James May. What an example of a classic English Gent. A role model for all of us who aspire to the more civilised path in life. Okay, he could do with a decent hair cut, but then there are occasions when I am guilty of tonsorial neglect too. He's the one known as "Captain Slow" on BBC TV show Top Gear, and a real Chap.
*Rant rating* - Exceedingly ticked off. I was in Watford again today, and on my way back to visit Dad in the nursing home, I had occasion to take the Northern Line tube (Hades in physical form at the best of times) from Euston to London Bridge. The train had just left Angel station when a reedy whining voice started reciting the well known begging mantra: "Sorry to bother you people, I am down on my luck and need the price of a night in the shelter" and so on. And on. Most experienced tube and overland rail travellers have come across one or more of these agressive, intimidating beggers and emotional blackmailers before, but I was sat next to a girl in maybe her mid twenties who looked immediately sympathetic and went for her purse. Before she had time to draw out any of her cash, I told her "You know that 80% of the money given to London beggars ends up in the hands of drug dealers within 24 hours? He's just in it to raise money for the next fix of Special Brew and Smack."
She said, looking uncertain "But he said he was hungry and needed money for a bed for the night". I replied "You may of heard of the concept - it's called LYING. These beggars form organised gangs; they buy the daily right to beg on certain territories like a particular tube line from a gang master - it is a business to them - mainly to extort money from gullible tourists and naive bleeding hearts". As he came along the carriage, I noticed that he had made the cardinal mistake of wearing a T - shirt, thus exposing his inner forearms and the give away mini tube map of needle tracks and scabs. Delightful. I pointed this out to the naive girl just as the shambling parasite approached; she blanched and left her seat to scoot down to the other end of the relatively sparsely populated tube carriage and got off at the next stop. Two rugby playing types in city suits opposite me shook their heads in knowing agreement, and the pustulent beggar (a festering boil on the bumhole of humanity if ever I saw one) thought better of hanging around and made his exit into the next carriage. I think it may have been a harsh introduction to the sweaty and drug addled underside of life in today's London for the girl, but maybe a small but valuable lesson in trust.
A minor victory against low level crime and unpleasantness. Not the first I have had, and I hope not the last.
By the way, I have an online photograph album, for what it is worth. You can visit it here.
Blogged with Flock