1. Affect a northern accent
If you're from 'The North' (read: more north than Birmingham), you're expected to be a right cheeky chatterbox Charlie on the tube. While it does silently infuriate everyone, outwardly they respond with nervous laughter and limply attempt to continue your chat about chip butties, hotpots and the fact that nobody talks on tube.
If you're not from The North, simply start your opening conversational gambits with any or all of these Genuinely Northern Phrases: Wey-aye pet! Arite duck? Ay-up and och aye the noo!
2. Bring a pet along
If you see a pet on public transport, it's an arrestable offence not to begin furiously stroking it and telling the owner (in this case, you) that it’s gorgeous. Dogs are an entry level animal here, cats are more adventurous but a bit kooky, and to really turn heads, bring a psychoactive toad and claim there’s a bomb that will go if everyone aboard doesn’t keep licking it.
3. Bring a baby along
As rock beats scissors, babies trump pets in the affection-from-strangers stakes. Be aware that their cuteness factor diminishes with every month they age, and once they reach two, the other passengers will actively seek to get them ejected for their nonstop sobbing.
4. Have several backpacks and don't take them off
People will keep asking if you can take them off. The longer you pretend not to hear them, the more they’ll ask you. A truly captive audience.
5. Ask people whether they've seen your daughter
Casually turn to the person next to you and ask if they’ve spotted ‘your little girl Sally’, who is about ‘yay high’ and ‘got on a few stops back’ you ‘think.’
6. Keep asking if you're on the right train for Theydon Bois
It either will be, in which case they’ll say “Yes”, or – better still – it won’t be, in which case they’ll have to tell you where to get off and which lines you need to take to amend your journey.
7. Pull the emergency stop for no reason
You will find immediately yourself the center of attention as angry commuters surround you, demanding “Why’ve you done that?” and slap you with a fine.
8. Hold a bunch of flowers and weep
Nothing spells ‘talk to me’ like picking the individual petals off a crumpled handful of roses with hot tears streaming down your face.
9. Read the Metro and exclaim ‘Oh My God!’ in increasingly alarmed tones
If people aren’t taking the bait, start literally frothing at the mouth until you’ve coated both the paper and yourself in saliva.
10. Be old, pregnant and on crutches
You’ll hear “Would you like my seat?” a lot with this one. To maximize talking opportunities, change carriage at each stop.
11. Get yourself trapped in the doors
Sacrifice the limb you like least, or if you really want sympathy, your head. The platform staff might even apologise to you if you’re lucky.
12. Feign a heart attack
If you keel over clutching your chest, people will start asking you all sorts of questions like “Oh my God, are you okay?” and “Can you hear me?” Rather than replying immediately, wait a couple of beats, then stage a miraculous recovery. People will be so relieved, and you can thank them
13. Foil a terror attack
Few things earn the admiration of your fellow commuters quite as quickly as disarming a bona fide terrorist in front of their very eyes.
14. Piss yourself
Good for at least one “Have you just pissed yourself, pal?!” this.
15. Set yourself on fire
A real icebreaker, this, particularly if anyone aboard has a bag of ice on them. They will be pretty miffed as the cubes gradually melt as you become completely engulfed in flames.
16. Don’t bother.