Seats on the tube are the stuff of legend. But who really should get to sit in the best ones?
I'm contentedly sitting in a priority seat on the tube when I'm put in a position that would make most people spring to their feet, spitting 'sorrys' like Basil Fawlty with Tourette's. Approaching from one end of the carriage is a very pregnant lady; from the other, a very old woman. Attracted by the scent of a vulnerable priority seat-occupier, these two TfL vultures loom over me menacingly.
It's a tense moment: other seat-holders avert their eyes. The weakest of their herd, I am left to fend off my attackers alone. I, however, remain defiantly seated. You see, I was up till 6am drinking my own bodyweight in vodka, and I believe I have priority in the priority seat, since I am too hungover to stand up.
We've all done it. Woken up still drunk with a gung-ho attitude and last night's clothes half-on. 'You can do this!' you think, heavily concealer-ing under the eyes and touching up your eyeliner. 'Eight hours at work? That's nothing! Drinks after work? No problem!' Leaving the house, the fresh air sharpens you up: the day looks better already.
Then you get on the tube. You start sweating like Donald Trump's publicist, desperately swallowing back the sick.
So this is what death is like. And so young! But, magically, a priority seat becomes available. A grubby, sticky, wonderful, life-saving priority seat. Put your feet up, Toto, we're back in Kansas again!
When good old Ken Livingstone stuck up the priority stickers back in 2008, he somehow managed to overlook the needs of the London partygoer on the morning after. Anyone can decide to have a baby; anyone can get old. But can just anyone sink two bottles of wine and still be dancing like a pro at 4am? I think not. Sure, it's detrimental to my wallet and liver, but it's a serious lifestyle choice. I'm simply taking a professional attitude to going out. I might even add these personal attributes to my CV: 'Never had my stomach pumped', 'Never been arrested', 'Never vomited in a minicab' and 'STI-free and proud'. Credentials that would woo any potential employer, surely? But to maintain this way of life, I need nurturing. Specifically, I need a seat.
When I become mayor - capitalising on London's need to do everything ironically, including voting (clever, I know) - I will make sure that this city's partygoers get the same rights as other fragile and infirm tube users. Never again will the committed over-indulger be put in the position I now find myself in: staring fixedly ahead, earbuds pushed deep into my head, a half-eaten Sausage McMuffin in one hand and a bottle of Lucozade in the other: the orb and sceptre of the post-party queen of the carriage.
So back off, granny, this seat's taken. Unless you've got some Berocca, when I might consider a trade.
Want more ranting and raving? Read Matt Breen's column on why we've all become obsessed with Blue Monday
Illustration: Nate Kitch