Did you travel to work by public transport this morning? If you did, may I offer my heartfelt sympathies?
The chances are you were listening to music - on either your own MP3 player, or being forced to listen to someone else's. Perhaps you had just plugged in to drown out the annoying, tinny racket from the other MP3s. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right?
No. It's time for the silent majority to fight back!
Perhaps, like me, you wish that yourself or someone - anyone - could muster the courage to approach the selfish little scrotes and ask if they wouldn't mind turning it down or else face the prospect of seeing their precious little MP3 smashed underfoot!
You may have stood there silently brooding about the need for the decent, law-abiding folk of England to rise up and take back the carriages! The Silent Majority on the march! We will fight them on the platforms, we will fight them in the carriages, we will fight them in the streets and we will fight them at the bus stops. We will never surrender!
But we did, of course. We always do. So what do we do now?
Well, we needn't worry. The problem will soon be a thing of the past, anyway. They - and, er, possibly you - are going deaf. Problem solved. I said PROBLEM SOLVED!
According to a survey by the RNID (Royal National Institute for Deaf People) more than two-thirds of MP3 users risk damaging their hearing because the volume is too high. In tests conducted in three major cities across Britain, MP3 users' ears were regularly being assaulted by more than 85 decibels. On average, half of young people listened for over an hour a day and a quarter for more than 21 hours a week. That translates as exposing your eardrums to dangerous noise levels for about one-fifth of your waking day, every day.
Well, so far, so what, I (just about) hear you say. Too much loud noise = eventual deafness. So what was the point of this survey?
Well, the RNID's take on this is that it is the responsibility of the MP3 manufacturers to put clearer warnings on the packs about the dangers of listening at high volumes. The RNID even wrote to 55 manufacturers about this; all but two of them turned a deaf ear.
But what did they really expect? Anyone could have told them all this without the need for a survey. Any one of the perpetrators of this particular noise pollution would have told them that. It's simply that the users don't care what it might do to their hearing - or to anyone else's blood-pressure, for that matter.
The problem, of course, does not lie with the manufacturers. Nor does it lie with the government, 'society' or global warming for that matter (despite the destruction of the eardrum layer). It lies, as ever, with the individual.
You cannot legislate against stupidity. If an adult individual wants to subject their eardrums to head-splitting noise day in, day out, then they have no one but themselves to blame if all they’ll be wearing in their lugholes in future will be an embarrassing NHS hearing aid.
If some selfish, thoughtless little toe-rag wants to ruin your train journey by playing Snoop Doggy Doings at 500 decibels all the way from London Bridge to East Croydon then that also is not the responsibility of the manufacturers/Gordon Broon/society/the moon in conjunction with Uranus. No, it's the responsibility of the little toe-rag to show some consideration for other people, and for us to stand up to them and reclaim our carriages!
Right, who's with me? No, not who’s Whitney. Who's with…
Oh I give up.