Take the National Express when your life’s in a mess as Neil Hannon opined… ’appen he was en route to London a national monument.
Now there are many ways to get to London from around Britain.
And I have taken them all… planes, trains, automobiles.
But the most persuasive is by coach which is only around £28.80 on National Express for a 10hr 50mins trip.
Other coach companies pound the roads but ’appened Neil hadn’t opted for Stagecoach and FlixBus didn’t run back in 1999.
The train drain
And you can cut out accommodation costs by kipping on the coach.
Those prices will, of course, as in the words of Neil, make you smile.
While the rest who have been deluded by the machinery of state into believing that ‘the train takes the strain’.
Yes, sure, if you want to lighten the load in your wallet.
One rider, of course, is the network for trains that go underground, the Tube, which works like clockwork.
And where you can swipe your bank card and so avoid queuing at ticket offices.
While their joined-up Oyster card, like the Leap card in Dublin and across a raft of cities makes a mockery of my own city, Edinburgh’s crumbing transport links.
It’s not the only area Scotland’s capital needs a good clean-up and a new facelift.
On a podium
Take our statues, those we put on a podium to look down on us.
Something of a hobbyhorse of your chronicler statues, as much as I’d love to see the royals and empire builders brought down to earth I’m realistic.
And know that just like the USA where a raft of Southern states surround themselves with Confederate heroes it’ll take time to change attitudes.
And while we do we should be redressing the balance by putting up more statues of our women, animals, cultural, sports, entertainment and international icons.
And maybe even objects of national endearment like the National Express coach.
Because be sure if it had been around in Dick Whittington’s Day he’d have hopped on it.
Out of Africa
It was rewarding too to see a celebration of post-colonial empowerment.
London In the statue of Malawian John Chilembwe which occupies the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square.
Where he towers over the colonial ruler and where he is now the only African and person of colour thus celebrated.
The fourth plinth should be something we all hold onto.
It is an idiosyncrasy in the square dominated by Admiral Horatio Nelson, victor of the Napoleonic naval battle, that there is another plinth up for grabs.
Three corners are occupied by the ruling elite, King George IV, Henry Havelock and Charles James Napier.
Havewho, Napiehow? Yes, quite. Havelock and Napier were bigwigs during the Indian Raj.
The fourth plinth
The reason why we should embrace the fourth plinth, originally meant for King William IV, 180 years ago, is that it is now a rolling statue.
No, not like Edward Colston who was rolled into the river in Bristol.
But every couple of years an artist’s new statue goes up.
Mark Wallinger’s Ecco Homo of Christ in 1999 making way to a number of others including an Anthony Gormley erection (stop it)!
To just now and Samson Gambalu’s Antelope which will come down in a year.
To accommodate Teresa Margolles’ 850 Improntas, casts of the faces of 850 trans people from London and the world.
The fourth plinth truly does sound like the solution, the future… London a national monument.
And something I’ll be recommending to Edinburgh council.
To pull down the spaceship of Walter Scott and replace it with the city’s most famous citizen, Sean Connery.