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Jun 03 2014

The usual London traffic problems

Happens all the time when you’re hauling your giant octopus around, and the truck breaks down.

OctopusOxfordCircus_large

34 comments

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  1. 1
    Louis

    Tip for people visiting London: Drivers of Black Cabs will use this, and something called “The Knowledge”, to charge you double, spout increasingly incoherent racist rants, and take you to your destination via Edinburgh.*

    Louis

    *Actually, this is untrue and vastly unfair. In my experience the Black Cab drivers have almost exclusively been friendly, helpful, efficient, minimally racist and averse to driving to Edinburgh. However, south of the river? At this time of night? You have to be joking, guv’ner.

  2. 2
    postmodernslavepoet

    Perhaps the driver of the lorry is saying “Here’s that sick squid I owe you.”

  3. 3
    richardelguru

    postmodernslavepoet

    The pun police now have you at number six on their least wanted list.

  4. 4
    richardelguru

    Louis,
    I haven’t lived in London for many a decade, but it used to be said that acquiring ‘The Knowledge’ (which was done on little motorbikes or scooters) was as hard as getting a PhD!

  5. 5
    Louis

    “The Knowledge” is pretty hard from all accounts. I don’t know if it’s comparably hard/involves the same sort of skills as a PhD, but I don’t see why not. Especially in terms of, say, volume of knowledge. It’s a serious intellectual undertaking, not to be underestimated, and involves a big time commitment.

    Louis

  6. 6
    Moggie

    Call yourself a tool user, octopus? Get off and fix the damn truck!

  7. 7
  8. 8
    UnknownEric the Apostate

    DINSDALE!!!

  9. 9
    Louis

    “‘E used……sarcasm.”

  10. 10
    kylemarquis

    Watchmen: The BBC miniseries.

  11. 11
    ppb

    My lorry is full of octupi.

  12. 12
    Lofty

    The new Octopi London movement.

  13. 13
    birgerjohansson

    In Family Guy, Peter got rid of a dead horse by putting it on his car, accelerating and then braking sharply, getting the horse to fly into a neighbor’s window.

    This guy intended to do the same, but underestimated the strain on the chassis.

    Myself, I get rid of giant animals by stuffing them in the office elevator and pushing the buttons at random.

  14. 14
    davidnangle

    I’ve seen enough London traffic jams to know where this is going.

  15. 15
    Inaji

    I’d like that giant octopus sitting on my front lawn. Welcoming, y’know.

  16. 16
    Al Dente

    I’ve seen enough London traffic jams to know where this is going.

    Isn’t a traffic jam a situation where nothing is going?

  17. 17
    davidnangle

    Know your memes, Al Dente: http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/ive-seen-enough-hentai-to-know-where-this-is-going

    It was my attempt at subverting that one.

  18. 18
    Sili

    This is exactly why we need the congestion charge.

  19. 19
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Lofty:
    ::groan::

  20. 20
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    I’ve seen enough London traffic jams to know where this is going.

    Isn’t a traffic jam a situation where nothing is going?

    So the traffic jam, er, Preserves! the situation?

    Oh, and Lofty? Groannnnnnn!

  21. 21
    HolyPinkUnicorn

    And if you ever need to transport live ones might I suggest the pool-mobile from The Simpsons.

  22. 22
    tim rowledge, Ersatz Haderach

    For those that have no experience of non-US cities I’d like to suggest a brief glimpse at a road map of London in order to truly appreciate just how daunting The Knowledge is. Any resemblance of London roads to any geometry that can properly exist in this universe is strictly temporary. I spent 6 years living sarf of the rivvuh and commuting into Kensington (Imperial College and the Royal College of Art, yay!) by motorcycle. I’m fairly sure I didn’t take exactly the same route twice. Though back in the day (before pervasive cctv) there were a few spots where one could plausibly hit 100mph en route :-) which might have caused timespace rifts.

  23. 23
    Al Dente

    one could plausibly hit 100mph en route :-)

    Going that fast in a city? Impressive.

  24. 24
    dexitroboper

    See? The M25 was built to summon eldritch horrors.

  25. 25
    ck

    tim rowledge, Ersatz Haderach wrote:

    Any resemblance of London roads to any geometry that can properly exist in this universe is strictly temporary.

    It seems like whoever designed London’s road system was later hired as a consultant to design Winnipeg’s road system. The brain damage isn’t quite as severe, but the roads do seem to take impossible paths, like one particularly infamous intersection, that even sometimes baffles longtime residents of the city.

  26. 26
    Louis

    London’s road system was not designed. It evolved. Wait…

    …Did I just prove that evolution is the tool of the devil?

    Louis

  27. 27
    opposablethumbs

    A brief browse of a map of London will also shed light on the layout of Ankh Morpork and on the challenges of navigating The Shades.

    I’m not entirely sure whether this has happened in London too, but there are places in Edinburgh where tiny alleyways that once had tall buildings grow closer and closer over them with each successive storey eventually became incorporated into the buildings and turned into interior passages. A lot of European cities with mediaeval quarters have lanes that gradually disappeared into a basement level as the level of the neighbouring roadway was raised on detritus over a few hundred years. No doubt Detritus would feel quite at home. And of course quite a lot of English towns have a street or small area called the Shambles – “shambles” = slaughterhouse/slaughtering area-cum-row of butchers’ stalls.

    Maps of old cities are irresistible :-)

  28. 28
    Al Dente

    Don’t forget that in London drivers ignore all left and right signs since those are merely political slogans.

  29. 29
    paulambos

    It’s so much more convenient if you wear your octopus on your head.

  30. 30
    twas brillig (stevem)

    re opposablethumbs @27:

    A brief browse of a map of London will also shed light on the layout of Ankh Morpork and on the challenges of navigating The Shades.

    The rest of your description of “the Shades” reminds me of Gaiman’s book, Neverwhere, which takes the Underground (i.e. the Subway) automated intonation of “Mind The Gap” to a whole ‘nother level. And the OP pic of that Octop also seems right from the book (while not actually mentioned in it. just seems appropriate FOR the story).
    Cheers. Ta ta for now. TraLa

  31. 31
    chip

    paulambos – Or your back.

  32. 32
    Forbidden Snowflake

    Apparently, it was ordered by a booking agency as a homage to Paul the Prophetic Octopus. The original Paul passed away in 2010, but as they say, what is dead may never die.

  33. 33
    freddiesdead .

    Turns out it was there for use in an ad for the betting site Betfair that you can see here.

    Obviously the first step in taking over the world is to beat everyone at table tennis.

  34. 34
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Wait a minit – I just passed by this on my way to searching for the seattle secret thread and noticed that PZ wrote this:

    Happens all the time when you’re hauling your giant octopus around, and the truck breaks down.

    Shouldn’t that have been:

    Happens all the time when you’re a giant octopus being driven around: the truck breaks down.

    Even here? Even here the cephalopods are marginalized? Oh when, oh when will cephalopods finally attain a reliable active and discursive subjectivity sufficient to challenge mammalian cultural hegemony?

    Oh, the huge manatee!

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