NO-HEADLINE

On 27 December, after the big movie at 10.50pm on BBC1, my film Sorry About Last Night is being transmitted. This is a hilarious romantic comedy starring myself and the wonderful Siobhan Redmond, and I have been travelling round the country publicising it on local TV and radio. Mostly I travel on these excursions by train because travelling first class on the train is, or at least used to be, a lot more relaxing than travelling by car. Even five years ago first class on the InterCity used to have the contemplative calm of the British Museum Reading Room - occasionally, servants would glide in offering coffee and mints, but apart from that the studious atmosphere meant you could read or catch up on some writing, but not no mo' homeboy! As I sit here on the four o'clock going up to Manchester, there is an appalling cacophony going on around me. There are two men muttering business stuff into little micro tape recorders, there is the clack-clack of keyboards of three laptop computers and, of course, worst of all, there is the constant chirrup of mobile phones ringing. In order to blot out all these distracting noises I've been forced to take up the jazz trombone, on which I practise my scales as we whizz through the countryside. If I don't have my trombone with me and I don't want to be left out in the noise-making stakes, then I just shout into an old biscuit tin at my imaginary friend Geoffrey. "Hello, Geoffrey," I yell at the top of my voice, "It's me, Alexei. I just wanted to tell you we've just passed through Nuneaton - should be in Stafford in a bit. Yeah, I'm going to ... hello? ... hello? ... sorry, we got cut off for a minute there, Geoff. We went into a tunnel ... hello? ... hello? You still there? Hello?"

Mind you, an even worse phenomenon than mere noise pollution occurred to some friends of mine recently. They travelled first class to Manchester and back to see United play Chelsea at Old Trafford and both ways they had the misfortune to be seated next to what they said was the most appalling Eighties-style, upper-class yuppie, who brayed all the way up on his mobile phone about stocks and shares and skiing holidays and all the way back on the return trip he shouted into his phone various racist remarks about some of the black players.

I've been unable to forget about this incident since I heard the story - and I've never ever regretted not being somewhere more than I've regretted not being there. And I can tell you I've missed out on some big stuff in my time: I turned down an invite to an epoch-making early Sex Pistols gig on the grounds that I was going to stay in and wash my hair, and once, and I swear this is true, I was making a film in the South of France and the female lead (the Flashdance star Jennifer Beales, one of the most beautiful women in the world) invited me to dine with her at Paul Bocuse's restaurant just outside Lyon - probably the best restaurant in the entire world and I turned her down! Because I was fed up with French food and I wanted to go home and at the exact time when I could have been dining on wild strawberries with this gorgeous intelligent woman I was eating a Ginsters Cornish Pasty on Dover station, so don't tell me about missed opportunities.

But I wish more than anything that I'd been on that train with that horrible bloke because, after all, how often do you see a yuppie these days, much less beat one up? And the great thing would be that while you were smacking this bastard you'd be advancing the cause of anti-racism at the same time.

However, I wasn't there. We get so few chances to test ourselves these days - it's got to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do the right thing, to make a principled stand, and I missed it. So now I fantasise endlessly about what I'd do in that situation - whether I'd just quietly lean over and say: "Mate, how about keeping your filthy racist remarks to yourself?" and then when he inevitably gave me some lip I'd pop him one in the mouth, smack, just like that. Yes, I'm almost definitely certain that if I was in that situation I'd probably absolutely definitely do what was the right thing, almost no doubt about it. But I wasn't there, so I dream on. I think that maybe I'd just ask to have a look at his phone, then, when he proudly showed it to me, I'd stamp on it and smash it into a thousand pieces and then I'd fight with him - even if he was much bigger than me. Also in some of my fantasies about this evil git I'm wearing a strapless black cocktail frock and high heels - but we won't go into that.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

    Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

    Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

    £90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

    Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

    £100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

    Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

    £45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

    Day In a Page

    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

    Cabbage is king again

    Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

    Paul Scholes column

    The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
    Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee