Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Just Can't Take Direction

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Just Can't Take Direction

Article excerpt

Byline: gary BAINBRIDGE One man's struggle with the 21st century Follow Gary on Twitter: @Gary_Bainbridge or email him at

IHAVE always had what you might term an anonymous face. I do not have any immediately obvious scars and all of my features are within the normal limits, apart from my earlobes, which look as if somebody has stretched them with those weird hula hoop-sized rings a certain variety of young man now wears and then covered them up with skin.

In fact I have occasionally considered a life of crime, knowing that a police artist would never be able to cobble together an accurate picture of my face to be shown on Crimewatch.

"What did the robber look like?" "I don't know. Sort of like a man. He had a nose. And some hair."

"Like this?" "I dunno, probably. I was too busy looking at his earlobes."

Even the beard I occasionally sport these days is no barrier to anonymity, given that every other man walking our streets who is capable of shaving has decided not to do so.

Answering the question "Which man?" with "Him over there with the beard" is as pointless as answering "Which woman?" with "Her over there with the tattoo and the phone."

I was wandering about the city centre in one of the infrequent free periods I have between being at work, being at home, and being on a bus between work and home. I had business to which I needed to attend at the Post Office, but first I had to go to the bank to ask for a loan so I could buy six first class stamps.

"Excuse me." I turned around.

There was a middle-aged woman standing just in front of a middleaged man who looked as if he wished he could be just about anywhere else.

They had clearly had the "Look, you have no idea where it is. Just ask someone. God, MEN. Fine, I'll do it" conversation.

"Oh, good," I thought. "A column." "Do you know where Very Easy To Find Shop is?" "Oh," I thought. "How disappointing."

"Yes," I replied. "You need to go down there..." and I reeled off a number of boringly accurate directions. They thanked me and went on their way, as did I.

"Never mind", I thought, "Perhaps something terrible will happen in the Post Office. …

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