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Saturday, October 18, 2003

Victor Lewis-Smith Savages Tube Nerd

And it's not me, before you ask.

On Friday, the TV columnist in The Evening Standard reviewed a programme
Metroland: Race Around the Underground which followed Geoff Marshall in his quest to beat the world record for travelling around every tube station in London in less than 19 hours, 18 minutes and 45 seconds. Now if you know Victor Lewis Smith you know he is just going to slag off the programme,

"Wherever there are trains, there are nerds, but this programme introduced us to a new and more virulent strain: the Super Nerd."

I never saw the programme myself so I can't tell whether his comments about the production are justified:

"the programme transmogrified into a televisual version of Mornington Crescent, with Geoff rushing nimbly from Knightsbridge to Sloane Square, while congratulating himself on the shrewdness of his sideways manoeuvre. But despite his claims of exceptional speed, what we saw mostly involved him sitting still and eating sandwiches, and the inaction wasn't improved by the dismally obvious choice of music, with The Jam's Going Underground giving way to The New Vaudeville Band as we approached Finchley Central.

More clich�d still were the speeded-up Koyaanisqatsi-style people-as-ants montages (complete with Philip Glass process music) that most documentary makers stopped inflicting on us a decade ago, and as the world record attempt neared its anticlimax, I suddenly realised what was wrong with the entire venture. Unlike most sportsmen nowadays, these boys didn't take drugs, but to make this futile journey tolerable, drugs were precisely what was needed. Not for them, but for the viewers."

Classic Lewis-Smith.

I'm not sure how Geoff feels about all this. We have been in touch in the past and we've swapped links, had the odd email, that's it. He seems a pleasant enough bloke from these exchanges and I'm not sure he takes it as entirely seriously as Lewis-Smith makes out.

This tube challenge has also been made into a very funny lads novel called Tunnel Vision (check out my interview with its author Keith Lowe) and I think anyone who does this sort of stuff knows they're setting themselves up for a certain amount of ridicule or certainly the label of "trainspotter".

I'll see if Geoff is prepared to comment.

; Posted by Unknown Saturday, October 18, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE