Night Tube

It’s pushing two o’clock
And Julie and Sue
Are heading home after pogoing to
A Buzzcocks tribute band
They wear the brand
Got the T-shirt, got the buzz
Fallen in love
Probably shouldn’t have
Their youngests are old enough
To be out with mates
Or out on dates
So their mums can stay out late
It’s one of those nights
What do I get? Love bites.

Dean was Mister Clean and Squeaky
Until work’s finished for the week
And he and the other smart blue suits
In shiny shoes not boots
Go for just a swift one, you know
But that was eight pints and a chaser ago
And he thinks the last one might have been off
A gallon of banter and one-upmanship
And sharing nachos with sour cream dip
And cheesy chips
It’s great is this
Stay late, get pissed
No last train to miss

Sandy and Casey
Hands interlaced
Trying to be discreet but easily seen
Topping up in the corner by the ticket machine
Fingers lingering
Kissing goodbyes
Before drifting away to their different lines
Home to their respective husbands and/or wives
Good night out, petal?
Yes just fine
Nothing special
Never mind

Waisted elastic
Bagged in plastic
Left by the gate
On platform 8
Left by accident or dropped as waste?
Suspect package or just suspect taste?
If you don’t want that crop top
You could have dropped it off
Over the road at the charity shop
Accepts all-night deposits
And all-night withdrawals
Trawler trawling through shawls and drawers
Hoping she scores

Nick’s waiting for his daughter, silly mare
Too much to drink, but we’ve all been there
Can’t work out the route from that station to this
Too pissed
And the friends who egged her on
Are gone
Jump in a black cab, Dad’ll get the fare
Rings in her ears and something in her hair
Went out though she didn’t have a stitch to wear

Phil and Will and their neighbour’s son
Still haven’t had their fill of fun
They’re right fucking lairy
Go on, dare me
A real law-breaker
Stopped the escalator
Lie on the platform, wave your legs in the air
You will if you dare
Do it for a laugh
Show us your arse
You’ve got class, you have
Fucking chav

Sepp tripped as he stepped off the train
Tooth chipped, split lip, ankle sprain
Mouth full of words and blood and pain
Might complain
Not even tipsy, not had a sip
He’s unsteady on his feet
Uses a stick but he couldn’t get a seat
His heel feels even worse than his gum
But the medics won’t come
‘Cos he’s conscious and breathing
Crying but not dying
So he’s failed the triage
His friend is seething
Giving it large
Won’t reach the top of the priority list
Not even pissed

Through the ticket gate comes May
It’s been a long day
And she’s been a long way
But at least her dad knew who she was today
By the time she got him off to bed
And got away
The day was dead
She’d have loved to stay
But her kids need her too
May has so many things to do
So now she’s travelling
With the nightclub crew
Nights out unravelling
On the Night Tube through
To the end of the line
About bloody time

Deggsy begs outside
For the price of a ride
Hoping to tap some happy
Party-goer or returner
Nice little earner
Who wants to share some of their good fortune
Spare some change
For an unfortunate stranger
He’d like some milk of human kindness
Instead he gets a shiner
From some mindless violence

And so it goes on until
The gradual, inevitable
Almost imperceptible
Switch in flow
From those going home from the lock-in
To those going out to the clock-in
To jobs not the sought-after, well-paid sort
But sorting mail, chasing tails
Unlocking gates, clearing plates
Early starts
Good in parts

Looking for something to read is Lionel
Too late for last night’s West End Final
Too early for the morning papers
Too early to be up at all
But he got the call
Hates getting up before the sun does
What sleeping does, waking undoes
Will the daylight do what the coffee failed to
As Night Tube turns back in to Day Tube?

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