Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Six harpies - clean round the bend

At the risk of trespassing on JuliaM's terrritory, we venture into deepest Essex today for the sorry tale of a traveller on the 10.45pm train from Southend who wanted to use the lavatory.

Finding the door jammed, he tried to push it open, whereupon six mini-skirted young women burst out of the cubicle and started shouting at him.

One of them punched him in the head and, when the train pulled into Benfleet station immediately afterwards, kicked him out of the carriage door.

As if this were not bad enough, as he fell onto the platform he collided with a 'heavily built' woman waiting there who, despite his frantic protestations, accused him of trying to steal her handbag and punched him in the face.

The unfortunate 54-year-old victim has been left with injuries including a broken nose and two black eyes and, presumably, a vague feeling of having been caught up an episode of 'The Benny Hill Show' directed by Paul Verhoeven.

Though the police say it is 'currently unclear' why the six women were in the lavatory, their disproportionate anger at being disturbed surely suggests some nefarious purpose. Even if the man gave the door a a hefty shove, his impatience hardly justifies an attack that could have proved fatal.

The story suggests that the women on the train were so intoxicated - whatever the cause - that they were incapable of rational behaviour. Six of them could hardly have felt threatened by a lone man; this was essentially an unprovoked attack by a pack of feral predators.

Without wanting to prejudice any future investigation - always assuming that the police manage to track the original perpetrators down from the interestingly vague description 'early twenties' and 'wearing miniskirts' - it is not unreasonable, given the time of night, to suggest that their final destination was Basildon, a couple of stops further along the line.

It appears that when JuliaM commented here some time ago that 'The Basildon chavs could take Snake Plissken', she really wasn't joking.


  1. Ah, I saw this last night!

    Are the comments still all there? They were hilarious!

  2. Sorry, I just realised your link was to the BBC.

    Go here:


  3. Thanks, Julia! The Schadenfreude squad are out in force, aren't they?

    There's definitely an element of 'Man Bites Dog' about this story; presumably six men roughing someone up on a train would barely register on the news radar. I wonder how that sits with the feminist agenda...

  4. On further reflection, if these women are indeed in their early twenties then their first years at primary school would have coincided with the Spice Girls' arrival on the scene with all their raucous, high-kicking, in-yer-face 'girl power'.

    While it's impossible to make a direct connection, having seen the way this culture saturated primary school at the time - largely due to aggressive marketing of merchandise - and its manifestation in playground cliques, I shouldn't be at all surprised if some later link were established.

  5. Six!?! Well going by the size of some of the young ladies round here I'm not sure I believe it.

    As far as I can see they need to build up a certain acreage for the tattoos.

  6. I read this story & sound myself humming this ditty... ;)

    But I lack your skill with such things.

  7. AKH, an interesting point, though those new-fangled lavatories are positively palatial when compared to their predecessors.

    Such abundance of space means that a) the number of facilities on board a train has been drastically reduced and b) should the lock fail, the old expedient of keeping a foot jammed against the door is a physical impossibility, leaving the unfortunate occupant at risk of being dramatically unveiled to passers-by at any moment.

  8. Julia, I thank you for your confidence in me; however, given that I tend to use tunes I know well, this one could prove tricky as I have never seen the film.

    When it came out, I arranged to watch it with some friends but, at the last minute, incurred a major school detention and couldn't go. With the nearest cinema 20 miles away, that was, effectively, that, and somehow I felt afterwards that the moment had passed.

    (Readers here may not be surprised to learn that the detention was for publicly objecting to some pointless rule or other.)

  9. Essex, yes - some very strange creatures live there ... but not in Southend.


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