4 MAY 2002, Page 41

The Dance

There was something that made you want to laugh, as though the fat man's rush for the train was somehow deliberately choreographed, with the timing practised again and again — a crescendoing drum roll scurrying his feet speeding down stairs and plump on a beat exactly through the closing doors, a small leap — then great applause.

I almost then expected him to re-emerge and take a bow, the platform loud with cheering.

But he had gone, entirely submerged, leaving only ripples quietly disappearing — in the growing distance the train's rhythm subsiding, the cleared platform; a man watching from a bench, and smiling.

James Pickles