Thursday, September 29, 2005

Travel Review: Nottingham

My journey to Nottingham started at the boarded-up building site that is London St Pancras station. This is a little short on facilities (no Burger King, for example). The toilets were protected by a burly attendant and it cost 20 pence to get past him. Perhaps because of this, I found them to be a clean and tidy place to void my bowels. My only complaint would be lack of ventilation, so I beat a hasty retreat once the movements were over.

Suitably relieved, I boarded one of Midland Mainline's new Class 222 Meridian trains. Having taken advantage of some very reasonable weekend offers, I took my First Class seat and sat back to enjoy journey ahead. My feelings are mixed - on the plus side, it was comfortable and very spacious, not least because I was lucky enough to have a whole bay of four seats for the entire journey. This was especially enjoyable since the rest of the train was jammed to the rafters - something I found out while trying to get to the buffet (or MM Bar as it is known round those parts) which is a couple of carriages away from the first class accommodation, for some odd reason. On the minus side, these trains have diesel engines under each carriage, so they do tend to rumble and vibrate when accelerating. Also, by the time the journey was nearing its end, only one toilet was functioning and this was at the opposite end of the train. Nonetheless, it was a perfectly pleasant place to defecate, despite the nagging fear that a queue might be forming outside and that the person at the head of the queue might be attractive and in posession of a functioning sense of smell.

Nottingham itself is very much like Bristol or any other medium-sized city, only with an added opportunity to be run over in the shape of a tram. It has the obligatory branch of Pizza Hut - one where the toilets are frankly not up to scratch.

Nottingham Rock City is a good place to go if you want to go deaf listening to 1980s-vintage Heavy Metal music. I will be sure to take some Immodium should I ever visit again as the toilets are diabolical. No locks, pools of water (?) on the floors, you name it. Luckily there was paper, so this man got to do what he needed to do. The attendant was even kind enough to hand me a paper towel to mop my brow. I declined his offer of aftershave though. On balance, they the club was actually not too bad - the entry fee and drinks were not extortionate, and there was other entertainment on offer in the large upstairs room in the form of an eclectic DJ. So eclectic, in fact, that he couldn't play any single record for more than about a minute before spinning it back and replacing it with something from a totally different genre. He obviously had a lot of records to get through.

By 2am, we found there was only one fast food outlet open, a rather dire fried chicken shop. Given my precarious internal state, I declined this delicacy.

The journey back the next day was actually better than the outward one. Again, the seat was first class and was actually even more comfortable than the newer train I rode on the journey north, mainly due to the lack of engine noise in the venerable InterCity 125 carriages. Of course, the buffet was next to the first class, where it always was and always should be and Midland Mainline have done them up rather nicely, with modern lighting and some very nice clean, modern aluminium toilets. You will be glad to hear that by this time I did not need to go beyond 'number one'.

So, in summary: Nottingham - not a bad place by any means, but probably not the best place to go if you have the runny shits.


At 11:42 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The East Midlands really is as good a place as any to vent one's bowels....especially Leicester. I really fuckin' hate Leicester.

I agree about the state of the bogs in Rock City, but as you say the cheapness of the grog, and amusing 80's metal grooves are enough to earn it a certain rustic charm....I've been to much worse clubs which charged more, played worse music and were populated exclusively by cunts that I would actively like to set on fire, let alone wouldn't piss on if they were already ablaze.


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