Londoners launch anti-Tube Chat campaign

Anti Tube Chat badge Image copyright ShutUpTubeChat

London commuters have attempted to prove they are insular and unfriendly by wearing badges discouraging fellow passengers from talking to them.

A campaign group has launched a Twitter account: Shut Up Tube Chat.

It comes after travellers were handed leaflets with badges encouraging them to talk to one another on the Tube.

The Tube Chat pin is supposed to indicate to other commuters that the wearer is happy to have a conversation.

It has provoked a strong reaction, with many people making their own badges designed to discourage anyone from approaching them.

Volunteers from the Shut Up Tube Chat campaign began handing out their badges at Liverpool Street station on Friday morning.

Image copyright RosBall
Image caption Some BBC staff had fun with the Tube Chat badges

Commuters were handed leaflets with the new badges reading: "Want nothing less than a 'chat' with one of your fellow passengers?

"Wear this badge to let them know that you'd rather drink a pint of bleach than talk with them."

The badges, which read "Don't even think about it" are designed to ensure wearers can make their way to work in peace.

The man behind the campaign, Brian Wilson from Hackney, told BBC London he had given out 500 badges.

"I can't stand the idea of having to talk to strangers on the Tube on my way to work.

"We handed loads out this morning and everyone was loving it. Proper Londoners know the score," he said.

Commuters who want nothing more than to listen to their music, read a book, stare at their smartphone screen or just ignore their fellow travellers have also expressed alarm at being encouraged to talk to one another.

Image copyright EmmaKennedy

Actress and writer Emma Kennedy tweeted: "Whoever came up with those Tube Chat badges has fundamentally misunderstood the misanthropy of the London commute."

Richard Cook tweeted: "Imagine being someone who willingly wears a #Tube_Chat badge, sitting there beaming, just waiting for a conversation that will never come."

And Madelaine Hanson tweeted: "The day I willingly talk to anyone on the tube will be the day I have to tell someone that their hat is on fire."

Image copyright MadelaineHanson
Image copyright RichardCook

Jonathan Dunne, who came up with the idea of the Tube Chat badges and is originally from the US, admitted it was difficult to get commuters to take one of the free pins.

Image copyright RosBall
Image caption A Tube badge almost guaranteed to ensure the wearer is left alone

"I would say it's about an 80/20 split.

"Twenty per cent think it's nice and about 80% of people think it's terrible, worst idea ever," he told BBC Newsbeat.

Transport for London (TfL) has said it had nothing to do with the scheme.

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