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Top five worst times to be on the tube

By Time Out London contributor

1. 8.30am

We all know what's wrong with rush hour. Blah blah blah, too crowded, not enough trains, rude commuters, blah blah blah. But at exactly 8.30am something dangerous happens. This is the time when 'creatives' moseying in for their breezy 9.30am start and office workers late for their 9am start suddenly meet. It's a clash of worlds that should never happen. Grumpy, flustered desk drones and scruffy, insecure human flat whites gaze in mutual hatred. Resentment builds. Converse go toe-to-toe with brogues; Fjällräven Kankens rub threateningly against briefcases: it's about to kick off... Oh wait, we're in England. Stand down.

2. 10am

At 10am, what seems like every single school-age child in London (plus many from the Home Counties) descends upon the capital's tube network in a mayhem of screams, high-vis tabards and hysterical excitement. En route to the British Museum, they yell, they hang off railings, they chuck food around: it's like the Tory Party conference. The teachers stand with haunted eyes at the very end of the carriage. If only two-thirds of their charges make it back alive, will anyone really notice?

3. 1pm

The relative calm that comes post-rush hour is unceremoniously destroyed at 1pm, the appointed hour for tourists of all nations to completely not understand where Covent Garden is. As they dawdle along platforms, block train doors and loiter at the most strategically inconvenient points, they peer into the dark recesses of the tunnel itself, hoping for a sign in Italian to the Tower of London, M&M's World, the Louvre or Angkor Wat, or a selfie opportunity with a member of the Coldstream Guards. Ciao!

4. 5pm

If 8.30am feels like a scrum, 5pm is a full-on rugby tackle. Because having dealt with the dunce-like intern who still hasn't grasped why a black magic marker can't be used as a highlighter, then handling that delicate meeting about exactly where the office Nespresso capsules are 'disappearing' to, the huffy commuter behind you is hellbent on getting to a boozer. You stand between them and the alcohol that they so desperately need to help them forget their wretched day and their wretched life. So move.

5. 11.30pm

The Vomiting Hour: 11.30pm marks the point at which the pubs close their doors and gig venues turf out the Grolsch-guzzling goons. You can handle navigating the puke. But there's the very real chance that some drunk arse will break out into a lesser-known number from the Mariah Carey songbook, and everyone will join in. You'll want to inflict righteous justice on them with a two-by-four, but that's illegal. Still, at least it's not as bad as the tube at 8.30am, where you'll be in exactly nine hours' time...

By Sammy Robson, who commutes from Eastbourne. Because he can.

Illustrations: Nathan James Page

Take a look at the top five nightmare office types.


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