SouthWest trains, getting rather too into the spirit of the day, decided that the best way to promote intimacy this morning would be to cancel the 7:41 (‘Due to engineering works in Woking’) and squeeze everyone onto the Weybridge train instead. The transparent feebleness of the excuse was the giveaway but the joke would have been funnier had they come up with a more relevant excuse (‘Due to Venus moving into the house of Mars’?). Obviously that one wasn’t loaded up onto the excuseometer so they just used the most implausible one they could find. (Woking? How on earth – other than through searing incompetence – could engineering works in Woking have anything to do with anything about the Brentford train?). Anyway, their ploy worked, we were cheek by jowl, and to prolong the fun the train then ran late so I got to work a Silverlink-esque 21 minutes late this morning.
However, I may have found some explanation for the higher-than-normal levels of grumpiness recorded yesterday. According to The Guardian (fount of all knowledge, or at least the only paper I can bear to read) Vauxhall tube station is one of those trialling playing soothing classical music to reduce anti-social behaviour. As it happens, I had noticed this a week or so ago but was obviously so calmed by the strains of Bach or Mozart coming out over the tannoy that it didn’t make it into one of my daily rants. After the usual pseudo-science about threatening stimuli* and excitatory hormones* the article points out that the real effect of these schemes is to shift the anti-social behaviour somewhere else – such as, to pluck an example at random, onto my train. No doubt this means pretty soon nowhere will be safe from the sound of generic Bachzart and it will soon be compulsory to play it even in our own homes. The alternative is a more creative approach by the powers that be on ASBOs. Never mind loud parties and shop-lifting and persistent vandalism – there are perfectly good laws against those activities anyway. Bring on the first ASBO for persistently putting your bag on the seat, or failing to shift your knees out of the way when people are trying to get past. Now that’s antisocial.
* Ooh er. But it is valentine’s day after all