A group of rowdy teenagers is singing loudly on the top deck of the double-decker 74 bus into City Centre. Their voices float down in ecstatic screams as they switch the program from Christmas carols to Beyonce hits and, shockingly, to Aqua’s “Barbie Girl.” They might be drunk. They might be 13-16; hard to say when they’re up on the top deck and the rest of the bus passengers are on the bottom. Some passengers chuckle good-naturedly, some grunt in annoyance as the teens shriek over each other, a jumble of mumbled lyrics and styles. Up on the top deck, they can see none of this. They wouldn’t care anyway – they’re having the time of their lives.
Female bus passenger: Which do you think is their worse crime – singing off-key or singing “Barbie Girl”?
Male bus passenger: What little wankers. Knackers, the lot of them!
Female bus passenger: Oh, lay off. Think about how much fun they’re having. In 15 years, this will be a great memory for them.
Male bus passenger: Not if I go up there with my stick.
The teens switch from Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” to “Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer.” They sing the version with the call back chant: “… you might even say it glows (like a lightbulb!).” When they reach the final line – You’ll go down in history! – the voices clash again. One girl says “Like Elvis!” Another yells “Who?” And another still says, “No, it’s George Washington!”