I was at Newton Abbot railway station on Saturday. Don’t be intimidated by my glamourous lifestyle, I’m just like you.
I had the good fortune to witness a group of trainspotters, eagerly awaiting the arrival of some chuffing locomotive, as though it were bringing them magic whistles and tapdancing unicorns instead of diesel fumes and chilblains. When the train did arrive they were almost levitated with happiness, rushing to take photos of it as it dragged itself at painfully slow speed through the empty station, ferrying a cargo of timber in sleek and ominous piles. Two of the spotters high-fived each other. They all waved at the driver, who waved back and tooted his horn in a series of exclamations.
A few sneery types were watching this, laughing at the trainspotters from behind cupped palms, unable perhaps to contain their malicious glee at finding such an easy target on a Saturday morning.
Well you know what? Fuck these people. Their attitude SUCKS. Now don’t get me wrong, I have no affinity with trainspotters. I gave it a go once, aged fourteen, while round at a friends house whose bedroom window overlooked the railway line. I think we gave it up after an hour or so to do something more interesting. Heavy petting, probably.
But why rain on their parade? My criteria for other people having a good time is (a) is it hurting me? or (b) is it hurting anyone else? If the answer to both those questions is No, then my darling, you can go WILD. Seriously, go feral, knock yourself out. Save that vitriol for someone who really deserves it, like this gurning racist homophobe or the villain at the end of Scooby Doo.
If you’re the lonely guy in the crowd wearing the ‘Princess Diana Queen of Hearts – NEVER FORGET’ T-shirt and union jack hat then my friend, I salute your fortitude if not your determination to fly flagrant in the face of both fashion and sense. If you were that elderly woman I saw in the library the other day wearing tartan tights and a dress the colour of ripe mango flesh with electric blue hair than you lady, are my heroine. You are exactly who I want to be when I’m ninety, hopping out of a red Ferrari in a pair of spike heels. Those people laughing at you in all your finery and splendor live little lives in shallow, still waters.
You don’t have to stand out to be different – these trainspotters were the dictionary definition of ordinary – but they managed to be the most subversive people on the platform that morning. There’s a lesson there somewhere but I’m fucked if I can see it.