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My Journey Home

8 years ago...

I moved to Surbiton 6 years ago, almost to the day, and by and large have enjoyed living here. I work in Central London and regularly travel back to Surbiton in the evening and late at night.

Now, is it just me, or is it getting worse, last night i arrived back at the station at about 10.30pm, my journey home was more like Soho on a Friday night than Surbiton on a Tuesday night, it went like this:

Firstly, after a fairly quiet journey, i was called a "c**t" by a charming couple of "students" after i declined their very kind offer of a "line" as we got off the train, then i had to step around a large, fresh pool of vomit at the bottom of the station stairs, which unfortunatley directed me into the path of that bloke who mutters "Travelcard, Travelcard" at every commuter, outside on the taxi rank, a cabbie was attempting to explain to a very drunk women, man and a dog why he wouldn't let them in his cab, to which he became the second of us to be called a "c**t" inside of 2 minutes.

Out onto the round-about and around a very focussed group on their way to "f**king do 'im", obvioulsy due to their focus they didn't see me and launched into a tirade of expletives when i suggested they might want to pay more attention ( or words to that effect). On up past Wetherspoons and past the usual congregation on the steps, now i wear a suit to work and this means i wear a suit to and from work too, apparently this required the group outside weatherspoons to offer the comment "F**KING TOSSER!!!"...a step up from "C**T???, i'm not sure, i'll let you decide. Onwards past the delightful Bosco's just as the local Police were assisting a bloke leaving the premises with blood p***ing out of his face, the other bloke being helped out by tyhe police commented that the bloke with the blood was in fact, also a "c**t". That's me, the cabbie and now the blood bloke, 3 c**ts in such a short space of time....... by comparison, the rest of the journey home was uneventful until nearing my flat, heard the sound of the students in a shared house near me having a party, you know the sound i mean, that scream followed by shrieking laugh followed by, OHHH, MYYY GOOOOOD!!!!!, THAT IS SOOOO FUNNY!!!!!!.

As i said, this was a Tuesday surbiton...about 10.30pm, has Surbiton come to this?, was it just a freaky night/journey?, am i just getting old?, am i, the cabbie and bloodied bloke really c**ts?....or is it just me?

Good people of Surbiton, over to you.......


I have had similar experiences lately, unfortunately.

The area directly around the station had improved for a few years. There used to be loads of Travelcard beggars based in the YMCA, but they seemed to disappear when they had a partial clear out of that place. I am sure the guy who does it now is one of the old faithfuls, so maybe he found that it is a better income than whatever else he has been doing during the interim period. The only people you can really blame for that are the ones that buy/sell him the travelcards.

Which bring me onto the next group, STUDENTS!

There is always a big upswing in noise and trouble in Kingston/Surbiton between September and November due to the new intake of students who have moved away from home for the first time and think everything they do is clever and amazing without realising that the last generation were doing the same things (and probably worse!) 15 years ago. The problem is that this new generation are much louder and more violent than the previous one. I encountered a group of northern students a couple of weeks ago who were staring into the window of Barnard Marcus proclaiming 'I'd not pay that much to live in that s**thole' , refering to a cheap semi in Tolworth. I just don't think that they want to treat the area as their own, and are certainly not encouraged to.

I am prepared to turn a bit more of a blind eye now when I consider the carnage that awaits them when/if they graduate.

The main problem is that Surbiton is a mixed area. Outsiders either see it as a posh place to live or a sleepy, boring suburb. In reality it has elements of both of those, but like most places it has very different types of people living cheek by jowl. Most of the people that I know in Surbiton are much like I am - commute to London each day to earn a reasonable wage, come home and maybe enjoy a couple of pints in Gordon Bennett or the Vic on the way home. Weekends are either spent in London or going out to restaurants/bars locally.

That might represent 95% of the Surbitonians that I know, but it is no more than 50% in total. There might be another 25% who have different lifestyles but won't cause you any trouble, 10% are kids, 10% are students and the other 5% are the ones you encountered last night. Their 'job' is to drink in Wetherspoons or Corkys, and they are very good at it, often starting way before most people finish work in the evening.

