Broke London

A car crash guide to surviving life

How not to be a dick on the tube

I have a weird affection for the tube. I personally love living in a city where you can go to a party in North London, decide it’s shit and head to your friends in Clapham and then go home via your man a la moment’s in the east.
I’ve fallen in love on the tube (if you’re reading this yellow raincoat man, you MISSED YOUR CHANCE) and ended a relationship on the tube (oh the indignity of standing awkwardly waiting for your stop whilst your freshly ex-boyfriend starts to do a cry whilst you wonder if its insensitive to put your headphones in – gaaaahh).

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Once, having bumped into a particularly… umm how can I put this…oh yes, ‘huge bastard face of an ex-boyfriend’ in the street I stood on the tube and cried those kind of unstoppable rolling down cheek tears in the aisle only to be offered a seat, tissues and some quality street by two extremely sensible and jolly Caribbean ladies who confirmed that this boy was indeed a waste of oxygen and then proceeded to make me laugh all the way home. One of them also gave me a small pack of biscuits that you usually only see at parents evenings or work events. Custard creams. The dream.
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When everything goes well the tube is pretty brill if we’re all being honest. Even delays aren’t that bad as usually you are on your way to work (i.e. somewhere you’d rather not be) and being delayed more than 10 minutes allows you to engage in day long grumbling about said delay with anyone who will listen:
“Jubilee was closed, so I had to go central which was HELL.ON.EARTH let me tell you…so I changed to Piccadilly. WHAT A MISTAKE”. (Me, Tuesday last week, all day long)
The only thing that gets me slightly irritated on the tube (i.e. so fuming that I would barge a granny out the way and laugh like a maniac) is other people. For some unknown reason, seemingly normal humans transform into massively infuriating bellends as they descend the escalators to the tube.
Here are some of the insufferable dickheads every commuter will encounter on a weekly basis. If you haven’t come across these dicks…well…it’s probably because the dick is you. Just sayin.
The ‘hey everyone I’m listening to a song, here’s a shit tinny version just for you’ dick
The other day I won two tickets to see Beyoncé live and then hang out with her afterwards but instead I decided to head on down to the central line and listen to her perform her greatest hits through the barely concealed speakers nestled in a spotty teenager’s headphones.
Seriously please dear god turn down your music. I don’t care how much this song ‘is your jam’ or ‘its bae’ or whatever the youths are calling it today. I’m an 83-year-old in a 27 year olds body and it’s taking all my willpower not to tear your headphones off and force you to eat them.
Don’t even get me started on those who openly play music out loud on their phones. I’m sorry sir the Obnoxious Twats United Club called and wanted to speak to you regarding an open spot for Chairman.
The other day I mistakenly didn’t connect my headphones and my podcast blared out to the whole carriage and I went so purple I looked like a mad sweaty beetroot of shame. True the podcast was called ‘Sex with Emily: How to love the penis’ which contributed to my shame but I was ashamed enough just to have made a noise that was louder than breathing whilst in the box of enforced silence that is our public transport system. How you can brazenly play your music and ignore the death stares surrounding you is really quite impressive. If it wasn’t such an indication of your obvious personality defect.
The singing dicks
This is simply a continuation of the above except that the dick in question has decided that the shit tinny clanging of their music is not enough to entertain you and they must add some singing too.
This singing is always out of tune and always at that weird volume where you can definitely hear it but you’re not exactly sure where it’s coming from which causes you to jerk your head around manically like a lunatic trying to ascertain who is the utter arsehole ruining your journey home.
The snogging dicks
This is utter bellendery at its very highest.
Listen guys, we get that you’re all in love and stuff. Love is grand and all that. But seriously unless this tube ride is the last time you will ever see your loved one again please refrain from eating their face.
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It’s marginally excusable on the night tube. I mean… pretty much all rules go out the window on the old night tube. On my first foray into the night tube MOD did a drunk huge cheer as the train moved off and instead of burning him at the proverbial stake (in British terms this can be translated as a sharp head turn followed by intake of breath and eyebrow raise as you slowly look back to your paper – go on do it! Yeah you’ve done that expression before! We all have!) people cheered along with him. Night tube = not normal behaviour. So by all means if you’ve had ten bottles of wine and your date is starting to look frankly irresistible, snog away. I’ll be far more concerned about the slightly green looking gentleman opposite me doing controlled pre-vom breathing.

