Hi everybody, in case you missed it, below we are publishing Prancehall's column from the UK edition of the Sundaes Issue in which he ponders the question: "Which upstanding and pleasant section of the community is better? Hoodies or crazy people?" Enjoy!
Crazy people and hoodies: two very different but equally troubling groups. But who is worse? The drunk old man with pee dripping down his leg sitting on the floor of Woolworths playing with the toys for little girls, or the surly 14-year-old who offers you out in the doorway to JD Sports in the middle of the day because you were giving his trainers “dirty looks”? Let’s investigate further.
1. Set their dogs on people and never have them on leads
2. Stab people (mostly each other)
3. Ring the bell 14 times when they want to get off the bus
4. Listen to tinny Akon MP3s on their mobile phones at full volume in public places
5. Hide their faces (obviously because they are planning on some wrongdoing)
6. Talk in a weird way that us normal people just can’t understand
7. Leave empty chicken boxes and half-eaten McDonald’s hamburgers on the back of the bus
8. Shave cats and then throw them off the top floor of tower blocks
How about crazy people, though? Let’s see what they do…
1. Eat stuff out of bins
2. Hang out with weird people no one else wants to hang out with
3. Shit themselves
4. Talk to themselves
5. Eat dog food
6. Wear ski jackets on hot days
7. Spend too much time alone in cafés and laundrettes
8. Appear regularly on The Jeremy Kyle Show
In order to shine some light on the puzzling question brought up in the opening paragraph, I want to relay a recent encounter I witnessed between a crazy person and a hoody. The other day I boarded a Northern Line train to find a carriage that was empty but for a muttering drunk who looked like Frank Gallagher from Shameless—if he’d been bathing in a barrel of flat beer and rat piss for the past 18 years. Judging by the smell, he hadn’t used soap since decimalisation was introduced in this country. His white hair was yellow with mildew, his glowing red whisky nose was covered in potholes and his ears resembled two rotting cabbages. I thought nothing of it—poor old smelly drunk man. There are millions of them. They’ve come to the capital full of hope and ended up a lifeless mess, ignored by society, living alone in a cardboard box, scavenging bins for half-eaten kebabs. Londoned.
So, off I went to the other end of the carriage, minding my own business. In case you didn’t know, empty Tube carriages have the same rules as men’s toilets—always keep as large a distance as possible between yourself and any other people at all times. Oh, and don’t look at anyone’s willy. Even if they they try to show it to you. Especially if they try to show it to you.
Just as the doors began to close, a very serious-looking 30-something-year-old girl in a red skirt suit jumped on board and sat in the middle section of the carriage. Within seconds of the train moving off the drunk was roaring at the terrified girl in his strong Manchester accent. “Oi! Sexy sex titsssh!” he shouted while shaking uncontrollably and thrusting his hips back and forth. He was literally salivating. It was like watching a randy dog left alone in the back of a car with its favourite chew toy. But less entertaining, smellier, and with more fleas and encrusted faeces. I considered saying something for about three-quarters of a second before coming to my senses and deciding he might come and puke up his entire stomach on me if provoked.
As soon as the train pulled into the next stop the girl jumped up and bolted out of the doors like a squirrel that had been held captive for a week in a wooden box and had just had the lid of its container opened. At this stop two more people boarded and sat in my part of the carriage. One was a tall middle-aged black man in a pinstripe suit, the other was a petite brunette. As the girl sat applying her make-up, the barrage began. “Slap it on, ya dirty fuckin’ slapper,” the crazy man shouted. “Slap it on yer fuckin’ titssshhh.”
I knew things were about to get a hundred times worse when we stopped at the following station and I saw a young mother with a pushchair waiting to board the middle section of our carriage. “She’s more attractive than you, ya dirty fuckin’ slaggg,” the clearly insane drunk slurred at the mum the moment the doors shut, comparing her to the poor girl he’d just been abusing. The woman sat frozen in her seat, too shocked to turn and look. Strangely and slightly disturbingly, the tiny baby then started heckling back in high-pitched, giggly baby talk, responding with a screech every time the tramp shouted. The pair were effectively having a slanging match.
Suddenly, like some strange and confusing gift from God, a hooded black teenager got on board at the next stop and sat a few seats away from the drunk. The aggressive pisshead didn’t say another word. Instead of looking like he was slumped on the seats, it now appeared he was cowering in terror. The boy sat quietly listening to his iPod, occasionally digging around in his nose with his little finger and generally minding his own business. He didn’t say a word. I assume he was just on his was to college, or maybe off to get a full refund on his Air Force Ones that he’d been wearing every day for the last month. His mere presence was enough, though.
Tabloid paranoia has convinced us that every teenager in sportswear is a knife-wielding psychopath, ready to puncture us to death at the blink of an eye. “Teens on stabbing rampage in the capital—you’re next, yes, you!” scream the headlines every week. So much as silently pass wind next to a hoody and they’ll thrust their lock knife into your chest 27 times before dragging your dying body to a cashpoint and forcing you to give them your life savings while filming the whole thing on their phone before uploading the video to their Bebo page with the caption: “I killed someone. LMAO.”
As the train continued its journey, more and more people came and sat near the drunk and he continued to stay silent. Of course, as soon as the hooded teen got off at his stop, the crazed booze addict carried on where he’d left off. But for those 15 minutes, a hoody had made the world a slightly better place to live in. So, that proves it: hoodies are better than crazy people. Crazy people should be locked away in a dungeon and the key should be thrown away (obviously with a view to rehabilitating them as soon as is humanly possible because that would be the right and proper thing to do).