Saturday, 4 April 2009

Talk, don't talk

Ok, so we all know people don't talk to each other on the tube. We don't make small talk with strangers. Now and again there are knowing looks when the driver says something funny or if some mad drunk is dancing to death metal on his ipod we all giggle together, but otherwise communication is simply unacceptable. It's ok in pub, not on the trains. It's the British way of things. Which brings me onto underground etiquette.

Pregnant women. I've a very concious person. And I always look up and make sure there isn't a woman with a bump, without a 'Baby on Board' badge. Most people never ever look up in fear of seeing a pregnant woman, because they know they will have to sacrifice their seat. Although on occasions they will simply 'fall asleep' (men in suits after a hard day at the office) or not (women) get up at all. Either from sheer selfishness or the classic 'someone else will get up in a minute' mentality.

Such is the extent of my awareness, like some kind of sixth sense, pregnant women always seem to find me. My ratio is impressive. I average about 2-3 per week. Obviously I have moments when I'm not quite sure whether the woman is pregnant or not. This is a tricky situation. If you get up and offer the seat and the woman isn't, then the embarrassment for both is devastating. It's at moments like this that I have to look for signs. If the lady who might be pregnant is looking a little tired/distressed, then it's probably a given.

It's when she doesn't that the problems begin. And more so if she is on the carriage, but due to the amount of people squashed in, she is not in my line of sight. And if she's not in my line of sight, last time I checked, I can not see through people. So I wouldn't have a clue who is standing behind two or three people.

Step forward the Marcel Marceau guardian angel to the rescue. I'm talking about other women who are standing up who can see the preggy lady, but rather than just say something out loud, they start shifting around uncomfortably waiting for someone to break their silent code.

If you can see someone who needs the seat, open your bloody mouth and tell us. Don't stand there and roll your eyes and attempt to look disgusted, pulling stupid faces. This has happened a couple of times to me. I've had one lady standing up near me, nodding her head constantly and huffing and puffing disapproval. At first I thought it was because she wanted the seat I was sitting in. I have a policy, if you are not more in need - you won't get my seat. She wasn't in need. I know what you're thinking - that old tradition where the man has to always offer his seat to a lady - but I guess I'm only a sucker for old people, people with walking sticks, holding babies, pregnant get the picture. If you're fit and healthy, then bully for me for getting to the seat before you.

Back to this lady pulling the stupid faces - all she had to do to draw attention was to say something. She could have said something to the pregnant lady. Like 'Do you need a seat?' That would have attracted everybody to the fact there's a woman with a bambino in her tummy. Or she could have smiled at me and pointed to the direction of the woman (who happened to be facing the opposite way).

Not everybody is guilty of not wanting to give up their seat to a pregnant woman. Sometimes we just don't know they are there. The woman in question did get a seat when the person sitting in front of her (a woman) got off a few stations later.

Last week, I got funny looks from another lady. Instantly obvious that there was a pregnant lady somewhere in the carriage, again, no way I could see her. I just got up and looked and offered my seat. Bless her, she said she was ok, but I insisted. I know, what a hero.

My point is simple. COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR FELLOW HUMAN COUNTERPARTS. I do not have telepathic powers or care for nodding heads and stupid disgruntled faces. Smile and be polite and make people aware someone is in need of the seat.

Seems the culture of the British is to be negative, no matter the circumstance. Far enough if a pregnant woman is in plain view and people can see her and they still ignore her - that's disgraceful.

Such is the lack of community underground, that they have to wear badges to get people to react because walking into a carriage and saying 'Hello, I'm pregnant, can you give up your seat for me?' is just not very English. And getting up and offering a seat is equally foreign.

I guess it all stems from people thinking the worse of each other. Or some kind of fear of social activity in a public place, leaving you feeling exposed in some way.

I guess the exception to the rule, for me at least, is if they see a woman they fancy - they're up off their bums faster than you can say 'no chance loser'.

Friday, 3 April 2009


So Jade is dead. Now what? What shall the vultures do now? How will their lust for celebrity flesh be satisfied? The fawned sympathy all the while willing her to give more… "Jade tell us more!?! How’s the chemotherapy going? Are you shitting yourself yet?"

Gorging themselves, filling their insatiable appetites with every word written and spoken, defecting opinions and critique … vomiting bile and pissing crocodile tears for their “Queen of Pig Ignorance” and gathering with pitchforks and flaming OK! Magazines at the gates of those who dare question the morality of this freak show.

Jade was a product, she was cash, money in the bank… there is still time to monetise her … install a web cam in the coffin… charge to watch her decompose while they tuck into TV dinners from Iceland, pick her bones clean…

If I was Overlord of the Universe

Look, this isn't exactly an original way to birth the opening post on this blog, but I'm a traditionalist and the most English of complaints is to bitch about the London Underground. Not the trains and the unacceptable daily routine of delays and signal failures. I'm referring to the idiots I share my journey to and from work with. That includes tourists who seem to think they are still on the continent, walking around at 5 mph when everyone else is fizzing at 1000 mph.

I fucking hate oblivious people. Yes 'fucking' hate them. You can tell already this blog is cutting edge stuff because I used the f word. Allow me to define 'oblivious'.

Oblivious is when people have utterly no concept of their surroundings and think they have all the time in the word to stand in the way of others while they struggle to make their minds up.

"Do I go left or do I go right?"

You'll fucking go six-feet under if you don't move out the sodding way you absolute melter. Why is it such an eternal struggle of confusion when people walk down the stairs in a tube station, and before turning right or left, stop dead still as they walk through the archway and onto the platform? Is there an invisible wall rendering people immobile? Make the decision ffs, either go to the right or go to the left. How hard can it be? If you honestly don't know where you're going you'll have better luck finding out if you move - that's move as in one foot after the other in a forward motion. You'll see dainty little maps on the wall and even one of those high-tech electronic boards that tell you when the next train is.

Standing still as a crowd forms behind you will not help you in your quest for enlightenment.

If I was overlord of the universe, I would make it legally acceptable to punch people in the back in this type of scenario. It's quite simply the only way for them to learn.

I'd apply the same rule for people who slow-walk on Oxford Street, although I would vigorously campaign to have them pushed in front of a bus as punishment.

~ Spooky