Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday Morning Tube Rant: People Who Crack Open a 6-pack on Public Transport

Let me tell you a story.  A story about an endearing, young Asian-American girl on her way back from visiting her boyfriend, who was working in Paris at the time, to York, via London Kings Cross.

Feeling emotionally fragile and teary, this sweet girl boarded an evening GNER train (back in the day when GNER was still in business, before being taken over by National Express) for the three-hour journey up to York, only to notice that the train was quickly filling up with what seemed to be a bizarrely large amount of skin-head, leather jacket wearing, steel-toed boot donning, obnoxious loud men - none of whom were below 6-foot tall.  She couldn't quite make out what they were saying as they seemed to be speaking a different language.  'French,' she said to herself, as it made sense, seeing as how she had just come from Paris on the Eurostar.  'French skinheads,' she repeated to herself.  But then again, it sounded like English.  A very strange dialect of English, if one existed.  Then came the six-packs, four-packs of cider, lager, Smirnoff ices - more alcohol than she had ever seen.

"Gidoopthinluv," said a six-foot thug peering over her.  "Excuse me?" I - I mean, the girl - squeaked.  He motioned to the seats his friends were slowly filling beside her as they became increasingly loud, rambunctious and threatening.  She gladly gave up her seat and saw a poor elderly woman, who could not have been younger than 83, forced to stand as the train lurched forward.  As the train made its way up north, the men became increasingly drunker and louder.  Then they started singing songs.  Or at least, it sounded like a song.  It was more like unintelligible chanting.

A man (a normal man, might I add - in fact, a kindly man) spotted my rising panic, sucked air in between his teeth and grinned at me.  "They're a bit rough, aren't they," he said.  "Those Geordie lads.  Harmless, really, but loud."  "Excuse me?" I asked, confused and panicked at the same time.  He cleared his throat.  "There was a game today - these are Newcastle fans.  These boys are heading back up."

Suddenly, the smoke cleared in my head and I understood.  Football.  Not Nazis.  Geordies.  Not French.  "Donnnnn youuuuuuu cryyyyyyy my luvvvv," shouted a thug in my face, seeing my splotchy face after I'd called John in distress, describing in a rambling way about how the French alcoholic skinheads were about to kill somebody, namely me.  But he turned out to be a nice one and drunkenly offered me his seat.  "Youuuuu sit right thurrrrr," he slurred, as he toppled over a friend who was puking in the corner.  Mmm ... splendid.  More like traumatized.

So yes, when I see people crack open a six-pack on the tube, it makes my stomach queasy and sets my nerves on fire.  The smell of cheap lager or cider filling the tube carriage is enough to make me vom.  I'm immediately brought back to the night I was tearfully subjected to the grinning, mocking, leering, jeering alcohol-fueled disgusting behavior of those Newcastle fans (and also why I developed a severe phobia about the place, which, I'm sure, is absolutely lovely).

Seriously, don't drink and ride.  It's like, so rude.


  1. this reminds me of the time i was stuck in the back of the tube headed to Wembley Park. I obviously missed my stop at Finchley Road and and to endure being squashed at the back, with singing, swaying, drunken lads, until the next 2 stops, when someone was helpful enough to shove me to the front of the doors before they shut. ahh, those footy games .. they sure bring out the team spirit...

  2. i hate footy (except for the world cup - that is different).


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