Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

I Hate Space Invaders

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

I Hate Space Invaders

Article excerpt

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

IAM not really a touchy-feely person. I am more a shunnyshunny person. I guard my personal space as enthusiastically as the Israeli army.

If you take up position within 12 inches of me, I will lean back, if necessary taking up the pose of an expert limbo dancer. My theme tune is the Police song "Don't Stand So Close To Me", but only the chorus.

Incidentally, none of this applies in lifts or on public transport, because it is clear the people around are not standing next to me by choice. We are all in it together, and it is horrible.

All of this is by way of setting the scene of last Monday night. On the way home, I remembered that I was down to the last sheet of kitchen roll and penultimate squirt of washingup liquid, and called in at the late-night tiny supermarket opposite my office.

"Would you like a bag?" the man on the checkout asked. Yes, I thought, the last thing I want to do is walk through the city centre carrying kitchen rolls and washing-up liquid in my hands, appearing to all the world like a crack freelance cleaner who is always ready for action. It is definitely worth five pence to avert that eventuality.

"Yes, please," I said, because even when I am ruining the environment I like to be polite.

But as I left the shop, my bag swinging by my side, I began to feel annoyed about The Bag Of Bags, the bag for life in my kitchen, whose only purpose is to house about three pounds' worth of carrier bags I have previously bought.

A sensible person would always have one to hand, but I do not want to be that person. I am surely too young to be the sort of person who has an emergency carrier bag tucked away - I was born after the Beatles split up and I barely remember Callaghan, let alone Wilson.

It was this line of thought which distracted me and made me not see the couple in the street until it was far too late. Had I seen them earlier I would have crossed the road and got on with my life.

Their voices were raised. …

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