Living and working in London inevitably leads to suffering the subterranean cesspit that is the Underground system. This is a clarion call to all the selfish, unreasonable, obnoxious and fantastically annoying individuals out there using the Tube. To help in your quest for attaining universal disdain and irritation from all your fellow passengers, I've prepared a handy cut out and keep guide for you to ensure you're making life as unpleasant as possible when you shuffle your way into one of the busiest travel networks in the world.
1. Avoid washing for at least 3 days.
You want to make sure that the combination of stale sweat and BO is not so overpowering that other passengers will instantly keep a wide berth away from you. The stench needs to subtly and gradually ooze into the carriage, before quickly enveloping all those within a 15 feet circumference of you. In packed, rush hour times, make sure your grabbing a high rail, so armpits will be projecting at the best angle, and develop the most potency. Ideally, you'll want the odour to linger on the train for several additional stops after you get off, allowing you to walk away care-free, whilst your unwitting passengers suffer in silence.
2. Ensure any music is at maximum volume.
Headphones are a common sight on the Underground, but make absolutely sure that all your fellow passengers are given the opportunity to sample the choicest cuts of early noughties Jungle, aggressive Hip-Hop, and pulsating Electronica blasting out of your headphones (for the overtly pretentious amongst you, Beats by Dr. Dre are great an instantly engendering hostility). Puncturing the start of each song with 'sick tuuuuune mate' ensures your audience keep up to date with the latest critical developments in the music industry, and see you receiving sly nods from those already in the know who recognise one of their own.
3. Remember your baggage takes priority.
Become the bane of the train by giving travellers the opportunity to play a tetris-esque game of strategy, as they work their way onto a crowded tube, while avoiding the Double-Bass and Skis you've artfully laid out over both entry points to a carriage. Large rucksacks and bags should always be worn inside trains, ensuring as much physical contact, however avoidable, can be administered. For added effect, make sure the pointiest, spikiest objects you bring on-board are on the outside of the bag, to ensure no skin is left un-punctured as you bundle your way through.
4. Keep conversation as infantile and boastful as possible.
If you're fortunate enough to be travelling with a partner, you'll have a great opportunity to ensure your myriad of witty anecdotes and journeys of discovery are shared with those around you. Suggested topics could include describing in vivid detail the latest 'butters girl I got off with', how you 'twatted a geezer' at a local pub, or the extent to which you were 'mashed off my tits' at an all-night rave. Make sure you're talking at an excessively loud volume throughout and all the other passengers will be gasping in awe at the wondrous yarns you've concocted/
5. Never check your Oyster Card balance.
A staple requirement for even the most innocuous of bastards, but an important weapon in your armoury nonetheless. Spending up to 45 seconds pressing your oyster card against the reader, despite no obvious reason for the machine to change it's mind after the 10th attempt, is sure to generate a huge amount of sympathy from those queuing behind you. When using paper tickets, you'll need some degree of finesse and dexterity to bend the ticket so it can be accepted by the machine, but the scanner won't recognise the bar-code, allowing you to take the role of the seemingly innocent victim.
6. Save your spicy foods for rush hour.
Ever find yourself craving a curry after a skinful? A great-time saving technique is to enjoy your meal on the tube with your fellow commuters. The spicier the food the better, as the succulent aromas of your Chicken Cottage value hot wings permeate throughout the train, attaching to hair and items of clothing which can take days to properly washout. If you find yourself with any leftovers, be sure to gracefully toss them over any nearby seats to ensure they remain unusable for any other travellers as well.
7. Make life as difficult as possible for Tourists.
Given the huge attraction of London as a tourist destination, you'll have ample opportunity to intentionally disorientate and confuse visiting holiday-makers by directing them onto the wrong trains, offering inaccurate insight to 'speed up' their journey or, for the less active among you, just ignoring requests for help and pretending to study the insurance advert opposite you instead. If you're with companions, consider taking the opportunity to mock any regional dialects or foreign accents you hear as well, and you'll have fellow passengers rolling in the aisles as you artfully skewer the unwitting fools with your rapier of wit.
8. Keep hold of your seat at all times.
Given the effort you'll be expending in fulfilling the other points listed in this guide, it's highly unreasonable to expect you to stand at the same time, so make sure you acquire a seat, by any means necessary, and retain hold of it until the end of your journey. Furthermore the elderly and infirm will be encouraged that, by not giving up your seat, you're acknowledging them as an equal, and not patronising them by suggesting they can't stand on their own two feet. Any pregnant women you encounter should send an appreciative nod your way, as by standing, they'll be afforded a much needed chance to get some exercise, benefiting both them and their infant child in the future.
9. You can never take enough photos and videos.
In today's digitalised society, we're all connected and contactable at the press of a button, which opens up a world of opportunities for inappropriate photos and happy-slapping. You're sure to witness commuters barely suppressing their snorts of laughter as you slap a random teenager round the head for having a different coloured jumper, or gasping in awe at the photographic wonders at the 25th photo of the station sign you've taken, but this time with a black and white background. Banksy is sure to be eating his heart out.
10. Stand on the left of the escalator.
The ultimate power-move, and not one that should be attempted by novices. When efficiently executed, you have the potential ability to bring an entire station to a virtual stand-still, but you'll need to combine feigning ignorance of the signs and an inability to understand English, to avoid a slew of insults or physical intervention from affected passengers. For those unwilling or unable to fully commit to this risky ploy, you can try walking inordinately slowly on the left, which often achieves a similar, if somewhat reduced effect of entrenched resentment and irritation from those in a hurry behind you.
Follow the above points to the letter, and you'll soon find yourself another one of the ever-growing army of insensitive, detestable and downright loathsome people infesting the tube on a regular basis. Godspeed to you all.
Richard Fox (@foxy206)