I have no intention of blogging a series of retrospective posts as the year draws to a close. Nor will I be adding a modish “y” to the word like. “Likey”! Why the hell do people do that? However the Guardian’s “most irritating person of the year” survey made me consider on whom exactly I have focussed the majority of my not inconsiderable ire during the last 12 months.
I must admit that my opprobrium is an ocean in a state of constant flux, perpetually rising. Daily it expands to claim great fresh tracts of human behaviour. During a large part of this year I have been without a car and therefore my road rage has been substituted for pedestrian rage. Previously I may have been most exercised by the driving manners of those in vans, most often those in white vans, most often those in white Ford Transit vans. Or it may have been the drivers of four by fours who attracted the majority of my bile. Why do these people need their vast suburban tankers to transport children to school? They block every carriageway with their vehicular impressions of God – so wide you can’t see around me, so high you can’t see over me.
I am currently rediscovering these frustrations, almost with grim satisfaction and a sense of reunion with long absent friends. But for most of the year I have allowed the detestation of those who ride bicycles on the footpath to shelter in the rage warm caverns they vacated. I am of course aware that there is insufficient provision of cycle lanes, in Belfast in particular, but that does not comprise an adequate excuse for the hordes of idiots zipping through pedestrians with wild abandon. A bike is a vehicle. Vehicles are supposed to be on the road.
Deviating from the concept of irritating people slightly, I wish to remain on the subject of transportation, but nominate a company. Translink’s provision of public transport in Northern Ireland is expensive, unpunctual, rude, uncleanly and unreliable. A couple of years of years ago they took receipt of a fleet of brand new trains from Spain. Already their carriages are filthy and they smell disgusting. Incredibly the vents from the toilets are directed back into the train carriages! Only Translink would commission trains with such a design flaw. Then we have the announcements on platforms, announcing the train as running late …. by however many minutes have already elapsed at the time. ‘The 7.30 to Bangor will be 4 minutes late, 5 minutes late (1 minute later), 6 minutes late’! Translink’s buses are designed to accommodate only the legs of infants, amputees and dwarves. Their drivers are the most incourteous, miserable cast of characters I have had the misfortune to witness. If you hand them £1.50 to pay a £1.30 fare they accept it like you’ve scooped up dog excrement and presented them with a bag of it.
Speaking of dog stool, those who allow dogs to shit on the pavement and then fail to remove their leavings should, by the rules of natural justice, be submerged in a vat of the stuff until they come within an instant of drowning. My girlfriend is admittedly more active on this issue than I am. She has had the dog warden around pledging to act. I contribute only vituperative tirades, but I am equally incensed. The pavements of Belfast are consistently smeared with a coating of diarrhoeic canine crap.
Moving on to specific individuals, few people in the sport of football can be as downright infuriating as Linfield manager David Jeffrey. The man relishes publicity and controversy and the most irritating thing is that the local press are imbecilic enough to lap up his limelight seeking bullshit. He decided to escalate an ongoing row with Ballymena fans by knowingly telling blatant lies about us in newspapers. Despite being cautioned by his club and by the Irish Football Association he still refuses to apologise or retract his remarks. This obese liar clearly sees himself as a manager in the mould of Ferguson or Mourinho and he won’t allow his lesser status to dissuade him from making all kinds of ridiculous statements. I don’t know who irritates me most – Jeffrey and his lies or Northern Ireland sports journalists who allocate space in their newspapers to covering them.
Indeed local journalism is a rich source of fury for me. I have lambasted the Belfast Telegraph on several occasions, but I have yet to mention the journalist whose column is least deserving of space in the newspaper. Billy Weir is a grim little man, whose observations are as amusing as digesting and passing a quantity of razor wire. It baffles me why he would be given the opportunity to share these observations with the general public. It confounds me that some people enjoy them. It stupefies me that he was given an award for his journalism. This obnoxious shortarse with his bunched fist face epitomises everything that is bad and mediocre about the Telegraph and its stable mates.
I would like to end on a specifically personal note and nominate my flatmate’s sister who has been foisted on us for the past several weeks. Her braying Tyrone accent, her ill-mannered observations, her cloying inanity all contribute to her status as by far and away the most irritating person in my life at the present moment.