Dear South West Trains (you shower of absolute shit)
Copy of the letter I just sent SWT, for your amusement:
Dear Sir/ Madam
I am writing to complain about the series of unmitigated failures & cock-ups that you call a train service.
Firstly, my train home is late EVERY day, with no explanation as to why. Is it REALLY that hard to ensure that a train leaves at the time it’s supposed to? A quick search on Google has revealed that RUSSIA has more trains that run on time than the UK.
RUSSIA. A nation where the Prime Minister’s karate DVD has topped the bestseller lists for months. A nation where they celebrate cabbage like we celebrate New Year. I don’t know about you, but that statistic makes me as proud to be British as our binge-drinking culture does.
Anyway, I digress. On Wednesday 6th March at rush hour there was not a single train running towards Waterloo on the line through Wandsworth Town. The only explanation for this was a disembodied and not remotely apologetic announcement from a rather plummy-sounding automated noisebox. If you genuinely ARE “Sorry for the delay to our journey” then I would suggest that it might be worth changing the announcement’s tone to one that doesn’t imply that you care about customer service as much as Hitler cared about Jews.
The only member of staff at the station was an enormous “Incredible Hulk”-style man. Unfortunately, he was also about as expressive as the Incredible Hulk. Just so you know exactly what I mean by this, he was surly, unhelpful, rude, and clearly not interested in (or capable of) providing any customer service. I also suspect that we wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.
Countless commuters asked him questions. Countless commuters were met with one word answers and told to use the information point on the platform to contact someone who would tell us what was going on. We pushed the information point button. It rang. And rang. And rang.
Back down to the Incredible Hulk we went. We asked him a simple question: How does he not know why there are no trains running?
Now APPARENTLY he considered this question to be a great threat to his undeniable green manhood, or something, because he then told me that if I kept asking him questions he would “sort me out”. I asked him to repeat this. He declined.
I’m sure you’ll agree this is TRULY excellent customer service on the part of South West Trains. Sarcasm isn’t easy to portray on paper, but I think I’ve managed it.
So let me bullet point this into simple bite-size chunks for you:
You have an utterly abysmal record at keeping trains running on time and the DAILY lateness is never explained.
Yesterday you didn’t have a single train running to Waterloo during rush hour, no explanation was provided and no indication given about when the service would resume.
At 6pm last night (April 6th) Wandsworth Town station was manned by someone who had no people skills, barely had the ability to speak English and to cap it all off, threatened your customers. He refused to give his name.
This is a typical experience with South West Trains. What makes it EVEN MORE frustrating is that you’ve put your fares up 10% so we now pay even more for the privilege of being messed around.
All you have to do is run trains on time. Since you are apparently incapable of doing this very simple thing, and you make it extremely difficult for people to submit complaints I am left with no option but to duplicate this letter and share it with the good people of the internet in the hope that they too take the time to express that your level of service is as high as the level of water in the Fukushima nuclear plant.
I expect a call, email or an explanation for the absolute dung-pile you call a railway network and a refund for my ticket at the very least. I also fully expect you to identify and discipline (or better yet, sack) the Incredible Hulk.
An explanation for why my evening train is NEVER on time would be lovely too, but based on the principle that apparently the only qualification needed to work for South West Trains is the ability to draw breath I’m not going to hold mine.
What a wonderful surprise has just greeted me! That sweet partridge, in that lovely little pear-tree; what an enchanting, romantic, poetic present!
Bless you, and thank you.
Your deeply loving
The two turtle-doves arrived this morning, and are cooing away in pear-tree as I write. I’m so touched and grateful!
With undying love, as always,
My darling Edward,
You do think of the most original presents! Whoever would have thought of sending anybody three French hens? Do they really come all the way from France? It’s a pity we have no chicken coops, but I expect we’ll find some.
Anyway, thank you so much; they are lovely.
Your devoted Emily.
What a surprise! Four calling birds arrived this morning. They are very sweet, even if they do call rather loudly, they make telephoning almost impossible - but I expect they’ll calm down when they get used to their new home. Anyway, I’m very grateful, of course I am.
Love from Emily.
The postman has just delivered five most beautiful gold rings, one for each finger, and all fitting perfectly! A really lovely present! Lovelier, in a way, than birds, which do take rather a lot of looking after. The four that arrived yesterday are still making a terrible row, and I’m afraid none of us got much sleep last night. Mother says she wants to use the rings to “wring” their necks. Mother has such a sense of humour. This time she’s only joking, I think, but I do know what she means.
Still, I love the rings.
Whatever I expected to find when I opened the front door this morning, it certainly wasn’t six stonking great geese laying eggs all over the porch. Frankly, I rather hoped that you had stopped sending me birds. We have no room for them, and they’ve already ruined the croquet lawn. I know you meant well, but let’s call a halt, shall we?
I thought I said NO MORE BIRDS. This morning I woke up to find no more than seven swans, all trying to get into our tiny goldfish pond. I’d rather not think what’s happened to the goldfish. The whole house seems to be full of birds, to say nothing of what they leave behind them, so please, please, stop!
