Let's sit back for a moment and think of a happier time, in the mid 90s. If you’re a 90s kid like myself it shouldn’t be too hard. In this article we’re going to be taking a step back in time to the year of 1998, when European Dance-Pop group “The Vengaboys” had a string of hits under their belt. If you close your eyes and listen carefully, you can almost hear them ringing in your ears. How we loved it back in the day, but now it’s one of those things you’d rather safely leave in the 90s, a little bit like that really awful Christmas gift that only makes it out of the back of your cupboard when the person who gave it to you comes to visit.
We’re focusing on their UK #3 hit single “We Like To Party (The Vengabus)”. How it failed to get to number 1 in the UK Singles chart I’ll never know. Well I do, but that's another story.
I was asked recently, “Wouldn’t it be amazing if the Vengabus was actually a real bus?” - which got me thinking a little. Would it be a good idea if the Vengabus was actually a real form of public transport? Well, I’ve taken this opportunity to take a somewhat literal, yet satirical view on this important issue.
Firstly, let’s have a look at the lyrical description of said Vengabus. In the main chorus, we are reliably informed by lead vocalist Kim Sasabone that the Vengabus is coming and that everybody on board is jumping. Now, it’s been a while since I’ve had to use public transport in the form of a bus, but I distinctly remember the last time I had the pleasure. I couldn’t find a single vacant seat to occupy, which resulted in me standing for the duration of the journey. It was nearly impossible to safely maintain my balance whilst the bus was moving, particularly during the stop/start of people boarding and alighting . If we apply this logic to the Vengabus, assuming everybody is indeed jumping, this would create a somewhat anarchic situation on board the vehicle when it meets traffic lights, or has to navigate around corners or through a busy city centre. People would be thrown around everywhere, like confetti at a wedding, only instead of softly and gracefully tumbling through the air until touching the ground, they would be hurtled into one another, catapulting the other occupants all over the place. One can only imagine the possible injuries and indeed, even fatalities. As fun as the idea of a completely mobile party of jumping people sounds, to me, it’s not worth taking the risk. Unless of course I could take a seat, and if I do feel the need to jump, I can choose to stand up and take part in the jumping. I’m not one to cause a fuss, I’d much rather sit down and wait for the bus to arrive at its destination.
The next part of the chorus states that the Vengabus departs from New York, and arrives at San Francisco. For anyone who might be wishing to travel from New York to San Francisco, you could always take a Greyhound bus. However they don’t offer a straight through journey, the minimum amount of changes you would have to make at first glance would be 3, and the trip would cost a total of $287. However, the Vengabus makes no mention of any transfers, so we will assume it is a direct route. Now, travelling from New York to California is a long journey, it’s actually almost 3000 miles, and if you were to make a non-stop trip it would take 42 hours. But we would need to factor in stoppages for refuelling the bus, and presuming the Vengabus doesn’t have any on board conveniences like a toilet or food and drink vending machines. So in reality, it would probably take 3 days of constant travelling, factoring in stoppage times for toilet and food breaks from the intercity travelling disco. I do enjoy a party, but I think that 3 days of constant partying on a moving vehicle sounds rather hellish, and the novelty would soon wear thin. Especially if it is true that it is in fact a non stop disco party, in which case it would be near impossible to get any sleep to recharge ones batteries. In the chorus, we are also informed that “happiness is just around the corner” - however, me being the pessimist, I find it very hard to believe, especially if the Vengabus is packed with rowdy party animals jumping around. It sounds like absolute hell, for 3 days, in a confined space.
In the music video, we see Vengaboys member John Curtis driving the bus. If he is the only member of the Vengaboys who holds the appropriate Public Service Vehicle license required in order to drive a bus in the UK, (I’m sure there is a similar system in the USA) then EU regulations for driving would have to come in to play, which state that for every 2 hours spent driving, the driver must take a 45 minute break before the next 2 hours of driving can commence. This would dramatically delay the arrival time from New York to San Francisco, although since America is not part of the EU, we can presume that such regulations don’t apply in the USA. However, if we go back to our conclusion that the journey would take a minimum of 42 hours constant driving, if we factor in 45 minute breaks every 2 hours, the journey time suddenly ramps up to a much higher number. More time spent colliding with other inebriated party-goers onboard the bus of horrors.
Looking at the evidence, I can safely conclude that the Vengabus should remain a fiction of the late 90s, and for long distance travelling, it’s probably for the best if we take a train, or hop onboard a Megabus or National Express (or Greyhound for the USA readers). Besides, all you need is a vivid imagination, an MP3 player of some description, and to be surrounded by non-judgemental people, who won’t be alarmed when you start to flail your arms around in a rather undignified manor, and you can have your very own Vengabus, for a fraction of the price, and you get to choose the destination!
However, for the die hard party animals amongst you, in the region of Scotland at least, all is not lost! One entrepreneur has taken it upon themselves to recreate the Vengabus! It looks quite different from the version in the video, but you can hire it for your private events. Have a look at http://www.vengabus.co.uk, and make up your own minds on that one. Personally, I’d rather just stay at home.
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