Giles Coren has a few scores to settle, including with himself.
Let me tell you what I think of cyclists. Hang on, I’ll just get in my car. It’s a 13-year old Ford Fiesta Zetec with bald tyres and a front bumper literally plastered with hair and blood (mostly squirrel, pigeon and cat, but if there’s human DNA there too then I’ll be the last to swear that it couldn’t possibly have been me).
Right. Where was I? Oh yes. Cyclists. Two-wheeled, vegetarian whoopsies! Festival-going, stinky-armpit, Miliband-voting communist fuckheads! That’s a red light, you dreadlocked bastard! Take off your fucking pointless pollution mask and accept my fist in your teeth, you whale-hugging piece of urban shit!
What’s that? You want to know what I think about car-drivers? Hang on, I’ll just hop out of the Fiesta and on to my beloved, hand-made Italian Bella Ciao city bike. Now, then: cars. Do you drive a car? Why the goddam hell are you driving on what is statistically likely to be a journey of less than a mile, you fat loser? See how I get everywhere twice as quickly as you and stay lovely and trim at the same time. AND do the planet no harm. AND do not pollute young lungs. Sending a little text message at the wheel, are we? Here, let me have that off you, at speed, through your window, and then SMASH! - into that skip with it. You should be watching where you’re going, not talking to your bastard capitalist car-loving public school buddies.
And that’s just how it is. If I’m in the car, I am totally anti-cycling (they’re like a million gnus migrating across the Serengeti in the morning rush hour these days - where on earth have they come from? Where the hell are they going?) and if I’m on my bike then I truly, deeply believe that all motor vehicles should be banned. And if I’m on foot then I hate both equally. And however I am travelling I believe in the death penalty for motorcyclists, filling up all the gaps in the traffic I might otherwise have pulled out into or walked through, and making that ungodly racket at all hours of the day and night (how can some leather-clad gimp getting from A to B count for more than a thousand people’s sleep?) - except that I rode one once and it was brilliant, and I will again.
It’s pathetic. A man of strong opinions is one thing. But a man whose strong opinions depend entirely on how he is feeling in that instant is a disastrous thing in a city of 10 million people just trying to muddle through.
Nor is it only in transit that these opinion paradoxes afflict me. Over the past eight months I have railed in this column at people who eat in the street, drink to excess, smoke, run for buses, drink takeaway coffee and have tattoos. And I stand by all those prejudices. Except when I’m inhaling a delicious Big Mac on Tottenham Court Road, while running for the 134, off my face, reeking of the crafty fags I sucked down outside the pub, with a Starbucks triple-shot macchiato in my other hand, because I don’t want to be late home and piss off my darling wife with her darling massive great tattoo of the Southern Cross on her left hip.
I have anathematised foreign holidays (of which I have two more planned this summer), the countryside (where I have recently bought a home), Nimbys (of which I am one), mindfulness (while meditating almost daily), school (despite having enrolled my daughter in a very good one for September), fine dining (despite making my living from it), the English cricket team (which I will be cheering on from the MCC Chairman’s box at Lord’s this weekend) and people who leave London in August (which I am about to do, in favour of the aforementioned place in the countryside).
People like me make modern life intolerable. London does not need this kind of anger and confusion. I have only one thing left to say:
Giles Coren, fuck off!
And another thing... Tweet him @gilescoren.