The anti-London brigade will inevitably tell you that one of the reasons they loathe London with such a passion is because nobody talks on the Tube. It's an obsession with them. 'I hate it there,' they will say, scowling in absolute horror. 'You get on the underground and nobody even looks at you!'
I tend to think this reveals quite a lot about a person with such obviously significant insecurities that being anonymous for up to half an hour at a time is a fate worse than death. I also think, in certain circumstances - notably bad hair/skin/eyebrow days - the fewer people notice you, the better.
I formed this opinion on the tube to Euston this morning (have been dispatched to the north to cause trouble) while earwigging in on a really quite tortuous conversation between two guys in suits, who I'll call Aussie Boy and Older Colleague, because that's all I know about them. When Aussie Boy got into the carriage Older Colleague was already there. Aussie Boy attempted to pretend he hadn't seen him... but too late. Aussie Boy, by the way, is a twat. You will see why. If I was Older Colleague I wouldn't have bothered making eye contact in the first place.
OC: Happy new year Aussie Boy!
AB: (flashes pearly white teeth) Older Colleague! Hi!
OC: First day back?
AB: Yeah, Just back from two and half weeks in Australia. Got off the plane this morning but hey - it's only jetlag. (see what I mean? twat)
OC: Ah right. Good time?
AB: Oh yeah, hung out with friends and family, had BBQs and parties... after two weeks the family was starting to get on my tits though, you know what I mean?
OC: (how dare you speak that way about your elders) hmmm. Do you go back often? (please go back often, in fact please go back and stay back).
AB: once a year? yeah, about once a year. Actually while I was there I dropped in on the Brisbane office. Just wanted to put a few names to a few faces (see, not only is he a twat, he's an arselicking twat). They were real busy but they said next time I'm there, they'll take me out for dinner and drinks so we can get to know each other (yeah, don't hold your breath mate). They really know how to do business down there.
OC: (you really are an arselicking twat aren't you? But shit, you're after my job, you smug bastard) Oh great. That must have been... interesting...
AB: yeah, sure was (why don't you want to know more about my great story? You've realised I'm after your job, haven't you, you pensioner)
After that, painful silence until the next stop, When Aussie Boy leapt off, presumably to catch up with the London office on the way to the, er, London office.
And that, my friends, is why you should never, ever make eye contact on the Tube.