I do a lot of travelling on public transport. And I've seen quite a bit of antisocial behaviour on buses and trains. The main thing that really annoys me is people playing their iPods really loudly. But there are other things that can be infuriating like people slouching all over the place and taking up lots of space, or plonking their bags on seats and not moving them for people who want to sit down (but who are too meek to ask). It's amazing what you see sometimes.

Clearly a lot of other people are not happy about this, because the state government has launched a campaign to stem such activity called Two Hoots.

The article contains this summary of why such a campaign is needed:

Curtin University cultural studies professor Jon Stratton said politeness had changed in Perth.

Giving up your seat for an older person was not as common as it used to be, he said.

But Professor Stratton said that overcrowding on buses and trains meant an individual's personal space was being consistently invaded, perhaps by a backpack or a loud iPod.

"There was a time when you could just turn your back or walk away from behaviour you disapproved of," he said.

"But, these days, it is often not an option and you are forced to put up with the impolite behaviour.

"As the city grows, we are losing our physical space. And not just on public transport. Also in our homes, in the suburbs.

"Perth is becoming a big city. These are exactly the issues that have faced cities like London and New York, as people's personal space disappears."

I think those last two observations really nail the phenomenon: It's mainly to do with a loss of personal space.

It's something I've often thought about over the last couple of decades, during which I've lived over east then returned to Perth, and left again.

One enduring feature of the city has been its comparative spaciousness. Whenever I've come back after living in Melbourne or Sydney, I've really noticed it.

It's always been such a calming thing. There's this blue sky, and space between people. Really good for your health and peace of mind.

But whenever I go anywhere here now there are more and more people jam packed into smaller spaces. It increases your sense of anxiety. And it's not just the density of the crowds. There are so many more buildings in close proximity too.

A specific example: From 1998 to 2002 I lived in Subiaco Rd. Sometimes I'd do comedy gigs at the Brass Monkey in Northbridge. Occasionally I'd walk alongside the railway line to get there. From City West station to the CBD, there was a lot of empty space (car parks, mainly). But now that whole area is chockas with new multi-storey units, HarbourTown, and the Perth Arena.

Massive changes like this are occurring all over the city. The buzz is greater. There's a real sense of urgency and excitement. But that easy, relaxed feeling that for so long characterized the place is gradually disappearing.

The days of Perth being "a big country town" are long gone, that's for sure. Kind of sad, really.