Dexys Midnight Runners makes a surprise appearance on my iPod coming, as they do, on the back of Simple Man by Lynard Skynrd and Special Needs by Placeebo.
Violin broken by bumbling base, I glance over to a middle aged woman facing me in the set-of-four, downstairs back of bus seats. Her slightly suit gives away her age in the form of a mildly weighty bulge. She seems to tap to the beat.
A run of piano and across from her, two business men in their 30s, sitting next to each other but; judging by obvious body language; in no way affiliated, are now bopping their heads in unison. And now the middle aged woman and snotty-faced teenager next to her (texting some mate on her phone). All expressionless, as usual, but bopping in unison and seemingly mouthing the muffled “Come on Eileen” through barely visible lip movements.
“Poor old Johnney Raaaay” – the miserable pensioner, draped in stinky tweed, sitting in the disabled seat up the front of bus jumps from his slump “sounded sad on the radio, moved a million hearts in mono…” he struts up and down the aisle, twirling his walking stick with Dick Van Dyke precission “Toora loora toora loo rya”
And now they’re all up “Come on Eileen..” Everyone march-dances up and down the aisle; grinning and sining together. The snotty teenager playing the banjo bits on her school hokey stick:
“But not us!”
“No not us!”
People buddy up and sing to each other. “We are far too young and clever,”; a skobie looking, slime-green-unifom-wearing teenager cheekily interjects.
“Toorah loora toora loo rye ay”
The pace slows down; “Come on Eileen ta-loo-rye-ay” a line of cancan, the stinky tweed pensioner out in front. And building. And building. And building. And crescendo.
And the morning bus explodes to life. Five more skobie slime colored kids, hair gelled up at the back and in a sort of unkempt unison, come flying down the stairs and encircle the crowd. The middle aged woman has grabbed the click-brolley from her net bag and is doing loop-di-loops around one of the handpoles. Outside, in the streets, people are singing from out of the cars ajar windows and the Metro newspaper people doing little la-di-dah dances and throwing shredded newspaper up in the air.
And then, just as soon as it has begun, the song ends and fades. The skobie kids faces go grey and unimpressed and they retreat begrugingly up the stairs to their back-of-bus nest. The snotty faced teen girl places her hockey stick back on the seat opposite, restricting company, and returns to her text messages. The middle aged woman replaces her brolley neatly in her net bag as the two mid-thirties business men sit back down next to each other and go back to pretending the other doesn’t exist.
An uneventful Johnny Cash song follows, taking me the last few stops to my destination.