Joeblade

Residents of Oxford

While I’ve grown quite fond of Oxford’s Famous Oxford in quite a short space of time, I feel it’s time that I made a couple of things clear, as there seems to be a bit of confusion here and there.

To Oxford tourists; Oxford is a magnificent city, full of history and culture and crumbling academics, so it’s only natural that you should want to visit and record it all on film. The colleges, the cathedral, the many old buildings, small parks, quirky, rustic pubs and so on — there is a lot of Oxford to take in. Why, then, do you insist on clogging up the damn high street taking photos of the local branch of Boots? The high street shops are not interesting shops. They are not peculiar to Oxford, you can find them in most — if not all — English towns and cities. In fact, I’m thinking it’s a pretty safe bet that you can find similar (if not identical) shops wherever you are from. So, please, branch out from the comforting safety of Burger King and Boots and find something interesting to do, and let us, the residents who just need to buy a pair of nail scissors and maybe a new book, get on with things without having to dodge packs of you people.

To Oxford boyfriends and husbands; you are all fine, strapping specimens and no doubt are full of sperm. I can clearly not compete with your broad shoulders and knowledge of The World, nor your impressive collection of rugby shirts and Doctor Who scarves, so I bow to you, the better men. However, impressive though it may be to refuse to give way on a narrow path, you don’t leave me with many options. Try as I might, I’m unable to melt into the solid brick walls, so all I can do is move straight into the path of your partner who is hanging onto your arm to demonstrate that you are her property. I don’t think she appreciates this.

To Oxford girlfriends and wives; you and your partners are charming and beautiful people, and it brings real joy to my heart to witness your affection, particularly in these dark days of illegal wars, Kilroy and MRSA. However — and I want to be quite clear about this — I am not going to walk in the road for you. If the path is only wide enough for two, and my option is either to stay on the path before you or leap out of your way into an oncoming cyclist or bus, guess what? I’m staying on the damn path, so just let go of his arm and walk behind or in front of him. It’ll only last for a couple of seconds, I promise you, and then you can get back to clinging like a bloody limpet to him. Don’t just walk straight up to me as if you didn’t see me coming and then tut and sigh at my rudeness for not risking death and/or puddles just so you don’t have to release your man into the wild for a fraction of a moment. What are you worried about? Are you worried he’s going to spring off down a side street the second he realises he’s free? Put him on a fucking lead if it’s that big a problem, but whatever you do, please do it out of my way, I’m a busy man with places to be.

To the people who run the Islamic Education stand outside WH Smiths; I wasn’t interested last week, the week before that, or the week before that. I’m not interested this week, and there’s a pretty high chance that I’ll continue to be uninterested in the weeks to come, so kindly stop thrusting leaflets in my face.

To the people who run the Socialist Workers stand outside McDonalds; see above.

To the people who run the ‘stop animal experimentation’ stand opposite KFC; see above.

To the Big Issue salesmen and women; see above.

To any busker using bagpipes; just…fuck off, ok?

To any busker using panpipes; see above.

To the tourists who visit the Oxford Botanic Gardens; You may have heard the expression “If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it’s probably a duck”, yes? Well, those things in the gardens that walk and quack like ducks? Yes, those are ducks. Surely you’ve seen ducks before? Is there really any need to constantly try and chase them around the pond like some sort of deranged tribute to The Benny Hill Show? Go and enjoy the flowers, for crying out loud, and leave the damn ducks to get on with mating.

To Oxford cyclists; congratulations on helping cut down on pollution and traffic congestion, it is good to see so many people taking the healthy option instead of adding more cars to the Oxford roads. Please be aware, though, that if you’re cycling on a road then the traffic lights actually do apply to you, so pretending that there aren’t people crossing the road and then acting indignant when they get in your way is just a waste of our time and your time. And if you’re not cycling on a road, well, you fucking should be, I’m having enough problems just dealing with couples, and don’t even get me started on double pushchairs. Who needs more than one baby at a time, anyway?

I hope this clears things up.

By Paul Haine, in