An open letter to the man who used my head as a Kindle rest on the tube.

Dear Middle-aged Man in Suit on the Northern Line,

Working in the publishing industry, I am thrilled to see people reading; paperbacks, hardbacks, e-books, free newspapers, 50 Shades of Grey disguised in a Jane Austen cover, the entire works of Shakespeare, WhatsApp messages of a fellow passenger whose personal space they are forced to invade, I love it. I therefore fully support you in your literary endeavors. I also understand the need to make it difficult for strangers to make small talk with you prior to 9 am. I do, however, take slight exception to the way in which you chose to do so, specifically the bit where you rested the Kindle on my head.

Sir, I am sure you had your reasons. I realise that at a height slightly below average, my head was probably at the optimum level for Kindle leaning. Perhaps I should be thankful that you selected my head; I noticed that the cranial standard on the Northern Line was unusually high that morning and I will admit that a part of me was flattered. Perhaps your arm was tired, perhaps you had been to the gym that morning. Perhaps you were multi-tasking; just sending some emails, browsing Instagram, ordering Deliveroo to London Bridge with your free hand. Perhaps you didn’t realise you were doing it, perhaps you thought gravity wasn’t a thing below ground level. I can only speculate, and would not like to believe that it was because you didn’t care.

Although not more than a minor inconvenience, your act was symbolic. It was an assertion of superiority and an assertion of control. It was for that reason (alongside my insufferable Britishness and reluctance to cause a scene) that I did not feel able to say anything to you. I am a millennial, and courageously tweeted about it in the immediate aftermath however, an act that brought me great satisfaction.

It’s not just me you inconvenienced, but all Londoners too. What with gleards (glittery beards for those with some remaining self-respect), the fact that pints cost a fiver, our unfriendly silence on all public transport and our obsession with avocado toast, we have enough reasons to be hated already. I beg you to not cast us further into social abyss; we do not want to be known as kindle leaners and head borrowers too. Sir, the Kindle of society rests on your head, and I beg you to take it in both of your hands. I believe in you.

Kindest regards,


PS. If my letter has moved you not and if you still insist on using women of slightly less than average height as a book rest, might I suggest a paperback going forward?


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