I was crammed into a corner below the steps that lead off the Great Northern Line platforms at Finsbury Park station. Wearing a loud fleece, I was stood behind a massive plastic barrel, giving freebies to the harassed and hurried commuters.
A man came up to me, wearing a suit, shirt open at the top button, a day’s stubble on his face and a copy of Metro in his arms. He looked to be in his mid-thirties.
“What you giving away? Is it yoghurt?”
“No, not yoghurt…”
“But it’s some sort of food, right? ‘Cos I didn’t have time for breakfast this morning.”
“Er… no. Today’s freebies have been provided by the London Review of Books.”
“The … what the… what are they giving away?”
“Well …” I dipped my hand into the tub. “There’s a copy of Das Kaipital.”
“Sounds foreign – is it by the same guy that wrote those dragon tattoo books?”
“No. It’s by Karl Marx.”
I drew out a different book. “Or I could offer you The Future of Socialism by Tony Crossland.”
“Sounds a bit left-wing.”
“Well, that’s kind of the point. They’re giving these books away in response to the general election result.”
“Oh. But you definitely don’t have anything to eat?”
“No, sorry. But I do have The Road To Wigan Pier by George Orwell.”
“Oh, we watched an animated version of Animal Farm in English for our GCSE’s. Give me one of those.”
I delved in a pulled out a copy, handing it over to him.
“Cheers mate.” He took three steps towards continuing his commute, before turning round. “It does have talking animals in, doesn’t it?”