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March 18, 2010

I’m well aware I’m an old curmudgeon. I know I should take note of my own self-observations and try to change. But sometimes the harder route is too hard and pointless.

I’m booked on a Virgin Train from London Euston to Coventry. It’s the 1003, although the departure time is unimportant.

I’ve got a ticket booked. I’ve got an hour to catch up on work. I need to sit down at a table, plug in my laptop and get on with it.

I find my seat. It’s a table seat and at this moment in time no one else is sitting at it. My seat is an aisle seat, but the power connection is a window seat. I quickly make the assessment that if there are other people booked to sit around this table they’ll surely not mind if I’m sat in the window seat. After all, I need the power connection. Take a chance. I’m sure any reasonable person will see my need and (assuming they don’t need it themselves) will see how sensible a proposition I’m making.

“Oi mate,” says an olive skinned twentysomething bloke with shining eyes and a boyish smile, “that’s mi man’s seat you’re sitting in there. You need to move.” A slightly less than oil-painting-ready friend emerges from behind him and smiles apologetically.

“Would you mind if we swapped seats?” I ask hopefully, “I need the power connection.”

“No. Move.”

Employing my usual performance technique, I pack up my bag noisily and move temporarily over to the other side of the carriage.

“Are you going to move your bag?” asks the first chap. “I can’t get my stuff up there.”

“Here,” I say dripping with sarcasm, “let me get that large oversized bag out of the way so you can get yours up there instead. I’ll just move mine a little way to the right to make things more convenient for you.”


I wait for the two of them to settle themselves into their window seats along with world weary attitudes alongside them. Everyone seems cosy in their positions so I take up mine again, setting up my MacBook, my new pen and pad and passing the mains connection across the chap to my right. “Would you mind plugging that in? I know its terribly incovenient but I need to charge my laptop.”

That’s how I’m sat on the train on the way to Coventry. Writing this and fuming in my self-indulgent indignance as I do so. The graduates to my right talk with a “cool” tone about their future careers in the media, the dope they’ve got in their pockets and how they’ll be so completely wasted when they finally smoke it over the weekend. One of them hasn’t touched a drop of alcohol for three months and has “gone off” drum and bass.

God, give me strength. When you do break into the media industry you’ll be drinking every night. Your puppy dog looks will transform into a bloated profile. Your skin will go to pieces. You’ll look rough as fuck and you’ll turn into a cynical arsehole. That will also be the time when peer pressure will be so great that the verbal tick you currently have using the word “man” to finish every sentence and sub-clause will finally be cured.

And believe me, when that happens I’ll be selling tickets. I’ll want to profit from it. Don’t think you’ll be getting a percentage either.

Anger. It’s so not becoming, is it? Really, this blog post is saying far more about me than it is about them. It’s only a seat. I’ve got my laptop plugged in. I’ve got a table to work at. They’ve long sinced passed caring about our exchange. Which one of us around this table is angry?

I know I should be more grown up. But I’m happy to be transparent.

It’s at times like this when liberal views and a laid back attitude are tiresome and pointless. Sometimes a far more middle class hysterical reaction to things is the path to tread, even if it risks chipping away at my public service ethos and prompts the usual slew of abusive comments to be sent to me asking for moderation.

Bring it on.

From → Media

  1. Rachel permalink

    Jonny, I love you to bits, you can always make me smile!

  2. If this had happened to me I would have been so petulant I would have made you look like a choirboy. (And that’s some feat…)

    • I did mention this to the chap. He snorted with derision. At that point we bonded.

  3. James permalink

    I think I love you Jon!!!

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