the TOP FIVE
James Gill (still me) used to write a weekly topical Top Five for thelondonpaper. Here he claws/rolls back the years with a [hopefully] regular Top Five. Strap in...
Top five people on the Tube at rush hour who perhaps aren’t cut out for the Tube at rush hour:
5) The Person Who Screams, “Can You Move Down Please?”: They've possibly lived in London too long. Yes, the people in the middle of the carriage perhaps do have a shade more room than those wedged by the door, but the volume and vitriol in the bellow would have you assume they’re all in hammocks, sipping pina coladas and listening to Aswad. The volume of the shout also smacks of someone who perhaps doesn’t get listened to at home. You know what this person needs? A hug. And someone who’ll listen. Ideally a therapist. An excellent therapist.
4) The Couple Who Once Had It All: They’re in their 50s, she is possibly wearing a fur, him a tweed suit that has seen better days (pocket handkerchief guaranteed). She has the haunted look of someone who used to have a driver and now... this. Oh-oh – she’s just seen a tattoo and now looks like she might be physically sick. It never used to be like this; not until Gerald invested in that Kazakhstani mining company. StupidfuckingGerald. Heart-breaking and heart-warming in equal measure; they’re one of us now.
3) The Determined Newspaper Reader: Yes, there are 100 people squeezed together so tight you’re convinced Kriss Akabusi is about to appear at the next stop and declare, “Record breaker!” But that’s not stopping a portly man in a tight suit from reading the Evening Standard. It’s his paper and he’ll read it, goddammit! And yes, he needs to hold it open across an entire double-page spread, thank you very much. Who cares that his sweaty, swollen hand is in your stupid, selfish face? Patrick bloody Barclay won't read himself, you cretin.
2) Person Who Has To Get Off The Tube First: Elderly women, the infirm, mothers with pushchairs. These are just some of the losers who need to clear out of the way for this legend, who frantically elbows and barges his way off the Tube with all the grace and élan of a tanked-up Brian Blessed doing an impression of a complete and utter git. You've tried to get in a crafty elbow as he's steamed past, only to then feel terrible for the rest of your journey.
1) The Sigher: If you’re audibly sighing at people for committing the crime of accidentally nudging you on the Tube, you haven’t lived in London for very long. This person also tuts, rolls their eyes and, yes, even shakes their head every time someone has the audacity to gently brush against the hem of their coat, despite the fact no one else has room to move their arms. Cheer yourself up with the thought of how this person would react to something genuinely bad. Such as being strangled to death for sighing.