I’ll be dummy


I started commuting in 1974.

Activities within train carriages have changed somewhat over the decades.

These days everyone is in their own space, their own world, together with their headphones, which are now in all shapes, sizes and colours: they no longer just come in orange foam.

Some like to share their travelling experiences: although I realise I’m never going to be a big fan of rap (also, I’m more Alfie Bass than drum ‘n’ bass).

In 1974 I remember people bought newspapers; I got mine from a man outside Balham Station who called everyone “John” – which was why he was selling papers and not writing for them as his attention to detail was poor.

I’d like to say I’d completed the Times crossword by Stockwell, but this is the boy who struggled on most return journeys with the picture puzzle inside the Evening News.

You can’t smoke in trains anymore, plus the luggage racks aren’t made of rope, thus making Tarzan impressions harder as you can’t swing from one side of the carriage to another.

No longer do I sit on trains where there are bridge schools going on, French tuition being held outside the Buffet carriage or Pilates in First Class.

But the good news is that if you want to play Solitaire, you don’t need the entire table anymore!

People still stare at my Walkman (this isn’t a euphemism).

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