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Yeah keep it to yourself vommy

So I’m not talking about drunken joie de vivre. I’m talking about the toe-curlingly embarrassing, nose nuzzling, starting into eyes intensely, smooching that a seemingly large percentage of Londoners like to engage in ON THEIR WAY TO WORK.
We’re talking pre 8am here.
What makes it worse is that it’s never quiet kissing either. It’s always loud and smacking slobberfests that make me gag into my metro. This isn’t PARIS ok. You aren’t 90’s Kate Moss snogging Jonny Depp to the knowing smiles of artistic onlookers. This is LONDON and we’re all miserable as sin so bugger off with your happiness.
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Spare a thought for those of us who have a big wine head even though its Monday and are unable to afford a pret breakfast even though payday is a whole two weeks away and were woken up to their boyfriend letting them know that they actually have added burping to their symphony of snoring and farting in their sleep.
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His exact words were ‘I didn’t know it was humanly possible to sleep burp but you’ve managed it. Queen o’ the gas’.
These people don’t get snogged on tubes. They get a high five and ‘see ya later gassy’ before they head on their ‘merry’ way to work.
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Spare a thought for us you smug arses.
The smelly dicks
Good god seriously why.
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I made a slurring impassioned pitch one night down the pub for some kind of hygiene related barrier to entry at the top of every tube station escalator. Sort of like a ‘you must be this tall to ride’ sign at Thorpe Park. Except this would be a ‘You must have washed this recently in order to ride lest you dissolve the nostrils of your poor fellow passengers leaving them to passively aggressively stuff tissues up their nose and stare directly at you in rage’.
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You know… something like that.
Seriously though – obviously we’ve all ridden the tube post gym/hungover/on the way home from an adult sleepover I’ll accept the possibility that I, myself, have not always been at my freshest on public transport.*
*once was so sweaty and hungover that a man got up out of his seat and fanned me with his newspaper out of genuine concern for my wellbeing.
However – please dear god tell me how it is humanly possible to smell exactly like the inside of a bin whilst on your way to work in the morning. I’m addressing this one directly to the man who stood in front of me this morning. If I could have sewed my nostrils shut I would have gladly done so, so rancid was his aroma.
The ‘we’re just having too much fun to keep it to ourselves’ dicks
The other night my pal G and I were making our way across London when we encountered one of the worst examples of humanity on the central line.
A large group of drama school types entered our carriage and one girl (let’s call her Queen Dick of Knobland) decided that she was not in fact on the tube but had, by popular demand, taken over Beyonce’s slot at the O2.
We’re talking warbling singing, we’re talking swinging around the tube poles, we’re talking some horrendous attempt at twerking that honestly made my bum go in. Even her friends looked embarrassed and one of them was wearing legwarmers seemingly not as a joke.
Message to all insufferable show off’s: NO ONE THINKS YOU’RE QUIRKY/CUTE/COOL. 90’s movies lied to us – this kind of behaviour does not = you looking like a Cameron Diaz/Kate Hudson hybrid and ending up making eye contact with a stern yet charmed Colin Firth type across the aisle. It ends up with me launching my metro at your head.
But we’re all guilty of it. I’ll hold my hands up. My friends and I have definitely been these kind of dickheads on more than one occasion.
There was cakegate when the top of a cupcake ended up being scooped off and stuck to the window of the tube. Not excellent.
Or NYE 2015 where my friends and I had got over excited pre going out and the tube ride to the venue (yes that right TO the venue, not on the way home) was spent with me slurring ‘hav youuuselve…hic… a vair mar- hic – rrry christmas…hic…’ whilst my pal B sat on a boy’s lap who at the time we thought was really hot but on reflection was probably 16 at a push.
There was also a night that my pals and I have zero recollection of but pretty damning photo evidence suggests (i.e. plainly shows) that we had drawn all over our faces in eyeliner, were lying all over the floor and I, for some unholy reason, had decided to draw myself a monobrow and shove black napkins up my nose. I mean…
So yeah my point is we’ve all done it and we will all probably do it again. But just know that whilst you’re having all the fun, everyone else in the carriage is looking at you and collectively thinking ‘DIE’.
The aggressive dick
Oh no, did you really need to get somewhere in a hurry? Is it REALLY annoying that there are other people in the tube carriage?
I tell you what would really help this situation loads. You doing some really passive aggressive muttering and adding an elbow shove or two for good measure. Everyone loves a shover. And a mutterer. I hear the mutterers have all the friends and have a flurry of attractive people just dying to sleep with them. NOT.
This one goes out to the man on the central line who thought calling me a ‘fucking idiot’ was an acceptable reaction to me not moving out of his way in 0.001 of a second.