Obviously the 5% figure is made up, but it doesn't take many of these people to give the impression that the whole place is falling apart. These people tend to be very diligent, often out plying their trade 7 nights are week.

This certainly does offer some perspective, it is probably only 5% of surbitonians that spoil things for the other 95%, in truth i have no issue with the students, especially as you point out they are worse off now than we were, nor do i have a real issue with the travelcard mutterer, in fact, had i encountered just these two on my way home, i would probably never even pased comment.

I do though have an issue with the others, the vomit, the drunks abusing an innocent cab driver, the group on their way to "do im", (whoever he was) who screamed abuse at me just for asking them to be careful, the drunk idiots outside Wetherspoons and the bloodied guy at Bosco's ( although i don't know the reason for the incident). All these do give the impression we have lost control of our streets. I witnessed first hand the recent riots in Clapham Junction and although Surbiton is a much safer place, much safer, i can't get rid of this nagging feeling that we are not that far behind, especially when you see the state of Surbitons streets early on a Saturday or Sunday morning, littered with broken glass, vomit, empty beer cans, blood, litter and occasionally items of clothing.

I'm sure i was just unlucky last night. I'm working late tonight then out for a beer or two so will be travelling back around the same time tonight, let's see what tonight brings :)

Sorry to hear about your unfortunate c**nt calling! It did make me chuckle but i understand it's not very nice when you experience it first hand!
I have lived in Surburbia now for nearly 11 years and I can honestly say i have seen some great improvements and a drop in crime.

I have the same problem's with students and i'm not so forgiving of them, i find it highly irritating that they come here, and have absolutely no respect! Maybe if they didn't study such useless English, art or social degrees they may actually have to spend time studying rather than getting dunk and littering our streets with broken glass and sick!

There also seems to be a big problem with outsiders from surrounding areas such as Epsom, they seem to come down to drink in the likes of Bosco. Not sure why but id rather they didn't as they can barely string a sentence together and are more intent on starting fights rather than enjoying a drink.
Surbiton does seem to attract its fair share of freaks and unfortunately there isn't a huge amount we can do to stop that right now but there are a few things that you can do to minimise these encounters.....

First rule is 'MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS'!!!!! Seems bloody obvious but it amazes me the amount of people who seem that they just must get involved or talk back to drunks, lowlifes and students! Unless you have a good right hook then id advise sitting as far away as possible from these people, put your head down and avoid eye contact. They thrive off busy bodies, i know its difficult at times but its easier in the long run to bite your tongue.
Also avoid walking past pubs where people are drinking and smoking outside, this is a guaranteed ticket to getting called a c**t, cross the road if you have to.

I know you shouldn't have to do all these things but trust me if you want the easy life then you have no choice. Be grateful that you live and work in Surbiton\London, these places are like paradise compared to the rest of Britain!

I hope you have better luck on your future journeys home :)

Some good points here.

There is a problem with people coming in from other areas. I guess it makes sense with places like Esher etc being so quiet and Kingston now only really marketing itself towards the under 21's. I wouldn't be too surprised if people are coming from Epsom as that place is now really bad most evenings.

It is a great shame that a nice-ish place like Bosco can't open without attracting trouble from all around. The 24 hour McDonalds is just asking for trouble and I am surprised that the council allowed it, but it is a bit of a disgrace when there is a full-on fight in a local bar on a mid-week evening.

I agree with not getting involved with this type of person. If someone is 'spoiling for a fight' just ignore them - it is easy to see who they are and get know where they hang out. I ALWAYS make sure I walk on the other side of the road from Corkys bar or Wetherspoons and have done for years, but I don't think you'd get that type of trouble when walking past the smokers outside Gordon Bennett or the Vic and I am always happy/safe going past those places.

It is a shame seeing these type of comments about Surbiton, but I totally agree that it is still better than almost everywhere else I have been. There has been a disgraceful fall in standards since 1997 and Surbiton hasn't been exempt from that, but it is still as nice as it ever was relative to elsewhere.

