I think I’ve done pretty much all the types of commute you could do, apart from cycling (because I’m too much of a scaredy pants) and helicopter, I guess (there’s still time). I’ve done tube, I’m done bus, I’ve done Southern Rail (never again) and I’ve done the old classic, walking.
My favourite was when I lived three minutes walk from my office - there has never been a calmer commute. To put it into perspective: I didn’t even require any headphones for the journey - whereas if I forget my headphones now, the trip immediately becomes a swirling cesspit of demonic hellfire.
Liam Neeson’s new film, The Commuter, also deals with the horrendous death-bludgeon that is the commute. Essentially, Neeson is on his way to work, and it all goes to shit pretty quickly. Here’s the trailer, look:
Cool, Neesons doing his thing - I’m in. Tell you what though, it ain’t nothing like my daily commute, I will genuinely tell you that for free. In fact, it’s almost the complete opposite, because, well, it’s exciting, isn’t it? Things are happening, stuff is going on, events are occurring. Not in my case, mate.
Here are all the ways in which The Commuter does not resemble my commute:
- A person talks to Liam Neeson
First off the bat, a lady sits down opposite Liam Neeson and starts talking to him. During my commute, nobody has EVER spoken a word to me. I do not know why this is. I am hot as all hell, and extremely approacable with my blood-shot eyes and near-constant heavy sighing.
Saying that, I don’t speak to other people, either. I did it once (and never again) because a girl on the bus got up to go downstairs and left her scarf on the seat, so I picked it it up, pulled my headphones out and shouted “EXCUSE ME! Your scarf!” Then from nowhere someone shot back “Erm, she’s not leaving, she’s coming back to get it.”
Fully, well and truly parred in front of a bus full of people. Headphones back in, arse back down, shut the fuck up.
- There’s a bit where Liam Neeson walks through a packed train station in a perfectly straight line
Pah! What a good one, Neeson! To walk through, say, Paddington station (that I used to commute through) in a straight, unbroken line, you would have to do an absolute Richard Ashcroft and smash into every fucker in your way.
In actuality, you have to speed-play a game of extremely dangerous life-or-death chess, a game so frustrating and arse-puckeringly testing that every move offers up the distinct possibility of a screaming heart-attack right there on the forecourt.
- Nearly everyone on the train has an empty seat next to them
Never have I ever spent a whole journey with an empty seat next to me.
Getting on a tube is a game of musical chairs set to a nightmarish, avant-garde soundtrack of heavy breathing, jostling and barging, culminating in a deafening crescendo of personal space-invading. Legs are touching, elbows are competing, breath is being smelled. There WILL be someone sitting next to you, and there’s nothing you can do about it. This causes many problems, such as:
Once, on a train, I was drifting in and out of sleep - you know, in limbo, not really knowing what’s going on - and I just happened to be calmly rubbing the bottom of my jacket because I liked the feel of the material between my finger and thumb. The man who was sitting next to me then shifted himself away from me. “How rude”, I thought, before, by chance, looking down, only to realise I was rubbing HIS JACKET. This would not have happened if I had an empty seat next to me. Fuck everything.
- Hardly anyone has headphones in
As I mentioned before, if you are commuting, you have headphones in. There are only three reasons as to why you would not do this:
1. You have forgotten them, and God may he salvage your soul
2. You are too hungover for noises being pumped directly into your skull
3. You are, and I hope this isn’t problematic, an insanely dangerous psychopath
- Liam Neeson finds some money on the train
Yeah, erm, the best thing I have ever found on a commute was a quid, on the floor of the tube. I found it, sure, but I just sat there staring at it for ten minutes until someone else picked it up. I didn’t think they were a scruff for doing it, so I don’t know what I was worrying about.
- There is ‘action’ on the train
Trains are inherently boring. If you’re lucky you might see an argument over a bagel or something, but that’s usually restricted to night-trains and tubes (which are much better). A commuter train is a near silent tube of be-suited scarecrows, swaying in unison, all engaged in a dead-eyed stare into oblivion. Nothing cool or fun ever happens.
The closest I ever got to excitement was when I was on a bus and I saw a skateboarder spectacularly eat the pavement at the bus stop I was currently waiting at. I counted my blessings - this was as good as it would get. Then, as we reached the next stop I noticed the same skateboarder coming towards us - “How embarassing,” I thought, “He’s going to have to pass all the people that just saw him stack it.”
Then, and I really couldn’t have seen this coming, HE ABSOLUTE WIPED IT AGAIN. Best day of my life, maybe.
- Liam Neeson has his head smashed through the window and held there while a train is coming the other way
This has only happened to me once.
Anyway, film’s out in January. I will be walking to the cinema, in case anyone’s interested.
(Images: Studio Canal)