Mardy Mabel’s Public Transport Archetypes: “The Train Prefect”

One of the most frustrating things which life has dished on to my plate recently has been a bout of increased train travel. Naturally, I’d rather stick hot pins in my eyes than spend such a huge portion of my life in the company of all of the irritating commuters who plague the buses, trains and tubes of our nation – so, in favour of saving my eyesight, I decided to go all Attenborough and undertake a behavioural study of these public transport archetypes. 

To start us off, this instalment looks at that loathsome commuter – The Train Prefect…


Hello everyone and thank you for joining this lecture on The Train Prefect. I’ve prepared us a nice overhead projector presentation to clearly illustrate the matter we’re dealing with here.

Hold on one second, just let me switch this on… *fumbles*… here we go…

*OHP bursts in to life and shows a picture of a ridiculously pompous man trying to fit himself on to a train which has absolutely no more capacity*

This, ladies and gentleman, is what is known as the Train Prefect. A species which matures during their school career where their ability to be good at both academia and sport is rewarded with a badge and the permission to be a sanctimonious twat. This type slowly develops over two years where the authorisation to pull other pupils up on running in the corridor, swearing in the canteen and doing hand-jobs behind the art block, provides them with a moral high ground and an automatic sense of superiority.

Upon receiving their GCSE results (which they would have passed with flying fucking colours), they’re released in to the wider world to live a life where the prefect ethos will always be at their core. As such sanctimoniousness is an abhorrent character trait, they learn to hide it well. But, beware, it can rear its ugly head at any point…

You might know someone in adulthood who you really hit it off with. Let’s say its Clare from work. Oh God, she’s a laugh, isn’t she? So witty and always up for a giggle; you two just really click. You’ve gone for after-work bevvies with her and you just know that, wherever you end up working, you’ll probably always remain friends. But then you have reason to get the train together – and, like a werewolf changing in the full moon, she’ll undergo an ugly metamorphosis which will make you question your judgement on anything in life. Remember: be careful, they walk among us.

So, you’ll be on the platform, and it’ll start with a few tuts coming from Clare’s direction. Which, you know, you can kind of understand because there’s some stupid cow sodcasting The Saturdays whilst rooting around in her cheap handbag, jabbing you with her bony elbows. Then the train will come along – and it’ll be absolutely rammed. Clare’s blood pressure rises as she grabs on to the train door handles and hoists herself up in to the train. There’s no room for her, clearly. And then, before you know it, she’s bellowing in self-righteous tones:

“Can you move down the train please?”

The bile begins to rise in your stomach as the horror that you’re friends with a prick of a Train Prefect dawns on you.

Then, as if by some sort of magnetism powered by twat points gained from possessing long-term travel passes, other Train Prefects appear, gravitate towards one another and rush in to support. Well, they’re actually technically Deputy Train Prefects – because they wouldn’t have ordinarily have had the guts to shout out in the first place, but are more than happy to put their two pennies in once a Train Prefect has set off the initial flare. These are the type of people who were only good at academia (not sport) at school, hence being slightly lower down the prefect pecking order.

So, anyway, the Deputy Train Prefects start chirping in, one by one, slowly gathering confidence, “Err yeah – move down the carriage.” Some of them even gallop down the side of the train, manically thumping on the outside of the windows like a foaming diseased from 28 Days Later, moaning the mantra in near-unison, “Move down the carriage. Move down the carriage. Move down the carriage.”

But the thing is… there is no room you short-sighted twats.

Granted sometimes there’ll be someone inconsiderately taking up the room-space of two other people as they stand in the aisle, idly flicking through their phone, pretending that they can’t see they’re in the way – but more often than not THERE GENUINELY ISN’T ANY ROOM. Can’t you see everybody has their face squashed uncomfortably up against someone else’s face, inhaling their dog shit morning breath?

There ensues some awkward shuffling from commuters as they try and accommodate the Train Prefect pricks who still can’t control themselves, smugly shooting out other comments like, “We’ve all got to get to work you know”[1]. This shuffling might allow one or two more people on to the train – and the Train Prefect will then stand there smugly for the rest of the train journey, thinking they’ve won the battle.

My advice? Don’t move. In fact, try and make yourself as big as possible by inching your feet out a little bit further, puffing your chest out and standing at an awkward angle with your elbows jutting out. Stand on that spot like a stubborn limpet just to prove a point. If possible, turn around and fix the Train Prefect with a dead stare. If the moment takes you, feel free to spit back at them, “Make me. And no I won’t go and eat my crisps in the playground”. I guarantee you that they’ll be so shocked that anyone has finally stood up to them that they’ll just stammering like a muted wreck. And maybe they’ll turn around and target someone else. Someone weaker. But if we all do this – yes, even you shy train types – then we can drive this species out. There’s power in numbers, my friend. And I’d do anything to see the Train Prefect extinct.


In the next instalment of Mardy Mabel’s Public Transport Archetypes we’ll take a look at “The Farter.”

Or maybe not. Someone else might have pissed me off more by that point…


[1] Which is then repeated by the murmuring Deputy Train Prefects.