Frankly, I prefer the birds. What am I to do with eight milkmaids? And their cows! Is this some kind of a joke? If so, I’m afraid I don’t find it very amusing.
Look here, Edward,
This has gone far enough. Allegedly you have sent me nine ladies dancing. All I can say is that judging from the way they dance, they’re certainly not ladies. The village just isn’t accustomed to seeing a regiment of shameless hussies cavorting round the green, and it’s Mother and I who get the blame. If you value our friendship, which I do (less and less), kindly stop this ridiculous behaviour at once!
As I write this letter, ten disgusting old men are prancing up and down all over what used to be the garden before the geese, swans and cows got at it. Several of them, I have just noticed, are attempting to take inexcusable liberties with the milkmaids. The neighbours, meanwhile, are trying to have us evicted. I shall never speak to you again.
This is absolutely the last straw! You know how much I detest bagpipes! The place has now become something between a menagerie and a madhouse accompanied by a noise like a hundred dying elephants, and a man from the council has just declared it unfit for habitation. At least Mother has been spared this last outrage; they took her away yesterday afternoon in an ambulance to a home for the bewildered. I hope you’re pleased with yourself.
Our client, Miss Emily Worthington, instructs me to inform you that with the arrival on her premises at 7:30 this morning of the entire percussion section of the London Symphony Orchestra and several of their friends, she has no course left open to her but to seek an injunction to prevent you importuning her further. I am making arrangements for the return of much assorted livestock, a large number of musicians, a group of insensible aristocrats & a number of impregnated milkmaids.
Let me say right from the offset that I have better things to do with my time than explain basic human decency, but your replies to a number of people on Twitter have literally provoked me into writing you a full response. I genuinely feel the need to spend a little time throwing some words together for you, because I think that what I was party to this afternoon is a pretty sad thing; there are times when only a good word or two will do.
Before today, I had no preconceived ideas about you. I didn’t watch the X-Factor when you won it, and if I’m honest I only vaguely recall hearing your cover of a Phil Collins song when you won the show. At this point I feel it’s important to say that I actually just had to refer to Wikipedia to see which song you released & if indeed you actually won. I say this to emphasise the point that, honestly, until today all I really remembered of you was “some dude, maybe winning some thing”.
Then, someone (whose brain I admire immensely) made a flippant remark. I probably don’t need to, since you & I have seen it already, but nonetheless I’ll reproduce it here just in case anyone else might be interested.
OK, so we’ve established here very quickly that the controversy is over. Alix has made a throwaway comment, then backtracked immediately. Good on her.
So, AFTER she’s backtracked - you - RETWEETED her original tweet? This is where I struggle to understand the motive, Stevie. But I can easily hypothesise a little.
See, what I realised is this: Alix didn’t write @SteveBrookstein in her Tweet. What this logically must mean, Stevie, is that you searched Twitter for your own name. You ACTIVELY TRACKED DOWN and then RETWEETED something disagreeable about yourself.
Now, I’m not in the public eye Steve, but if I were, I’d have the good sense not to go around (and I’ve put it in capitals just to REALLY hammer this point home, Stevie) SEARCHING FOR and then retweeting every hateful thing that I could find about myself.
I’d be there all day! It would drive me slowly, unavoidably, irrevocably doolally. It would be enough to unhinge my mind for the rest of my life.
There is a REASON Madonna looks the way she does Steve. A VERY GOOD REASON.
But I digress.
You retweeted Alix’s message, and then moments later went on to this jewel:
I’m guessing you meant the Sun, and I’m guessing you’re not a fan. (Again, just to remind you, these Tweets, and your reactions today are all I have on which to base my opinion).
To be fair though, you are releasing a single on the same day as the X-Factor winner, and that does send a pretty strong message, doesn’t it? You’ve had a few years in the public eye, you must know how it works by now.
Ah, but wait; the journo bastards writing these lies are probably in the pay of the Dark Lord & Prince of Evil, Simon Cowell, because you then went on to:
STOP THE FUCKING PRESS! SIMON COWELL SECRETLY CONTROLS ALL THE NEWSPAPERS! HE’S KEEPING YOUR STORY FROM BEING TOLD, STEVE! THE DAILY MAIL ARE GOING TO HAVE A FIELD DAY WITH THIS!
Now THAT is sensational shit right there, old boy. He’s keeping it out of the papers? You’ve got Twitter, dude. You can get a blog*. Whatever “stuff” you have on the musical Antichrist, unless you’re still under some kind of non-disclosure contract, you can publish ANY TIME. Oh, and trust me, if they think it’ll sell papers, the print media will pick it up in a jiffy. Unless of course “der oberführer” Simon Cowell “keeps it out of the papers”. AGAIN. What an ABSOLUTE BASTARD!
