Train Strains


Bejesus it’s hard work not to be bothered by folk on public transport. Keeping sane on a packed train is a formidable test of the mind. As a friend pointed out, its all just sensory data. But we are hardwired to react.

My virtual friend Rohan – on his Buddhify meditation App – describes travel as pulling your attention all over the place. And my consciousness is being jolted and jostled as we begin to rattle along.

The respectable older lady next to me is assailing me with her ageing Burger King and fries. What’s she doing eating that? Then there’s a sweaty backpacker attempting to impress his girlfriend with mild boorishness. Ah the naiveté of young love. And of my own choosing – in a desperate attempt to block them out – Saint Saëns Symphony no 3 in my headphones.

Saint Saëns has it by a nose. But the fries are fighting hard up my nostrils. The carriage strip lighting is pretty penetrating too. It’s a good test of whether I can rest.

But the right classical music, at the right time is a lifesaver, I increasingly discover with the passing of the years. If in doubt, screen it out with a decent bit of orchestral – now there’s something I’d never have thought I’d say 20 years ago. Music maestro please.

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