Well, last night's journey home was the complete opposite, even the travelcard mutterer had taken the night off!!!, Wetherspoons seemed virtually empty, as did bosco's, the cab drivers were looking bored and the no-one was on a mission to do anyone!!. Even the student house was quiet/empty......where was everyone?????????, Chessington maybe?.....( applogies to anyone who lives there :) )

Strange to have two such completely differing journeys, maybe i'm not actually a c**t after all!!!, the world ( and by that i mean Surbiton) seems a nicer place today :). Thank you.

Tonight i am not working late, am not out and will be joining the 1.2 million people ( approx) who use Surbiton station between 6.00pm and 7.00pm, after two such extreme journeys home ( one so good and one so bad), i've never anticipated my journey home so much.

I will mind my own business and walk on the other side of the street in future too, but i'll be left with the nagging feeling that i'm just playing into their hands.............

You will be safe enough on the 6.00 - 7.00 stretch, most of the idiots are only just warming up by then.

I am probably just old, but I think we have slept-walked into this '24 hour party culture'. I remember when I was a student in Kingston 12-15 years ago, Mondays and Wednesdays were the student nights at the s***ty nightclubs. There was a queue to get in, a little bit of carnage on the street afterwards, but not much else.

The streets of Kingston were pretty quiet on Tuesdays/Thursdays, and Surbiton was quiet almost every night of the week. I only occasionally saw fights and staggering drunk people in Kingston and once in a blue moon in Surbiton.

Fast forward to 2011 and the nightclubs have turned Kingston town centre into a zoo every night of the week and there is vomit, bottles and blood in Surbiton on a Tuesday night! It seems some people like to go out for a full-on 10 pint party several times a week now, and I am sure it was never like that before.

Surbiton is still far, far better than other towns (try Sutton, Epsom, Woking etc if you don't believe me), but it is bizarre just how quickly this has happened!

This hardly inspires confidence either,

although at least they are finally waking up to the fact that Kingston Town Centre is overun by morons most nights of the week.

What fails the inspire confidence is that Kingston council seem totally unwilling/unable to refuse many of these applications. The ex-bingo hall application was laughable (convicted money launderer trying to open a boxing venue!), and even that almost got through.

The problem with these super clubs/pubs is that they stop a whole area becoming usable by anyone who is not in their direct target market. I can't imagine any parents wanting to take their young children to an evening cinema showing at Kingston Odeon, only to come out and find they have to fight their way through the carnage that is created by Oceana and the Kings Tun.

Kingston is actually a very pleasant town with excellent facilities (great shopping, biggest cinema in the country, Rose Theatre, river etc), but after dark it becomes such a chav-magnet that large parts of it become no-go areas for anyone else.

Surbiton will have even more of a problem if it starts to develop nightspots like this - it is too small! If you get five bars like Bosco attracting 200 revellers each, that will be 1,000 extra people milling around Victoria and Brighton Roads at closing time, in addition to the hundreds that already go to the established bars, pubs and restaurants.

I think it is a shame really. There are so many empty shops in the town now and normally I'd love to see a few extra bars and restaurants. Surbiton is too close to Kingston to ever become a shopping 'destination' and this will only get more marked as more retail traffic moves online. The current selection of shops is definitely sufficient for local shopping, and we certainly don't need any more estate agents or charity shops, so bars and restaurants would normally be the answer - but NOT if they are going to attract that type of detritus that Bosco and Corkys seem to these days.

It should be made clear to any bar or club owner that if they sell booze to anyone who is blitzed then they will be closed down. The staff know which customers need saving from themselves so they have to be made culpable. In addition to the carnage and unpleasantness detailed in the other posts it has become frequent that we have an over indulger drowning in the river (Christmas being a popular time). Someone needs to be made responsible for the co-lateral damage that this brings to their families. It starts and stops with the booze (and the White marching powder) mixed in.

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