I've signed petitions on Change.org before but until one apparently unremarkable morning earlier this year, I'd never imagined I would write one myself - or that it would take off in quite the way it has.
March 2015: while struggling to navigate the daily crush at the Canterbury West station turnstiles I looked to the heavens and tried to go to my happy place (which is anywhere quiet and devoid of people - and turnstiles), but was prevented from doing so by the person directly in front of me, whose earphones were leaking the distinctive sound of Kanye West's Gold Digger.
The tune lodged itself in my mind and stubbornly remained there as I walked to work, as did a simmering disgruntlement towards Southeastern (the managers of Canterbury West), who charge premium fares yet treat their customers like cattle. The two names circled around each other ... Canterbury West ... Kanye West ... and in that moment a crazy idea was hatched.
I didn't spend hours creating the petition and its accompanying "artist's impression"; contrary to recent suggestion online, I do have better things to do with my time. After finding a home for it on Change.org I circulated it to friends but I didn't make any great effort to publicise it. It picked up a few signatures and raised some laughs - especially among those who have firsthand experience of Southeastern's "particular set of skills".
And then I forgot all about it ... until a few days ago when the number of signatures suddenly climbed and I discovered that the Canterbury Times (for reasons unknown to me) had decided to run it as a story. From then on things moved quickly as other news outlets picked it up and - like a game of Chinese Whispers - some of the details began to mutate: the commuter (me) became a "Kanye West superfan", and the name-change was described as something that "might" happen.
For the record: I'm not a Kanye fan; nor am I a "hater" for want of a better word. I have no idea if he genuinely believes his own messianic hype, but he's succeeded brilliantly in getting people to buy into it and, as such, presents an irresistible target for satire. I can also confirm that I am not Dave Gorman in disguise, although I have acquired more than enough bemused and sometimes outright furious comments to generate a Gorman-style "found poem", so thank you all for that.
Might Canterbury West actually be renamed Kanye West? Of course it won't. Is this even news? Of course it isn't. There are many, far more worthy petitions on Change.org. A few of them might even make a difference to the world. You might even be the one to write it. But you'll never know until you try. (Tip: an oversized golden head seems to work wonders.)