Tracksuits Vs The Daily Mail

The woman opposite me on the train is reading The Daily Mail, flicking through it leisurely reading the strap lines and looking at the pictures of angry white people from the home counties – I paid, I want, I deserve, I need.

She’s eating Snack a Jacks which are low in fat but have made her breath smell of farts, the packet is folded and pressed neatly between the seats. Unwanted rubbish left for the invisible army of young black men to clean up, all because putting it in the Tate Modern vinyl bag and taking it back to Clapham is just too much trouble.

It makes me laugh when I see people dropping litter neatly, as if gently placing that Starbucks Coffee cup under the seat is somehow more acceptable that simply chucking it down in full view.

The silk scarf round her neck makes her look like a cross between cabin crew and princess Anne as she peers over that paper at the five young girls on the facing seats across the train.

The eyes are inquisitive, occasionally narrowing for a split second in what could either be jealousy or anger. The five girls, no more than 16, wear Heat magazine style tracksuits, scraped back hair, jewellery and make up. They swap text messages and laugh uncontrollably without care, about who said what to who and what they got up to last weekend.

I can’t help but smile at the happiness on their faces, and warm to the genuine friendship and lightening quick sense of humour. A lifetime away from the sour faced sneering opposite, and everything it stands for.

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