Thanks, Lukas, for your transport of delight

Share

It was Loelia Ponsonby, and not Margaret Thatcher, who said that "a man who, beyond the age of 30, finds himself on a bus can count himself as a failure". To recap for recent arrivals to Britain and those whose memory of early 20th-century aristocracy is a little rusty: Lady Ponsonby was the third of four wives of the second Duke of Westminster, a leading Bright Young Thing and a close friend of Ian Fleming, who named M's redoubtable secretary in the early Bond novels after her. (She became Miss Moneypenny in the films.) As such, had she not died in 1993, she might have been delighted by the antics of today's Premier League footballers. But not by the behaviour last week of Lukas Podolski.

Podolski is only 27, and German, so he can be forgiven for not understanding that in Britain, dahlings, serious people do not take the bus. Arsenal's shiny new forward was spotted last week jumping on a single-decker in Hampstead, north London, and heading into town to Pizza Express and the pub. In the pictures, he is smiling rather excitedly and holding a brown paper bag. The Non-U among us would like to think that it contained cod and chips with a serviette, which was proscribed by Nancy Mitford as terribly Npower League Two, especially given that eating food anywhere other than a dining table is already infra dig. But given that he is a Premier League footballer and is therefore unfeasibly minted, it was probably dragon's eggs with a gold leaf jus.

Podolski came to Arsenal from the German team FC Köln this season, for an undisclosed sum that was likely to be around £10m. He is probably paid a good deal more than £50k a week. It's safe to say, then, that he didn't get the bus because he had to. And the grin on his face as he queued up to board shows what the bus-fearing snobs are missing: sitting in the top deck front seat and pretending to drive; sitting in the back seat and snogging; peering down the periscope and waving at the driver …. Taking the bus is the best fun. There's a reason why there's no children's song about the wheels on the Ferrari going round and round.

Even Virginia Woolf, in Mrs Dalloway, appreciated the high-flying thrill of taking a seat upstairs, as Elizabeth Dalloway bravely boarded an omnibus to the Strand: "… it was like riding, to be rushing up Whitehall …". Cliff Richard and his pals in Summer Holiday illustrated the sense of freedom that comes with an open road and an AEC Regent III RT. Paddington Bear, naturally, was a fan of the bus. (Maybe Podolski had marmalade sandwiches in his paper bag.)

In a 2009 survey by Salford University, the psychologist Dr Tom Fawcett claimed that where one sits on a bus is determined by personality. Those in the middle seats, where Podolski sat, are independent thinkers. Let's hope that remains true of Arsenal's new signing, and that he does not turn into a fast car-driving, cocktail-drinking, common-or-garden British footballer. Britain will forgive him most things if he continues taking the omnibus. Even if he does eat his mushy peas with a fish knife.

twitter.com/@katyguest36912

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

If I were Prime Minister: Every privatised corner of the NHS would be taken back into public ownership

Philip Pullman
 

Errors & Omissions: Magna Carta, sexing bishops and ministerial aides

John Rentoul
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links