How to get everyone to f**k off and leave you alone

MONDAY morning in January? Surrounded by bloody people? Want nothing more than for them all to just piss off? Try these tips: 

Stink

It’s amazing how quickly you’ll develop a pungent reek by not washing. Within days everyone on the bus will know it’s you, and within a fortnight dogs will bark and flee. You could use an eco-argument to defend yourself, but no need – there’s nobody around to defend yourself to.

Talk about your dream

There is little duller than a recounting of a dream, especially as just when the listener thinks it’s over you can add ‘And then suddenly I was at my childhood home but it was underwater’ and begin a whole new bit. You can clear whole offices, train carriages and town centres just by asking ‘did I tell you about my weird dream?’

Refuse to believe in science

Not just vaccines and climate change. Doubting the existence of gravity or questioning the laws of thermodynamics will see people peel away from you in droves. To shake off any remaining hangers-on go flat-Earther. Then revel in the emptiness of your Costa.

Pretend to be a charity fundraiser

Want to quickly get from one side of town to the other, but hate battling through crowds of slow-walkers? Part the public like the Red Sea by carrying fundraising leaflets and trying to engage strangers in conversation. You’ll be avoided like you’re radioactive, leaving you free to power through to Greggs for lunch.

Fake your own death

Extreme? Nah. All it involves is getting your obituary written up in the local newspaper and turning your phone off forever. Half-a-dozen people – partner, family, that one good friend – will be briefly upset but the peace and quiet will be worth it. Until you get bored in a few hours’ time and fancy going bowling.

How to explain where you're from when it's not London

FIND yourself struggling to articulate where you hail from because it’s outside the M25? If you’re one of the dozens of people not from London, follow this guide:

Immediately write it off

Save yourself some time and effort by leaping to condemn your hometown as a provincial shithole that pales in comparison to one of the world’s most vibrantly not-wanky cities. They’ll be desperate to agree and talk about new Indonesian street food pop-ups in Shoreditch.

Find the nearest big city

Normal London-dwelling people will never have heard of Droitwich or Kettering – it would physically hurt them – but they may deign to know of Birmingham and Liverpool. Say you’re from just outside one of six major cities, even if you’re 100 miles away.

Mention something bad that happened there

Almost all great things and people are from the capital, but there are glancing points of interest outside it. Maybe you grew up down the road from Dr Shipman, maybe Eric Clapton was born there before moving to London obviously, or maybe Enoch Powell was your Gran’s MP.

Refer to the nearest football team

While most provincial towns have nothing, a few have football teams. Wolverhampton’s existence may have passed them by completely, but ‘the place Wolves are from’ might get cylinders firing as they remember them drawing against Chelsea last month.

Say it’s the countryside

Londoners have heard of a single non-London location, that being the countryside. They visit it sometimes on weekends, not bothering to distinguish between the Cotswolds, mid-Powys or Northumberland. They’ll tell you how they don’t know how people survive there and you’ll nod gratefully.

Admit how far it is from London

Realistically, the only thing people want to know about your hometown is how far away from actual civilisation it is. If it’s a 90-minute train journey, you might be able to keep up with big city talk. But if it’s a five-hour drive they’ll network with someone who counts.