30 August, 2006

Leg it

There was an incident on the Underground this evening involving a group of youths, a businessman and an older bloke in a suit who ended up playing the role of honest broker and peacemaker.

It happened just as the train had pulled into Brent Cross and the doors had opened. Because of the inordinate number of bodies crammed into the carriage it was impossible to see precisely what happened, but it looked like the youths charged at the businessman, presumably in an attempt to relieve him of some of his expensive belongings, but got waylaid by the aforementioned older bloke and the sheer amount of people standing in the way.

I say presumably, but I can't think what other reason they would have for charging at the man, other than purely for the sake of it, which may have been true were we all in a playground and not an Underground carriage bristling with travellers festooned with all sorts of very obvious pricey accessories such as phones and MP3 players. Why folk have to make such a habit of displaying their costly wares is a mystery to me, rendering them as it does a walking invitation for pickpockets.

Anyway the youths ended up tripping over themselves, which was quite amusing, and then being made to stand in a group on the platform while the victim, the honest broker, and a few other people who joined in for the excitement, carried out some kind of inquisition. The behaviour of everyone else left on the train was absolutely shameless: desperately peering out to see what was going on, necks craned, eyes popping, tongues wagging.

Anything out of the ordinary, anything exhibiting the merest whim of scandal or controversy, anything involving somebody being apparently wronged by somebody else, and you can guarantee you'll have a train full of commuters agog. After all, it's why so many of them read the Daily Mail.


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