The Eurostar have upgraded since last year, they have a screen in the aisle now telling you about the journey. There are some attractive cartoon characters showing you how to go about stowing your luggage or plugging into wifi. These characters are wafer thin and mince down the aisle like ballet-dancers. The girl character who has hair the colour of raspberryade has poorly stowed her valise and the male character with his trim and trendy beard has a slight mishap. The minor accident brings the two together, as in some charming romcom moment. Another female character applies her seductive lipstick in a mirror on the back of the seat in front. In the next scene the girl with raspberryade hair is nimbly typing a document on her ultra slim laptop. All the cartoon characters are smart casual in a range of buoyant pastel.
Needless to say, my journey is not quite like this. I compare the legroom on the monitor with my legs jammed against the seat in front, where a bulky seven year old is rocking backwards and forwards. The scene on the telly seems to be taking place in a half empty train (Eurotunnel would have been bankrupt years ago if that were true). We are all packed in and there isn’t a wafer thin body in sight. Not much raspberryade hair either; mostly grey, mousey, balding, some honey blond French women. The kids have nice hair but they are all fat. There are Japanese families like little military squadrons. At St Pancras I sat near a dad who said something that was spontaneously applauded by his offsprings as though the trip were a political convention. I search in vain for the mirror on the back of the seat promised in the video to check my travel face. There is none, just a black plastic mould that holds no pleasures. A heavy man walking down the aisle falls into a sleeping woman and wakes her up. This does not bring them together as the minor mishap of the video had promised. They do not know what language to try and speak and just scowl at each other. Why can’t people be more like cartoons?