THE closure of The London Paper has pushed the capital's commuters on step closer to reading books or perhaps even talking to each other, it was claimed last night.
The Rupert Murdoch-owned freesheet has been under threat since mid-July when Tom Logan, an accountant from Camden, got up from his seat on the Northern Line and shouted, 'hang on a minute, this is filled with shite'.
A recent reader survey showed that while 20% used the paper to avoid eye contact with the crotch-rubber sat opposite, almost 80% were homeless people using it for insulation, lighting fires and, from October to March, food.
'Rancid' Bill McKay, who pokes around the bins near Covent Garden, said: "The Metro has a more subtle, spicy flavour. But The London Paper is okay if you mix it with a bit of pesto."
Transport for London has recorded conversational gambits to be relayed on trains and buses to help spark discussions between passengers who have grown used to viewing strangers as knife-carrying sacks of meat.
Early ideas include 'What does Boris Johnson smell like?', 'What's that on the floor?' and, for all stops east of Bank, 'If they can't learn the fackin' language, they should fackin' well go home '.
Julian Cook, a PR executive from Finchley, said: "I've got a copy of A Suitable Boy I've been trying to avoid reading for about four years.
"It may be time to strap on some nuts and finally get through the bastard."