If you’ve been to any major city in the last five years you’ll only be too aware of a new blight taking over our streets and plazas. “Ah-ha!” You might say. “You’re talking about those street dance troupes.” And you’d be right. If you like being guilt-tripped into paying for the pleasure of clapping in a semi-circle outside the National Theatre while some Brit School inmates take turns with a new interpretation of ‘Smooth Criminal’, then they’re great. If you don’t, they’re shite.
But I’m a talking about a different blight. (A blight worse than dance troupes, believe.) And that is of the segway. I’ve had the fortune of being on the road a fair bit over the last year, and without fail once you get in spitting distance of any main cathedral or square in the Western world you can guarantee you’ve got 15 seconds before a pack of straight backed, smug faced Dutch virgins and their parents glide past soundlessly past, looking for all the world like they reckon they’re nailed on for a part in the next Star Wars.
Mate, you look like you’ve got a couple of buttplugs in, and that you’ve stood up to get the full effect. Worse, so does your mum.
It’s not that I have a problem with these sort of things, per se. For instance, most big cities now have a Boris-esque bike hire system, and they are great. Yes, you have to deal with tourists trundling around with bikes that weigh more than (insert overwieight reality TV contestant of choice here); but at least they’re making a fucking effort and doing their bit at keeping the numbers down in the cardiac ward.
But segway users invariably hire in packs, and delight in taking some sort of high ground, as they’ve got the fucking right of way when you’re the one actually behaving like a human being.
There’s an even more foul extension of this now: that of the segway guided tour. It’s sunny day, I’m on holiday. Why would I want to spend part of that holiday not utilising legs that I literally spend almost my WHOLE LIFE with under a desk or being horizontal on a bed, whilst some local drama student harps on. This all the while adopting the classic segway way gait: the gait that says “touch me, and I’ll get my butler to shoot you. He’s a negro, you know. They’re good with guns.”
And that’s before we get to the helmets.
HELMETS. Helmets to hover above the ground in predominately pedestrianised areas at a speed of absolutely fucking nothing an hour. I don’t care if it’s a health and safety issue; if you can’t stay up on a segway you shouldn’t be on one at all. In fact you shouldn’t, and neither should the rest of your hostel pals that have decided to blow a week’s beer money on a half a day’s rental of a device that will literally make every other person in this city hate you as you weave around them thinking you’re fucking Darcey Bussell when really you’re just a twat on a motorised unicycle (but not, cos that would actually be cool.)