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“YEAH, I’M ON THE TRAIN”: One reader’s tale of the yuppie and his plastic dreams

The use of the word tosser — an emotive one at the best of times, unless you’re referring to the salad people* — in my piece about Google Glass has struck a chord with a lot of MIR readers. I was umming and ahhing over the use of the word but decided to go for it to see if we could stir things up. And yes, it did. I’ve had a ton of email about it.

One particular email stood out deserving of more attention. It’s this one from Cameron. Here we go, over to Cameron:

Hi Ewan,

Re. the dork wearing a Google Glass while waiting for his train to arrive, that story reminds of 25 years ago to the month, when I worked at Orpington station on the ticket barrier.

Every morning a fella of approximately 45-50 years old passed the barrier onto platform 2 to catch a morning rush hour train to London. He was noticeable because he always had a large 1G ‘brick’ type phone clasped to his ear and was always talking in to it loudly, saying things like, “The meeting is at 10, we’ll seal the deal then do lunch.”, and, “Sell 10,000 if the price reaches $2.50 otherwise phone Damien in New York and say he’ll have to re-cast his figures.” In short, classic late 1980s yuppie talk from someone too old to be a yuppie. In short a dork but we always noticed him and thought, “Wow, he’s got a mobile phone!”, and that alone gave him some kudos.

Until the morning he got into a bit of a fiddle trying to put his train ticket away in his shirt pocket after showing it at the barrier. He ended up dropping both the ticket and the phone. Except it wasn’t a phone at all. As it hit the platform it fell apart, revealing two halves of an empty shell. So it wasn’t an über-cool yuppie accessory costing hundreds of pounds in all its 1G glory. Nope it was a very good looking, but in fact totally uncool and very, very fake phone. The guy grabbed both halves of the empty shell and his ticket and walked as far down the platform as he could as I think he realised we’d seen what had happened and the subterfuge was over.

I wonder how many years it was before he had a real working mobile phone? More to the point, I wonder if he has considered wearing a fake Google Glass?

Best regards,

Cameron Tyre

P.S. Love MIR, it’s my fave mobile/tech news site. Keep up the good work!

Ah thank you Cameron. Your note really made me smile. I shall shortly be hunting for my own fake Google Glass knock-off! 😉

[Photo from the Motorola history page]

* Seriously: The folk in the salad shop, Tossed, refer to themselves as tossers. Always gives me a smile. 


  1. Thanks to 3D Printing firms apparently totally fake Google Glass arrived on the market before the genuine ones. I truly hope that Dorking commuter is in the Post Office picking up his pension wearing a pair and loudly saying things like “Google Glass open Uber, share my GPS and get me out of here quick I’ve a plane to Shanghai to catch”…

  2. PS I remember a colleague used to get people coming up to him and calling him a *£&$**£! for using his 1G mobile in public (taking a call outside a restaurant because the etiquette back then was to never take a call in a public place and the in-building reception was never great). Explaining that he was an on call surgeon responding to a pager bleep usually made them retract their insults and reconsider their prejudices pretty quick.

  3. Back then it used to frustrate people as they thought you were trying to make a statement that you were rich/successful/important/busy. The act of going outside made people think you were just trying to get more people to see you.

    “It’s the weekend man! There’s no work until Monday! Don’t worry the world will still keep spinning if you’re not in charge! Excuse me but did you know that the red light means the calls ended/your batteries dead? Oi Wall Street called and Gordon Gekko said your fired” …I’m sure I can think of some more.

    There is no way anyone back then could’ve imagined the sort of trivial nonsense that so many of us would today be SMS/TW’ing on the average weekend night out.

  4. How the world has changed!

    I am really pleased when folk take their phone calls out of the restaurant or bar so everyone else can avoid the noise pollution!

  5. I always switch my phone to silent and refuse to take phonecalls whilst in a restaurant, even if I’m on my own (as I often am) away from home for work. It just seems rude to be talking loudly on a phone in a restaurant. PS I used to hear all kinds of stories about people with fake phones. One in particular sticks in my mind. No specifics, but someone was on the phone. There was some sort of emergency and a stranger was asking to borrow their phone. Despite the owner saying no, they were insistent and unrelenting. In the end the phone owner turned round and said ‘You can’t use it. It’s not real!”


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