “next stop…”) are really helpful for blind people.

  10. admin says:

    I don’t think anyone would want an end to all announcements, it’s the sheer volume of them, and many are arbitrarily made by platform guards. There’s a particularly voluble woman at Euston who is clearly a frustrated actor and talks non-stop, dispensing what should be obvious common-sense mentality (ie Take Your Bags With You).

  11. Alan Morgan says:

    Or get Matt Berry to do all the announcements.

    ‘Yes, I can hear you Clem Fandango.’

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