Five batshit conversation topics you will tolerate for the duration of an Uber drive

NICE five-star Uber rating you’ve got there. Wouldn’t want to ruin it by not going along with these conversations with the driver, would you?

15-minute cities

You don’t believe that convenient urban planning is part of some global authoritarian plot to limit personal freedoms. Because of course you don’t. Your Uber driver was quick to bring them up though, suggesting that they have more than a passing interest. This means you’ll have to nod along with vague indifference until you reach your destination, or risk losing your immaculate score.

The paranormal

The existence of aliens you can go along with. Ghosts, magic orbs and demonic possession though? Get to f**k. You grew out of that shit decades ago and now live in a world based on rationality. And that common sense is telling you not to disagree with someone driving you somewhere who believes in stone tapes.

A stranger’s personal life

You’ll learn more about the intricacies of your Uber driver’s life in a ten-minute journey than you’ll glean from your best friend over the span of 30 years. Everything from their string of failed marriages to their accidental kids and weird sexual preferences will be discussed at length, and you’ll keep the conversation going by asking equally candid questions. In the context of a short drive, this is apparently fine.

Cashless societies

Once you’re buckled up and the doors are locked, there’s no escape. Your Uber driver will take advantage of this by swiftly informing you about how a mysterious political elite is transforming the world into a cashless society for their own nefarious ends. They won’t use the term ‘lizard people’, but it will be heavily implied. The irony of working for an app apparently escaping them.

China’s social credit system

Just as every drunken pub chat veers towards politics, the long arc of Uber conversations bends towards how China rewards and punishes its people with a national credit rating. ‘It’s not long until they’ll try shit like cracking down on spreading rumours and criticising the government over here,’ your driver will tell you. ‘Anywhere along here’s fine,’ you’ll reply.

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Six piss-take songs bands had to keep performing when they became popular

BANDS love to make jokey songs that no one will take seriously, right? However these tracks made the fatal mistake of being beloved by the masses. 

Aphex Twin – Come to Daddy 

Thanks to his reputation, anything Richard D. James cranks out is regarded as the height of artistic achievement. Come to Daddy was written as a joke while he was smashed out of his mind, and thanks to a haunting video it climbed the charts far better than he expected. He might have promptly pulled it from circulation, but his fanbase of pilled-up twats ensures he’s chained to it forever.

Beck – Loser 

Beck’s gibberish lyrics can be forgiven considering they are an improvised rap, but the slide guitars are too deliberately annoying to be overlooked. And after building a very decent song around a joke, he undercuts the humour even further by demonstrating his proficiency on the sitar. The fact that he’s been laughing all the way to the bank with this song for decades must be some consolation though.

Blur – Song 2

Post-grunge was crap. Blur knew that, and decided to take the piss with a punchy track aimed at mouth breathers who lapped that shit up. Unfortunately for them, Song 2 would come to be Blur’s defining anthem and Damon Albarn would be locked into whooping like a moron over distorted guitars at every gig. Still, it’s mercifully short and better than Country House.

Kings of Leon – Sex On Fire

Originally titled Set Us on Fire until a sound mixer came up with a better name, this anthem for horny youth was inescapable during the summer of 2008. Other joke titles included Socks on Fire, Snatch on Fire, and Cocks on Fire, until the band presumably decided to stop kidding around, settle on the most commercially viable idea, then make a shitload of money by recording a song they have grown to hate.

R.E.M. – Stand

Making a statement via catchy bubblegum pop is a gamble because people might prefer it to your usual, more heart-wrenching songs. That’s the lesson R.E.M. almost learned when they put out this cheery hit in the style of The Banana Splits. Except they followed it up with Shiny Happy People shortly afterwards, and were apparently so proud of it that they only performed it live once. Thank God.

Stealers Wheel – Stuck In the Middle With You

Mimicking the dulcet, nasal tones of Bob Dylan is a risk, but it paid off all too well for the jammy Scottish duo. Gerry Rafferty’s biblical allusions didn’t exactly ring true as this was a parody song about the music industry they had obviously recently left. If they’d been around today, who knows who they might have aped. Axl Rose? Adele? The mind boggles.