How on Earth did you reach the conclusion that she worked for the Sun?! She doesn’t, Stevie. Also, calling someone that you can clearly see is an attractive woman “that bloke” is more than a little bit douchebag-ish, and frankly, for a man of your years, both incredibly childish and a long way beneath you. You’re IN THE PUBLIC EYE, STEVE. PEOPLE SEE THIS SHIT. We screengrab it for the public record. (Please see attached image 1: “BrooksteinParanoia.jpg”)
More important than ALL of this, however is that even if she did say something a little thoughtless, she didn’t send it TO you. You ACTIVELY LOOKED FOR IT. If you’d gone so far as to search for yourself, you might at the very least have checked her bio.
Now again, I’m not in the public eye, Steve. But if I were, I wouldn’t be making baseless “you work for the Sun” accusations (to people that don’t) based purely on my own paranoia. I think I’d probably seek professional help, especially if I’d spent my afternoon looking up my own name on Twitter & retweeting every word of negative press.
Very quickly, just to cover the bases, I ALSO don’t work for the Sun, I don’t particularly like the X-Factor, I’m not a fan (nor acolyte) of Darth Cowell AND I think his hair looks more like a toilet brush every week.
But let’s move on, shall we?
Here are Alix’s very measured responses to the series of bilious messages you sent her over the course of NEARLY THREE HOURS:
I feel she hits the nail on the head with that last couple of Tweets.
So, this is where I got involved. I wasn’t pleasant, and I fully accept that it was beneath me. I apologise for my vehemence, Mr. B. But I got involved for all the reasons I’ve already mentioned above. You LOOKED for this, retweeted it, slagged off someone who had already apologised for it repeatedly, CONTINUED to do this for a number of hours & then seemed to be surprised when a few people said, “Excuse me, mate, you’re being a prick to the lady”.
It’s the PR equivalent of getting bitten by a mosquito then deciding to spend the night under a lantern surrounded by bowls of sugared water.
And, just to remind you of what you said in reply to me:
I really can’t be bothered to go through our entire conversation again, but I will say this:
A- If you don’t mean to be rude, it’s a bit confusing to then immediately go on & call me a knob-end. I’m guessing that was just an accident?
B- Telling some other completely innocent (& again, not a Newscorp journalist) girl she was a twat was inexorably & unnecessarily rude, and should have been written “Yes, you are a twat”. Please note the comma, good punctuation is VITAL.
***STEVE - IF YOU’VE SKIPPED THROUGH THIS LETTER, READ THIS BIT, IT’S THE IMPORTANT PART***
Throughout the whole of your afternoon of paranoid, own-name-searching-and-retweeting schizoid insanity, you didn’t ONCE mention the charity that your single’s supposed to support. A quick glance at your Twitter shows me that, as of lunchtime today, you still haven’t mentioned it.
The StreetSmart charity has suffered at your hands as a result of the way you’ve dealt with people today.
The charity, StreetSmart, helps the homeless through donations. Steve’s giving the proceeds from his latest single to their cause, but in case that’s not your cup of bile then please donate at www.streetsmart.org.uk - It was my friend, not Steve, that told me what it was all in aid of, and I had to find out what the charity does for myself.
Instead of promoting your charity, Stevie, you used Twitter to slag a load of people off, because they dared to try and stop you going absolutely mental at some girl that had said something negative about you & who then immediately apologised.
You “hate” the X-factor, but you still happily choose to profit from it. I’ve learnt, as a result of your UNBELIEVABLE lack of self-control (and remember, yesterday someone could have said your name to me & I would have honestly had no idea who you were) that you have an X-Factor column in which you slag off Simon Cowell a lot. I understand you’re writing a “tell-all” book, in which I suspect you’ll slag off Simon Cowell a lot.
Don’t you get bored of talking about the X-Factor? Are you not frustrated by your hatred for the toilet-brush-haired demonic entity made flesh? Isn’t it gnawing away at your soul? Isn’t it time to move on, Steve, rather than to continue to make a living off Simon Cowell’s success?
If I were a paranoid conspiracy theorist (don’t worry Steve, no-one’s watching your house), I might believe that you were just another cog in the enormously efficient Cowell PR machine. For every time you slag him off, some new unsuspecting member of the public tunes into the X-Factor “just to see what all the fuss is about”.
I am so amazed by the way you spent your afternoon (looking for tweets by members of the public so you could attack them) that I felt the need to write you a few words to say so.
In just one afternoon you’ve successfully convinced me, a complete stranger to you, your work, your ethos etc that you’ve become utterly, damagingly obsessed with your own publicity.
You gave this impression YOURSELF, without any help from the “Cowell-controlled” tabloid press. I had never read a single word about you until today, through YOUR Twitter.
I find this all VERY hard to comprehend, Steve, especially coming as it does from a man who (based on your own retweets) seems to be about as popular as a Bernard Manning gig at a Black Panther rally.
So if you really have moved on from your dark days in the Acid Mines of Cowell then don’t keep reliving the nightmare by making a living from slagging him off. It seems an awful lot like desperation. As does your pretty immature behaviour towards Alix, and many others. Oh, and if you’re releasing a charity single, how about you make it more about the charity & less about yourself?
I genuinely wish you all the best with your single, of course - it’s for a very good cause!