A spokesman admits that the cancellation of the Saturday night sleeper from London to Aberdeen 'until the end of time' is a bitter blow for those who like to wake up on a Sunday morning to the munching of Highland cattle, but there can be no question of having the train back, say the men at Euston. They can't find a single soul who'll agree to work the shift.
'It was like an alcoholic bullet flying through the night,' a former guard says, poetically. 'You just couldn't cope with those guys on their stag nights. That's what did it. The buffet car was a cesspool. They were climbing into the berths with Christ knows who. It was madness. They'd pull the emergency cord. They'd fling the bogroll down the aisles. They'd vomit. Break guitars over each other's heads. You can't be having that on a nice train.' You'll find the same sentiment echoing around the hostelries of Dublin's Temple Bar, where stag nights have been banned, proprietors believing that the Ryanair generation has made a mockery of the art of running amok. Over on cheap flights from Prestwick and Stansted, these boys were often to be found floating trouserless in the Liffey at dawn, or staggering up Grafton Street, their T-shirts clinging to them with alcopops and spilled Sambuca.
LRB 3 June 2004 | PDF Download