I read this the other day and thought it might be a little bit more light hearted to add to this!http://www.guardian.co.uk/attackonlo...546099,00.html
My ideal tube-riding partner
Wednesday August 10, 2005
It is hardly news that since the bombings in London there's been a weird atmosphere on the buses and especially on the tube. And since all of the suspects so far have been non-whities, race is inevitably coming into the complex matrix of risk assessment that passengers are making.
Indeed, right now there's the potential for a degree of racial profiling by the white liberal middle class not seen since the heady days of early 20th-century eugenics. Is that a Caucasian nose? Just how swarthy is that swarthy skin? There's a possible gap in the market in fact for a reissue of those pseudo-scientific racial handbooks that classified on the basis of nose length roughly how much trust an Edwardian gentleman could place in an average Malayan. (Answer, generally, none.)
However, anyone who, like me, has seen the second season of 24 will know that you can't necessarily trust anyone not to be a religious maniac terrorist - not even a nice perky blonde Californian. She could easily have been radicalised by her diabolical off-screen boyfriend.
Therefore, on the tube I myself am an equal-opportunities coward. Almost anyone can give me the willies. Man or woman, Asian, black or white, young or old.
There are, however, a few types I have identified as my preferred neighbours on the Northern line. These include:
Anyone mid-way through reading a Dan Brown
This is a great comfort. It means that upwards of a quarter of the travelling public are safe on my Ready Paranoia Reckoner. For I know the power of perverted theology is strong, but I personally feel it is still small when compared with the awesome narrative drive a Religo-thriller packs. My one caveat to this warm appreciation of Brown is that the pull of the Da Vinci Code seems so strong that it is just possible he may foster his own clique of enraged religious maniacs who try to blow up - what? Robert Ludlum?
Anyone eating anything
Surely these people are safe. If you're on your way to meet your maker, you are not, are you, going to stop en route for a foot-long tuna sub? (The exception to this rule is that I would tend to avoid anyone enjoying a Ginsters product. People eating these pasties have probably already given up on life.)
Anyone with very expensive trainers
This is just a hunch. And don't trust me on this, but anyone wearing the really high end, slightly ridiculous trainers that I won't be wearing for four or five years yet, but then will no doubt be happily slipping on, must be safe, mustn't they?
Anyone who looks like a devout Muslim
Long beards, headscarves, burkas, all are like a magnet to me right now. The level of police presence on the tubes and the policy of targeting searches surely means any Islamist-motivated attacker would eschew all outward sign of their religion.
However, it has to be noted that as a fairly ignorant atheist there's a good chance I may be attaching myself to people of any number of faiths. The rabbi, the Jain monk, the Greek Orthodox priest, all could find me sitting next to them smiling hopefully.
Anyone who is clinically obese
Like the trainers. Don't ask for the logic behind this one. They just feel safe to me.
Anyone with a comedy T-shirt
"I'm with Stupid", "I like the Pope, the Pope Smokes Dope", "Good Girls Go To Heaven, Bad Girls Go To London", "Sex Instructor, First Lesson Free" - all the people wearing these can, in my view, be waved through the bag-check for they offer society no danger.
However, I emphatically exclude from this category anyone wearing any of the "My mum/dad/brother went to London and all I got was this lousy T-shirt" spectrum. Since it seems to me that persons wearing this particular shirt are just the sort of embittered loners who might conceive a violent hatred of our decadent society. Not necessarily solely because of the comedy T-shirt purchased by a loved one. But let's just say, it won't have helped.
* Jesse Armstrong writes for Peep Show on Channel 4 and The Thick of It on BBC4.