After a movie at the Curzon , Bloomsbury I caught the Piccadilly line at Russell Square for Hammersmith, where my push bike was parked. I read the London Evening Standard which that day could have been called Stabbing News.
Fifteen year old rapper Leoandro Osemeke had been butchered at a Peckham house party, Bashir Hassan had got his in Battersea while trying to break up a fight. Elsewhere vile daggers had been at work when three men had been caught on CTV chasing and knifing another in Wembley. And then there was Andrew Oteng-Owutsu,19 who had been carved to death on his door step in New Cross.
As I was thinking how far all this mayhem was from leafy Putney,the synchronised diving and the gymnastics, a middle aged gentleman got on the train and sat opposite. Remarkable because he was wearing the full Bangladeshi kit. The long shirt,the baggy trousers,the beard, the hat.
I finished the paper and put it on the next seat. Mustapha Read lent over and pointed to the paper. I got the meaning, picked it up and handed it to him. He started to read.
I said, Usually we say thank you. One or two in the carriage looked up and smiled. Mustapha looked a bit shocked. I continued, Its an English thing, we show gratitude by saying thank you. That got him going, Thank you much, thank you so much. He was losing marks for repetition. So I said, Calm down, but just remember.
A man in a flat hat sitting opposite winked, Mustapha got on with the paper and I wondered whether I would drink white or rose that night. It turned out to be rose.