/ Travel & Leisure

Can you create a consumer complaint, all in rhyme or song?

Southern Fail Musical

Long suffering Southern commuters took matters into their own hands, offering some light relief while still hammering home the point for action, with ‘Southern Fail: the musical’. So can you get your creative juices flowing for a consumer cause?

This week marks the one year anniversary of Southern Railway hitting the headlines after announcing an emergency timetable that cut services massively due to staff shortages, industrial action and engineering works.

In truth, as a Southern Rail passenger myself, commuters were at the end of their tethers last year after years of pretty poor service. A year on and not much has changed for passengers.

So where can you turn when there’s seemingly no light at the end of the (Balcombe) tunnel?

‘Would you mind explaining our anguish and existential dilemma through the medium of song?’

‘Don’t mind if I do’

Musical musings

Welcome to Southern Fail: the musical, directed by Mark Brailsford, starring Annie Harris and Javier Rasero.

As Brailsford told the BBC in June ahead of the musical’s premiere in Brighton:

‘Satire doesn’t really change the world, but it can add its little 10 pence. It channels people’s anger and shines a mirror up to the issue’

Channelling the Southern Rail anger (and there’s a lot of it) into satire and song has struck a chord with commuters. As a fellow Southern sufferer and campaigner, I headed down to Brighton for the show’s final night.

Sometimes laughter really is the best medicine. From industrial relations, the boardroom to the government – no one gets off lightly in a show that had the audience laughing while nodding along in agreement throughout.

The only downside was knowing I had to get the train back to East Croydon after.

Southern Fail Musical East Croydon

Creative complaints

We all know just how creative the Which? Conversation community can be, so this got us thinking, which other consumer grievances could use a creative musical shake-up?

Does slow broadband make you want to Twist and Shout? Or maybe you just Want to Break Free from your energy company – we want to hear your own ideas for full-blown musicals and individual songs.

To help out, here’s some inspiration from the Southern Fail musical itself:

  • – Leaves on the Line (Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond),
    – Hayward’s Heath (Echo Beach – Martha and the Muffins), or
    – I Can See Crawley Now (I Can See Clearly Now – Johnny Nash).

We’re looking forward to seeing what you come up with!


There’s going to be a price hike
For those who take the train
But even when we’re paying more
Some things will never change.

You’ll still be waiting on the platform
For the 16.24
Drinking your body weight in coffee
While you wait an hour more.

Then when you finally board the train
You’ll be lucky to find a seat
And even with the windows open
You’ll be flagging in the heat.

There’ll be people standing up
And there’ll be others on the floor
So you’ll almost miss your stop
Because you can’t get out the door.

But don’t worry if you’re hungry
Or in need of a drink or two
The profit making trolley
Will always make it through.

If you need to use the wifi
Then you’ll have to pay a fee
Unless you travel first class
Then you might just get it free.

So if I want to make a journey
Then I’ll always take the car
Because although I’d rather not
It’s still the best by far.