Archive for Trains

Winter – A Time To Share Sickness.

Posted in Random Shit That Gives Me The Cunt with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 3, 2008 by Buck Frain

So this is winter. Winter started two days ago and already it feels like there has never been anything else. Miserable bastard cold that soaks into your bones but that you feel guilty whinging about unless you’ve never been to a country where they have a real winter. Melbourne winter sucks, but if you were English and looked at the technical specifications you’d think of it as a rather mild summer. Of course, if you were Canadian you’d just laugh in my face or beat me with an ice hockey stick for even suggesting that we have a winter.

Aside from the bed-inertia that comes over me in winter, I don’t mind it. Except for sickness. Naturally, I don’t like getting sick myself, but other people’s sickness is what is truly detestable, and the beginning of the season it seems everyone gets something. Public transport becomes a disease swap-meet – sniffles, sneezes and coughs all on offer, the freshest and latest bacterial and viral concoctions, some oldies and some newies so resistant to modern treatments you’ll get comments back from the pathology lab doing your blood tests, or maybe even a personal letter from Kofi Annan suggesting you let weapons inspectors into your lungs.

Seriously, what the biologically-terrorising fuck is wrong with people? On the train this morning most of the diseased commuters were politely mopping their sniffles with tissues or covering their mouths to cough, except the middle-aged gentleman opposite me. Sitting there reading a book, not attempting to cover the occasional coughs that burst from him. The first cough surprised me and I realised I was in some danger of infection, but it was just one cough and, hell, maybe it crept up on him, maybe he was just too embarrassed to apologise for it. No. A few minutes later a little double cough, again no reaction. The fucker was doing it deliberately. He just didn’t give a fuck about anyone else. He could turn the pages of his book OK, so his fucking arms worked fine, maybe he was just so pissed of about being ill that he thought he’d take it out on the rest of the train. Maybe his head was so far up his own arse that the idea of other people hadn’t occurred to him at all. It was at this point I realised my circulation was fine, all of a sudden I was warm, even starting to sweat a little.

The third cough came. Again, this selfish fucker did nothing to cover his filthy diseased mouth. Excuse me, I said, would you cover your mouth when you cough please? He stared blankly at me. Did he not understand? You were coughing. Could you cover your mouth when you cough?, I restated. I was pretty happy with my composure, I was Mr Calmly-Assertive and I felt the few commuters aware of our interaction were probably understanding where I was coming from. Still, he met me with a blank stare and then went back to reading.

OK, don’t lose your mind. Maybe he’s got the message. Maybe he feels humiliated to be coached on cold etiquette on public transport and at his age. Let it go.

Again! He fucking coughed again! Didn’t cover it – cunt! HEY!!!, Now I had his attention, and pretty much everyone in the carriage had turned to see what was going on, but there was no way of bringing my tone down to a more intimate level. If you’ve got to cough, cover your fuckin’ mouth! Do you understand me? I’ve asked you nicely, now stop coughing in my fucking face. He was just staring at me. He went to return to his book again. HEY! I’m fucking talking to you! You’re sick. I don’t want your cold, so cover your mouth. Do you fucking understand? DON’T COUGH IN MY FACE! He was well aware that he was in trouble, he knew the game was up, but a nervous cough escaped him and he didn’t raise a hand. That was when I lost my mind. I leapt forward and placing one hand behind him onto the back of his head, I clamped my other hand over his mouth and screamed into his eyes: COVER YOUR FUCKING MOUTH, YOU DISEASED CUNT! PEOPLE HAVE TO LIVE AND WORK, THEY DON’T WANT YOUR FUCKING SICKNESS. COVER YOUR SHITTY MOUTH WHEN YOU COUGH OR STAY THE FUCK HOME! I SEE YOU NOT COVER YOUR MOUTH AGAIN, I’LL FUCKING KILL YOU!!!

I had been shaking his head on every syllable. In his eyes was sheer mortal terror. I let him go. Everyone was looking at the madman. That was me. Ooh. I had just threatened a man’s life. On a packed train. Step away from the scared man. Nothing to see here. The train pulled into a station, not mine, I got off anyway. I waited for the next train.

I feel extremely stupid and ashamed, and I’m jumping at every little sound because I’m expecting it to be the police come to cart me away. I’m not a violent person, I’m not a crazed, militant, vigilante type, and I didn’t hurt the man. Despite what you may think from what you read here, I don’t put my hands on people, I’m all talk. I just hate bad manners and I really hope if I ever see the coughing man again that he just doesn’t cough in my face. I don’t think I’d go well in prison.

Connex – Making Money From Alienation And Violence

Posted in Rage Against The Machine with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 23, 2008 by Buck Frain

What the cunting Jesus do Connex think they’re playing at? According to this article in The Age last weekend, a group of their Authorised Officers (AO’s) have hospitalised a man who had a valid ticket and concession card because he refused to give them more personal information than he was legally required to. They dragged him out of the train on to a deserted platform and proceeded to beat the shit out of him. When challenged by a concerned resident who heard the victim’s cries, they claimed to be the police and told her to go away.

