Written by Laura Lexx


An Ode to a Road: The M1

Laura Lexx is driving forward with her very roadworthy series, and this week is turning her attention to the M1. And the poor little orange bastards who call it home.

Cone-headed woman driving

Illustration by Louise Boulter.

I have suspected for some time that the M1 is not actually a road but a residential care home for traffic cones who have had a difficult life and need somewhere quiet to live out their days.

Distressed and fragile traffic cones are gathered up from the four corners of the globe and brought to the M1 to guard perfectly healthy verges and central reservations.

Human beings are very welcome to drive their cars on the M1 in these national parks, but only if they promise not to go so fast as to scare the cones. These cones are jumpy and proceeding past them at anything over 50mph would send them over the edge.

After several years of uninterrupted coning about on the M1, gloriously undisturbed by workmen or cars achieving their potential, these cones can then be returned to the wild. In some instances, sadly, the damage is irreversible and the cone must be fully retired to a student’s living room or front garden.

I avoid the M1 at all costs. Entering on to it is like admitting you didn’t really want to arrive at your destination that week anyway, so who cares if you sit outside Nottingham crying on the steering wheel for a few hours? At least there is a rare endangered species of cone nearby for you to look at while you stew.

I’ve spent weeks of my life sitting on the M1. Sometimes you’re there long enough to believe you might actually be a cone yourself… of course you didn’t think you were a cone when you got on the motorway, but maybe all of these cones are just people who up until recently owned a Peugeot 307 and thought they’d have time for a coffee en route?

Maybe you’re in a Goosebumps book? Maybe you’ll wake up tomorrow and be a frozen neon orange beacon screaming at the passing traffic to use the A1(M) next time before it’s too late!

“The M1 is awful. If it was a politician it would be Hunt, or Trump, or Gove… or literally any of them.”

It’s hard to comment on the scenery or service stations on the M1 because it is only humanly possible to be completely preoccupied with the flashing orange bastards waving cheerfully from their refuge. It’s like a nihilistic look at what a visit to Longleat will be when we’ve finished decimating the planet.

Of course, one shouldn’t blame the cones. What a miserable life being a traffic cone: spaced apart just enough that you can see your friends but never hug them; every 10th one given a special flashy thing but no clearly outlined career path for how they might all go about earning one. Brainwashed into believing that simply ‘being orange’ is enough to defend them from a Volvo.

Practically speaking, the M1 connects London to Leeds via an awful lot of relatively uneventful scenery interspersed with a few awesome industrial looking… no, no I can’t do it. There’s no point trying to evaluate something’s merits as a something when it is a completely ineffectual example of that something.

Please don’t use this road – if you take anything from this article it’s that the sheer inefficiency of this tarmacked behemoth has sent a woman crazy enough to believe that even a cone might want to hug another cone. Nothing would hug a cone.

The M1 is awful. If it was a politician it would be Hunt, or Trump, or Gove… or literally any of them.

The M1 is the politician of roads; promising efficiency and expediency and delivering nothing but an excruciatingly slow procession to slightly short of where you wanted to be in a much longer time than anticipated.


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Written by Laura Lexx

I am a comedian, writer, baker and glorious feminist. I am nothing if not enthusiastic about everything. @lauralexx