Thursday, 10 February 2011

A Short Scene From The Underground

It's 6.15pm on the London Underground. The Circle Line.
Two young lads are sitting side by side at the end of a Tube carriage, and having a passionate discussion. The lad wearing the beanie is confidently advising his companion on what he knows about the world. His mate listens, clearly fascinated.

I am sitting across from them. Though I am pretending to read, for the journey home, I am their audience.

Beanie: Like, prostitution for instance. It would be so much safer if it was legal. I mean, if somethin' is happening and you can't stop it, isn't it better to make it safer?
Hoodie:  Yeah.
Beanie: I think drugs should be legal too.
Hoodie: Well...
Beanie: Nah, like hear me out man. Think of heroin addicts, yeah? They die because they take bad heroin. If the government gives it to them, then it's safe. If they're gonna do it, then why not control it?
Hoodie: True.
Beanie: I mean, you know weed? Most of that shit is sprayed with glass. Actually sprayed with actual glass. Like, dust. So when you smoke it, that glass goes into your lungs. 
Hoodie: Shit.
Beanie: Yeah. So they should make it safer, and regulate it, yeah? Like, tell people the dangers, and stuff...
Hoodie: Like smoking?
Beanie: Yeah, like how smoking gives you cancer... so tell 'em what's what and they take the risks on themselves. But controlling it will make it safer. That's what they do in Amsterdam, and they doin' alright.
Hoodie: Hey, does your mate still live in Amsterdam?
Beanie: Nah. He lives in Germany now. 
Hoodie: Yeah? What's he doin' there?
Beanie: He just smokes weed and spins decks and shit.

Hoodie: [laughs] Cool.... so does he like living in Germany?
Beanie: Nah, he says he wants to move.
Hoodie: Why, what's wrong with Germany? [incredulous] There's good food in Germany!
Beanie: He wants to live in America. Better money for beats.
Hoodie: [considers something] Y'know ya can't get done for speeding in Germany. There's no, uh, y'know, speed... Um, no like, speed... Y'know. You can drive however fast you want. I'd like to live in Germany.
Beanie: If I could live anywhere it'd be Japan.
Hoodie: Why Japan? Technology and shit?
Beanie: Nah, it's not that, it's like, they have no crime. It's a really safe place.... I mean, except if you're a woman.
Hoodie: [nodding] Yeah.
Beanie: Statistically, Japan has the lowest crime rate in the civilised world.
Hoodie: Yeah, 'course.
Beanie: Also it would be one place where I wouldn't have to learn a language.

Hoodie: You speak Japan? I mean.... like, Japanese?
Beanie: Nah, but you know, 70% of Japan speaks English.
Hoodie: Wow.
Beanie: And they have no dairy products.
Hoodie: Nah?
Beanie: Nah. And you know, like, how Britain is like, one in ten people have cancer? In Japan it's like, one in ten thousand.
Hoodie: Wow, serious? And that's from no milk?
Beanie: Yeah man, I'm telling you. Like, when you take the milk from the breast, that's it, that's all you need. And like, if you really can't live without it, drink soya milk.
Hoodie: Oh. So is that better?
Beanie: Yeah, soya milk has less fat for one thing. It's more natural. 'Cos see, normal milk is from an animal, and soya milk is like, from the seed of a plant. 
Hoodie: Yeah?
Beanie: Yeah, soya has loads of vitamins and nutrients as well. And it has way less fat.
Hoodie: Like how?
Beanie: Like, if this much milk had eleven grams of fat, the same amount of soya would have, like, two.
Hoodie: Wow. Does it taste the same as milk then?
Beanie: Sort of. It's fruitier. Like.... let me describe this. [thinks] Ok, imagine herbal milk.
Hoodie: Uh, yeah. Yeah.
Beanie: It's like that.


  1. "Imagine herbal milk."

    I LOVE eavesdropping on public transport :-)

  2. Enjoyed that! I've been doing lots of this listening/re-writing recently too to help me with my own writing. People say INCREDIBLE things :)

  3. Herbal milk! ...he's kind of right.


  4. Clearly, I'm getting on the wrong tube. Brilliantly weird conversation.

  5. hahaha, loved this completely random yet very interesting conversation. Eavesdropping is something we need to do more often, but we wear headphones and speak on our mobiles way too much ;)