Stories like this are far too familiar although few of them reach the media. I have a friend who was on a train late at night when four or five burly AO’s confronted a lone teenager and stood over him prodding and threatening when he couldn’t find his concession card. When my friend, the only other person in the carriage, concerned that the young man was being unduly intimidated asked him if he was OK, the officers turned on the defender. They told my friend he was interfering with their work and that they were going to fine him for impeding official business. He tried to explain that he was concerned for a young man who appeared scared. They dragged my friend off the train (yes, he did have a valid ticket and, no, he had not done or said anything inappropriate) at the next station, once again a deserted platform, where one officer punched him in the face and another kneed him in the chest, knocking him to the ground before threatening to do further harm if he got up. My friend stayed down, went home and made no official mention of the incident.

Many incidents don’t get reported because with AO’s working in gangs of 4 or more, they have the strength of numbers. 6 people with uniforms telling the same story against one person with no witnesses. What’s the point in contesting it? The propaganda is pasted all over the trains about what they’re allowed to do and when they choose to extend the boundaries of their powers, what can an ordinary member of the public do?

It would seem these Gestapo-like goons are just part of the great new public transport plan. There’s Metlink’s ongoing publicity against the Fare Evader. What the fuck? Every customer on trains is exposed to this insulting campaign that assumes a level of criminality in everyone. I used to buy tickets all the time but I don’t now because I’m sick to death of being patronised and insulted. Fuck that! Treat me like a criminal and I’ll fucking act like one.

A former Connex employee tells me that even if everyone paid for tickets all the time Connex would still lose money. They pump up the figures of loss due to fare evasion to illicit public sympathy and to justify a policy of mob-like standover tactics. Their real revenue, what gets them over the line is fines! Yes, they rely on people NOT buying tickets because the fines are worth more than ticket sales! Think about it: one fine equals over forty passengers on two-hour full-fare tickets – pretty good way to beef up the day’s takings. They deliberately put a publicity campaign in place that disenfranchises their customers and then further fuck us off by openly treating us like prison-fodder with their thugs threatening, harassing and assaulting anyone who even vaguely steps out of line or questions their actions. Connex don’t provide the service that we’re paying for, trains routinely being either late or early and their frequently cancelling services without notice. They’re unaccountable, untouchable and openly hostile. The natural human reaction is to protest in the easiest way available – not buying a ticket. I mean why not? Fuck them, the multi-national bastards. Connex doesn’t give a fuck about the people of Victoria.

It’s nothing short of robbery. Isn’t Public Transport social infrastructure? Until the government sold it, we paid for it not only with tickets but with taxes, we owned it. It never had to be profitable because it was something we deemed a benefit to society and we wore the cost. The whole PT culture has changed, every tram used to have a conductor. He’d sell you a ticket, tell you where you needed to change or get off, he’d ask undesirables to leave. Everyone bought tickets and without contest because he provided a service as well as being a point of sale. It was civilised and human. It was socially inclusive.

These AO’s are the outward expression of a PT system that is cynical, punitive and criminally violent. They’re complete arseholes. Not smart enough to be cops, not tough enough to be bouncers, they’re like parking inspectors with a license-to-detain. They flock onto already-over-crowded carriages and fuck with people who are already shat that they’re an hour late, and then have to put up with some stink-mouthed fuckhole barking at them to see a ticket they should never have paid for. I can’t wait for the inevitable day when AO’s unwittingly pick on someone with some self-defence knowledge and get the absolute cunt kicked out of them.

One person confronted by six can get away with using quite a lot of force in self-defence, and since we know AO’s routinely abuse their power it is quite reasonable to think that you may be in serious physical danger if surrounded by AO’s, especially if you’re in a deserted environment. So, theoretically, it may be possible to get away with killing one of the bastards even if you got caught. This little piece from the College Of Law at ANU’s website offers a small ray of hope:

Burden of Proof in Action: a case of self defence.

Lets examine how the evidential burden operates through the example of a killing which the defendant claims was done in self-defence. The legal burden rest with the prosecution to prove all the elements of the offence of murder: the killing was intentional, defendant’s act caused the death etc. To allow the jury to consider self-defence, the defendant must adduce some evidence to support that argument: some evidence that the killing was a reasonable response to the act of the victim. The defendant does not have to prove that it was self defence. If there is sufficient evidence for the issue to be considered, the prosecution bears the legal burden to prove that the killing was not in self-defence.

Well, it’s food for thought. I’m not suggesting that anyone should go around hurting other people, please remember that violence is not a solution unless you’re getting paid for it. However, if you know anyone who has bashed a Connex officer, let me know, I need a good laugh. I’m don’t think I’m gonna bash anyone. I wish I could sometimes, but sadly I never learnt the skills – the kicks-to-the-knee, the pressure points. Damn…all that wasted youth. I’m just gonna fire up the PS3, shoot some virtual cunts and dream of freedom. Die you grey-coated fucks!