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Feeling Old and Sad on a Saturday night train

Tom Winnifrith
Monday 24 September 2012

And so I left London on Saturday night. Chocolate pizza with my daughter, a spot of business in Wandsworth and then the 9.30 from Paddington. Is there an Agatha Christie novel with a title a bit like that? Since I am now on the 4.47 AM from Bristol and cannot access the internet I do not know the answer. And feeling a bit tired ahead of a hard day in London I am not sure that I care.

The journey down to Bristol was one that made me feel old (as I was surrounded by young people) and sad (as they were all such morons.) There were a crowd who got on at Chippenham. Seven young lads and 2 very fat girls in short skirts. These are the sort of women for whom the Burkha should have been designed but instead they braved the chill night air displaying ample amounts of body fat and leaving little to the imagination. At least they were already well oiled and happily singing football songs – not knowing all the worlds to I’m forever blowing bubbles – as they ostentatiously smoked dope in the corridor. No-one batted an eyelid.

Behind me were two young ladies who got on at Chippenham of Swindon. They planned to go out to a nightclub in Bristol (we arrived at 11.30) but did not actually know any clubs, had never been to Bristol before and had not figured out how they would get home afterwards. Nightclub first – a series of frantic phone calls allowed them to establish where they were going to head off to, to get totally legless. But aha… where there are sheep there is always a wolf.

At the next table was a video-journalist from “Vice” website. This is a Shoreditch based website which writes about all the sorts of things that “nice” girls and boys should not do. Our video journalist friend serves up a weekly slot where he goes to an event out in the bookies and shows how backward, unsophisticated and boring young people who do not live in N1 or EC2 really are. “They dress up as animals at some parties” Oh how banal. This smug young man was off with his cameraman and producer to a fresher week party in Bristol. “It costs £25 but we are media so we have passes” the video journalist said very loudly in his pampered middle class way so that everyone in the carriage knew how important he was. In ten years time this bloke will be writing for the Guardian and will want me to pay £2 a month towards his wages.

As soon as the girls saw the camera and heard the words media and party there was no stopping them. As we pulled into Bristol the video journalist had a bird in each arm and was filming his introductory shot. I am sure that if he could not find anything better by the end of the evening he might have even agreed to shag them as a favour. He is “in the media” after all and they will appear on a video on a website in London.

Most of the time I still feel, aged 44 and a half, that I am quite young. On Saturday night I felt both old and glad to be old.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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