The problem is the tube isn’t renowned for bringing out the best in people. It’s essentially a slow moving, boiling hot, fart box of misery. It sucks. But having a huge go at people only makes it ten hundred times worse for two reasons.

  • No one likes a sayer. Come on guys this is England. We don’t SAY things here. We think ‘oh you giant turd of a human being’ but instead of saying this out loud we instead give people a really pointed dirty look until they catch our eye at which point we immediately switch our facial expression to a polite smile and look up to the ceiling. Such is life.Image result for michael mcintyre say tut gif
  • Being that we are not sayers we are, as a nation, very bad at saying anything without sounding ridiculous. This is an actual interaction I heard on the tube the other day from a man who took umbrage to another man’s rucksack being in his way

M1: Excuse me did you realise that your rucksack is in my face?
M2: Sorry, MATE, but did you realise this is a very packed tube?
M1: I did realise that actually
M2: Well then
M1: Well then what?
M1: Say well then one more time
M1: oh you want well then? I’ll GIVE you well then!!
Tube doors open M1 and M2 both shuffle and engage in traditional british niceities ‘oh sorry, excuse me, sorry yep I’ll just move…yep’
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See when British people get angry we don’t sound cool and scary like Robert De Niro. When British people get angry we look and sound like a more spluttery Hugh Grant.
We say things like ‘with the greatest respect’ when what we actually mean is ‘I think you are a total idiot’ or ‘that’s a bit much’ when we really mean ‘that is both horrifying and outrageous’. We aren’t good at confrontation and it should very much stay that way because otherwise you’ll end up in my blog for having an argument that centred around the phrase ‘well then’.
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The ‘I’ll just have a whole meal right here’ dick
I was once on the overground and a lady decided that it was entirely appropriate to eat an ENTIRE CURRY sitting directly opposite me. GAK and ERLACK
The only story I’ve heard to rival this did not actually occur on public transport but is equally horrifying. My friend P once was being shown around a gym she was thinking of joining… you know because gyms always seem particularly worried that if you’re not shown each and every piece of floor tile in the place that you will somehow wedge yourself in some identifiable corner until you perish… and she entered the steam room to find an incredibly fat man eating a prawn mayo sandwich. In the steam room. Yep.
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Words fail me.
This was a bit like that without the horror of potential prawn juice seeping into your pores. The smell was inescapable and, like my pal in the steam room, I was so shocked by this that I was unable to say ‘hey, do you think you could save your main meal until you exit the overground which will be a journey of MAXIMUM an hour’ and instead just stared, took pictures of her on my phone and instagrammed her passively aggressively.
And she’s not the only one! In my time in London I’ve witnessed a lady eating a CHICKEN KIEV complete with spurty garlic centre on a BUS, a lady eating a chicken drumstick whilst queuing to go down to the tube (that is not, and I repeat, NOT an on the move snack!) and one particularly terrible criminal eating a SUSHI PLATTER on the overground from Liverpool Street to Hackney. NOT COOL.
Come on guys…have some crisps… or something inoffensive and non-smelly. Please save the totally raw fish until I don’t have to share a small, non-ventilated box with you.
The coughing dick
Lucifer in human form.
There is no one on the face of this planet that ever thought to themselves… ‘you know what this miserable journey to work is missing? Some flecks of someone else’s phlegm on my face’.
The coughing dick is the lowest of the low. They are to the tube what Channel 4 is to Bake off fans, the Simon Cowell to the deluded pop star wannabe, Jeremy Kyles lie detector to fat toothless morons protesting that they definitely didn’t sleep with their brother’s wife’s pot plant. They crush our dreams and they ruin our lives.
Too much?
I don’t think so! Because there’s a really simple remedy to showering us all in saliva oh spluttery ones. Know what it is?
Covering your fucking mouth with your fucking hand.
(In my head I said that in a Kat Slater from Eastenders voice where mouth came out in a screech like maaaaauuuuuffffff – that’s how cross I am)
Come on people, it’s bloody fundamental – just be a better human! We’re all in this together.  Don’t share your phlegm with me, I don’t want it! Let’s shower BEFORE we get on the smell exaggerator that is our public transport system. Let’s eat before we leave the house and keep our own tongues inside our respective mouths.
We can do this London! We can pull together for public transport that smells of roses and has the deathly hush of a library. YES WE CAN.
Or if we can’t at least we can always remember that it could be worse. Someone governmenty could have actually enforced those ‘Tube Chat’ badges. Then we really would be in hell.
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