Friday, 13 August 2010

Don't be pushed around, Richard

My friend Richard is a brave man.

He lives in London and he tells me that he is going to start a campaign to improve the manners of the London populace. He is tired of being elbowed into the gutter on Oxford Street, and when he holds the door open for young people entering shops, they sweep past him in jabbering herds without an acknowledgment, as though he wasn't there. He remembers the time when the English were a quiet, polite race and he is determined to restore this courteous behaviour.

The mainstay of his campaign method is to trip them up as they go by. I think he's learnt this subtle technique from Match of the Day. A judicious clip of the ankle is all it takes. Apparently they often apologize to him, as they stumble into the path of an oncoming taxi.

I have strongly recommended that he continues this campaign as I think the mental exercise will be good for him, and the ensuing fisticuffs which will regularly ensue will keep him fit. And there is a good chance that his widow will get compensation from the Criminal Injuries Board.

I have however also pointed out to him that London is no longer England, and the vast majority of people in Oxford Street are not even British. He should come to live here in Somerset where total strangers will not only thank you for holding the door open, they'll stop for a prolonged chat about tractors or mole-traps.

Unless you're in a queue at the Post Office, in which case it will be an old lady chatting to the assistant about her grandchildren and their recent holidays. If after 10 minutes you cough loudly enough they'll sometimes look round, and if you keep coughing they'll look round again with a frown and drop their change on the floor, which rolls in several directions under the crowded stands displaying sweets and bath salts. It then takes 20 minutes to get every penny back in the purse before the next customer can be served. And even then she won't move from the counter until she's said "Did you give me the stamps, dear? Now, where did I put them?..... Oh yes! well bye-bye dear, remember me to your mother".


  1. This affliction is also as far north as Glasgow. Although MOST people will still thank you for holding a door open for them.

    It tends to be the shell-suited brethern who don't bother much about manners.

    In Glasgow, although most of us sound as if we might punch you in the face, we are quite a courteous bunch.

    Except of course if you are a suicide bomber at Glasgow airport, then we actually DO punch you in the face. Even when you are on fire.

    Ali x

  2. Quite right too, even if he was a doctor