Tuesday 19 December 1995
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.
Life & Style blogs
Office plants computer chips under workers’ skin instead of ID cards
Snapchat removed the Best Friends list feature and 'stalkers' are upset
Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
Eight-year-old girl Camilla Lisant suggests possible cancer treatment to her scientist father over the dinner table
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
- 1 Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 3 Dad attempts revenge on teenage daughter, plan backfires spectacularly
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...
£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...