Back when Room 101 was on television, like everyone else I started thinking what I would choose to put into my ‘Room 101’ given the chance. I may blog about some of them. There’s Westbury station, that’s a definite. The flatulent wheezing sound made by people squeezing near-empty salad cream bottles, I can’t stand that. And revolving doors. And Argos stores – if I’m not mistaken, there’s a passage in Dante’s Inferno when the narrator reaches the ninth level of hell, and discovers ‘they’ve got an Argos’.
But first on the list would have to be pubs in stations. Can’t stand them. As a general rule of them, the closer a pub is to a station, the less good it is. I don’t quite know why, but for some reason, they get rougher, unfriendlier, they have less charm and become more squalid. But if you think that pubs near stations are bad, they are paradisiacal compared to pubs actually inside stations.
They are places that no-one, no-one, would ever want to come for a drink. The only people who drink there are people who are waiting for a train and want to be pissed by the time they get on it. They are desolate, miserable, post-apocalyptic, sterile, clammy, tacky hell-holes. They are not true pubs. They are pits of existential despair that are merely feigning to be pubs. They are also over-priced and usually offer a very poor selection of draught bitters.
The worst station pub in the world is the one above the WH Smith’s in a two-story greenhouse in Victoria station. Last time I was there, a man stood in the middle of the floor and, quite brazenly, pissed himself. The staff kept serving and didn’t even bother to mop it up.
Because he was the landlord, aaah.