Which one gets the thumbs up?
A quick glimpse is all we get to decide whether to give a lift to a hitcher. With these images of hard-shoulder hopefuls, photographer Simon Prentice asks us to examine our prejudices. Words by Michael Booth
Saturday 13 November 1999
Any judgement of the hitcher's decline must, however, remain anecdotal. I contacted motoring organisations and Government departments, but, amazingly, none of them had ever even been asked for this kind of information, let alone compiled any. All I could find was the Guinness Book of Records' claim that a German, Stephan Schlei, has hitched 501,750 miles since 1972.
However, photographer Simon Prentice has lived near the start of the M32 in Bristol for five years and during that time has watched the number of hitchers waiting there decline from around eight at any one time to a mere four or five a day. He set out to photograph them for posterity. "I chose the festival season because I thought there'd be more younger people about. Actually, half of them were car delivery men trying to save on their return train fares. They hold up their delivery plates and other delivery drivers pick them up." According to Simon, these drivers get picked up quickest, with single and especially two females together being the next most popular. Older single men can often stand around for hours: "One guy with quite a scary face had to stay overnight waiting to be picked up," says Simon, who also picked up some good tips from the hitchers he met: "Apparently if you're a girl you stand a better chance if you're carrying flowers because people think you are a harmless hippy. And one bloke swore by eating a banana while he hitched because he said it made him look like a softer, new man."
Life & Style blogs
Dating site hack reveals sexual secrets of 4 million users
Anorexic actress Rachael Farrokh told by hospitals she is too skinny to treat
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?
New Zealand 'the best country to work as a prostitute', says sex worker advocacy group
What do the emoji on Snapchat mean?
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
Labour leadership: Battle lines are drawn as members battle over party's ideology at first hustings of the contest
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
- 1 JK Rowling horrified by Harry Potter actor Matthew Lewis's raunchy photoshoot
- 2 As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
- 3 The ten most unequal developed countries in the world
- 4 Saudi Arabia 'seeking to head United Nations Human Rights Council'
- 5 New Zealand 'the best country to work as a prostitute', says sex worker advocacy group
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...