I don't tend to lose my cool often. I try to just let things pass. Why get het up? There's a few things in this world that do wind me up though. Shop-keepers who're too busy on their phones to give you the right change. Loquacious people who think everyone's interested in their opinion, and mothers who think it's perfectly acceptable to block passageways on public transport with empty pushchairs. I know you have the right to ride the bus, but the pram's empty so why not fold it down then people don't have to risk breaking their necks climbing over it do they?
These, and a few other things are small, and soon forgotten about once I've lit a cigarette and finished quietly swearing to myself. One of the big ones though, one of the few things that are likely to send me into a near-homicidal rage are crowds. I hate them.
Let me be clear, I don't mean at a concert, or a football match, that's a bit different, what I'm on about are things like events, the Giants visit last year for example. Crowds in that context give me the red mist and my jaw starts to clench involuntarily. I can't help it. Why? Because people are stupid!
Oh, and horrendously ill-mannered.
Over the Bank Holiday weekend I'd planned to go to Sunderland to a concert, but I've injured my back, so that was that out of the window. So not wanting to waste the Bank Holiday, I decided to go into Liverpool City Centre. This weekend commemorated the 175th anniversary of the Cunard shipping line (check out my Facebook stream - www.facebook.com/saysathousandwords for photos, or click the link above) and three of their largest cruise liners, the Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth, collectively known as the 'Three Queens', were meeting on the River Mersey. It doesn't happen often, might never happen again.
So, being the snap-happy shutter-bug I am, off I went with camera in hand, and my girlfriend beside me (to potentially carry me home - or to the hospital should that need arise) and we soon found the crowds. Didn't we just.
We started on the Sunday afternoon, and to be fair the crowds weren't too bad. Yes there were crowds all heading to see the QM2 berthed at the cruise terminal, but it was bearable. People milling about, taking photographs, the usual stuff, and I was there too, doing exactly the same. The weather was good, there was a fairground set up near the ship, happy days. So that was alright. No red mist.
Monday however, was a different tale entirely.
I'm not a rude person, most of the time. I'm genuinely not. I try to be polite and courteous, especially to the older generation or that poor woman with four kids, a pram, and a husband who isn't helping. I step out of the way, I let them pass, I stand up and give my seat where I can, it doesn't cost anything to be polite, smile, and we all get on. Not everyone thinks like this though.
We go to a vantage point near the Liverpool Museum on the Pier Head, and the crowd was huge, easily a few hundred thousand people, lots of children (fair enough) and people with cameras (like me).
One thing that struck me was a lot of the children didn't seem to want to be there. I think they'd have much rather have been home on their iPads or X-Boxes. But I understand that if you've got a couple of kids you're going to seize the chance for some free entertainment and get them some fresh air. At least if you care about your kids.
Another thing that didn't so much strike me as annoy me (and here comes the first rant) was the idiot, buffoon, FOOL of a man pushing his was to the front with his, frankly not very good, camera. I'm sorry, I'm not a gear snob, a lot of my stuff at the moment is second hand, but I wouldn't have even bothered bringing what he had. He wasn't even polite about it, just barged through and almost knocked one little girl right off her dads shoulders. At leat I'm assuming it was her dad. But this goes back to what I was saying about people being stupid and rude.
I had enough gear on me that I could get some shots without being a dick. Would I have liked to get closer? Of course! Would I have shoved my way through and potentially hurt someone? Absolutely not! If I'd have been that child's father I would not have been so restrained, so well done that man!
Now, I just want to pop things into perspective for anyone who hasn't seen these ships. A cruise ship is inherently large. The Queen Mary 2 is definitely on the bigger side, at 1,130 feet long, that's as long as 36 double decker buses, or nearly four football pitches. It's 200 feet above the waterline, equal to the height of a 23 storey building. What I'm trying to say is, no matter where you stand you're going to see this thing! You'd have to be an extra special, almost vintage brand of stupid to miss it! Even if you somehow did manage to miss this one, there were two more!!!
The other two ships were almost as big, almost as long, just as loud and right there on the river for you to look at! Why oh why was this idiot pushing to get through?
Ok, rant over. For now. But don't worry, I have more.
Once we'd seen the ships do their manoeuvres on the river (a 360 degree turn and then move into something called a three-a-breast formation) it was time for coffee. We just missed the Red Arrows, wasn't happy about that but I was craving caffeine and a seat. I've hurt my back remember? We began to pick our way through the crowds and move away from the river. Here comes the next rant, a bit quicker this time.
As we were picking our way through hordes of people, who can see us approaching, they continue to walk on their course, meaning that if I didn't change my course, they'd have walked straight into me. This, to me at least, is confusing. If I'm walking towards someone and I sense there's going to be a collision, I take a few easy steps to avoid it. I slow down or switch direction a little so I don't walk into them.
AM I THE ONLY PERSON WHO DOES THIS??? Apparently I am!
After a few minutes of this my jaw was going good style and I gave up being polite. If you ain't moving then neither am I! You want to play chicken? You're on! I'll win! I knocked into more than one person this way but I'd given up. I'd joined the rude race, the 'I'm the only person on this street so fuck you' crowd but I didn't care. Older people and youngsters were off limits, I moved. Everyone else? Fair game! Walk into me I DARE YOU! I managed to bounce a few people out of my way by just not caring. A few people saw me coming and moved. A lot didn't. Tough. I'd had enough by this point.
We found a coffee shop. Thank god! After a very swift (and by swift I do mean fast) table grab, the other couple just weren't as quick as my girlfriend, we were settled down to a coffee and something to eat.
After we left we went into Liverpool One for a quick look at camera bags (I'm looking for a new one) and on the way over Beth made mention of people bringing little dogs out into crowds. It wasn't the first time she'd mentioned this and if she mentions something more than once then it's a legitimate gripe, my smoking is a most definite legitimate gripe of hers.
I began to notice that ridiculous amounts of people had brought there little dogs. So here comes rant number three. Sorry.
I'm a dog-lover. I have a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel and I love him to bits. He's a cheeky little git with a fetish for socks and hair bobbles. I take him for long walks, nearly always share my meals with him, but never mushy peas. That's a mistake I won't ever repeat! I try not to be too soft with him but he's spoilt rotten.
He's not very big, so one thing I wouldn't ever do is take him into a crowd of people where he could so very easily be trodden on and hurt. That would of course cause me to smack the snot out of whoever wasn't looking where they were going and it's just stress nobody needs. Yet everywhere I looked I saw these little dogs. Some were getting a little excitable with the crowds and one in particular looked downright distraught.
Why bring them?
You can't leave kids, fair enough, but surely the dog doesn't need to attend the event. Seriously, unless it's Krufts the dog doesn't need to go! Leave it at home! If it got hurt you'd have a fit! I know I would, and once I'd physically assaulted whoever stood on my little mate I'd come to realise that it was actually my fault for taking him. Responsible dog ownership isn't hard.
After a crowded bus ride home we were out of the crowds and could breathe again, and this post makes me sound like a right nark, but seriously, I'm not that bad.
If people were a little more considerate, took a little more time to think of others and weren't so ignorant then being in a crowd wouldn't be so bad. People pushing and jostling to get five feet closer to something you can see from two miles away is massively infuriating, especially when I'm the one being pushed and jostled. It's not necessary.
This post makes the day sound horrendous. t really wasn't. Seeing the ships together like that was really impressive and I'm glad I went, but it was the attitudes of the people around me, the ignorance, the impatience and the general bad manners that took a little bit of the shine off it.
Sort your heads out people, and bloody well play nice!
Dave C. Bannerman