Public Transport: Your fellow travellers in London (Part one)

Public Transport by Tom NashI’ve spent this past week journeying my way around this illustrious country’s capital city, giving me plenty of time to observe those who frequent trains, trams, buses and the Tube in and around good ol’ London town.

My findings are as follows:

The suit
You can tell that these people are VERY busy and VERY important by the speed of their stride and their willingness to squeeze themselves into the tiniest spaces on the busiest Tube trains. Briefcases are essential, not necessarily to transport important documents, but to act like a cow-catcher, clearing a path in front of them without having to resort to actually engaging another human being. Wherever it is you are travelling to and for whatever reason, just be aware that it is much more important that they get where they are going. Now move.

The tourist

You can break this lot into two groups too: domestic and foreign

Foreign tourists have eyes full of wonder, ‘I ❤ London’ t-shirts and expensive cameras around their necks. Rather than something to dread, rush hour is something to experience and savour. Tube station signs are suitable places for photo opportunities during this time. The suit can often be found huffing and tutting before barging through a crowd of these guys.

Domestic tourists have eyes full of fear, heads full of horror stories and anything vaguely expensive hidden away or clutched tightly to their chest.

The DJ
These delightful young members of society like to soundtrack their lives with generic R&B or crap Hip Hop. Rather than do this with a set of earphones, it is much more important to show the world their awful taste in music by playing it through a tinny mobile phone speaker.

They aren’t generally found on the Tube, but you can pretty much guarantee that there will be at least one at the back of the upper deck of a bus. If you are really lucky, they will also use the journey as an opportunity to showcase their rapping or singing talents, just in case there’s a record exec sitting somewhere nearby and not a bus full of pissed off, tired commuters.

Don’t knock it- it worked for Shola Ama (…exactly).

The drunk
You get two types: The entertaining drunk and The obnoxious drunk

The former is desperate to continue the evening’s merriment for as long as possible and will usually do so on public transport through the medium of song. You can almost guarantee that they will attempt to rouse a whole train carriage or upper deck of the bus into rapping the theme of ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel Air’, or start singing their team’s football chants, at which point our other example will rear their heads.

The obnoxious drunk is often The ‘hard’ man we meet in the nightclub. Having failed to pull all night, they will have one last ditch attempt with anything on the bus/train and generally be just as arsehole-y as they are in drinking venues when, inevitably, they fail.

They are also the sort of people that feel it is OK to spark a fag or joint and stink up the whole place for everyone else.

The loud haler
You’d be amazed how quietly you can talk on a mobile phone in a public place and the person on the other end still hear you. Not that this fucker knows that, of course; you could be mistaken for thinking that they’re a ‘Town-Cryer’ in training. They can sometimes be The suit brokering some VERY important business stuff but let’s face it, generally they’re not.

It tends to be some chavvy monstrosity having a loud and aggressive row, usually with their mum/dad/boyfriend/girlfriend/’bredrin’/social worker/probation worker/child. Nice.

More to come.