The marvellous Meg from notsosoft.com (inspired me to start blogging and that blog was so brilliantly written and diverting it's not true) has a new blog - meish.org and noticed my tube haiku campaign and pointed out that her and some other friends had already started writing Tube Haikus in July 2000 (almost ancient history in blog terms). There's some crackers amongst them and I've reproduced a few seasonal ones for your enjoyment.
bastards wearing sandals. Smell
of foot sweat. I faint.
Armpit in my face
Please take your hand off my arse:
Tube space invaders
Too many people
And all are sweaty morons -
Tomorrow, the bus
Bodies hunt for space
And armpits smell so evil
I'm going to kill
Hoorah, thanks to the people at The Guardian newspaper's website for choosing my blog as their "top blog" today. They said
Going Underground's blog Blog pick:Notwithstanding Guardian Unlimited weblog's non-London-centric stance, this blog on the delights of travelling on the London Underground is well worth a visit. Scroll down for the picture of the Japanese subway sign instructing men not to sit with their legs splayed.
Kewell - so if you've come here from there, so to speak, please read on.
Stupidly, I had originally forgot to ask them to record it advance - the BBC don't store recordings, so I thought yet again I've not got a recording, but help was at hand. My first radio interview was with BBC Radio London - slightly larger audience I'd imagine - where I was walking around with a journalist on the tube and commenting as we struggled with the rush hour at Victoria station. Ironically we had to wait quite a while till they closed the gates to get on the tube (something they do everyday to prevent platforms being overcrowded) but that was very strange talking into a big microphone on a crowded carriage and trying to get other passenger to join in.
Today's interview was much more relaxing - on my mobile phone sitting in the corridor outside my office. I was delighted to find out that Nik Fox (who bought us the audio london underground driver's announcements in yesterday's entry) had driven to a high spot in London and managed to pick up Radio Suffolk and kindly recorded the interview for me - so here it is - Hoorah!!!
Very long download if you're not on broadband, so make yourself and Wembley Stadium a cup of tea or read War and Peace or something, while you're waiting.
Nik Fox recorded a really funny London Underground driver who was clearly either on drugs, or delirously happy, or both. It's a classic, he talks about people getting on board the tube with ironing boards, and how every man on the carriage should stand up for any Mum as it's Mother's Day tomorrow.
To anyone living in Suffolk I'm going to be interviewed on BBC Radio Suffolk on Monday at 15.45 when www.goingunderground.net will (hopefully) be their website of the day. I hope the interviewer is someone like Alan Partridge from Radio Norwich (slapped wrist.....stop being such a city chick).
Clearly air conditioning on the tube and the reward has struck a chord (despite the fact it's currently wet, grey and miserable and not particularly warm in London). Several hits to this blog as a result of people searching and in today's Metro a very good letter response to Mayor Ken Livingstone's reward:
"I gather than Ken Livingstone has offered a reward of �100,000 to the person who invents a successful air conditioning system for the Underground. As one of the unfortunate cattle-class who has to battle through these radiator pipes every day, here's my idea: more trains, fewer people per train. This will mean fewer people standing on baking platforms and less Tube rage. And less time spent meditating in someone else's armpit. So do I get the �100,000?" Lucy Johnston from London WC1
This slightly echoes my earlier posting, if the tube were doing their job properly in the first place Sheriff Ken, shouldn't have to be offering "rewards" for something that someone in the last hundred years of tube travel should have worked out by now.
The BBC have also got people to come up with some excellent suggestions as to how the tube should be cooled down - some complete with images:
* Replace those tired old tracks and trains with canals and gondolas. The cool water and slow pace of travel will make it much more pleasant.
* Equip all passengers with personal breathing apparatus and flood the tunnels using water from ye mighty Thames.
* Using cooling colours like deep blues and whites would create the impression of cool. Painting the walls and installing drinking fountains would help.
* Providing all passengers with free ice lollies.
* Getting a frozen pea company to sponsor the tubes with giant packs of frozen peas stuck to the outside of trains.
FEEDBACK recently came across the Going Underground website - the "fun London Underground guide" at www.going-underground.com. As we regularly travel on the tube, we particularly enjoyed the page of quotes from tube drivers and station announcers.
They then go on to quote their favourites, one of which is the one that started the whole thing off that I heard at Earl's Court and I really don't think is that funny anymore:
"there are times when passengers must wonder if they are in entirely in safe hands. At Earl's Court, the station PA declared: "The train at platform three is not going to Parsons Green but to Richmond. The train approaching platform two is also not going to Parsons Green but to Ealing Broadway. These trains are not going to Parsons Green despite what the signalmen think."
Well I didn't notice any difference on day one. I was lucky as I mentioned yesterday to travel to somewhere near the North Pole this morning (Whetstone and Totteridge or Totteridge and Whetstone), which is so far North of where I live it is not true. I used the Silverlink for most of the journey and it all started to go wrong (surprise, surprise) when I boarded the northern Line. The train wasn't going to the end of the earth like it had displayed but stopped unexpectedly about four stops from Totterstone and Whetbridge. So I got off met my colleague who unbeknown to me was on the same train - and we waited about ten minutes for the train to arrive.
Going back into Piccadilly Circus took close on an hour, but it was lunchtime and fortunately the train was not packed and also fortunately it stopped for great lengths of time with it's doors open at stations. This wasn't a form of air conditioning or great kindness on the part of the drivers but simply normal Northern Line rubbish service.
(BLIMEY Ken Livingstone is offering a reward of �100,000 to anyone who can air condition the tube - a reward mate, they ought to get a knighthood. But also Ken, isn't this simply part of London Underground's job. Over 100 years of the tube and it's still not air conditioned. Hello, but hasn't someone thought this was a problem in the past thousands and thousands of times and shouldn't people being paid to invent something rather than turning it into a Lottery style fiasco or prize draw dumbing down milarky)
I thank my lucky stars that I do not have to do a journey like that Totteridge and Whetstone to ....anyhere, every day. It makes my Kew to Piccadilly journey seem like a walk in the park - but a park that's full of people with luggage, rucksacks, discarded copies of Metro and blokes sitting on benches with their legs wide apart.
Helping my friend do research for her book at the moment and a becoming obsessed with watching men on the tube sitting with their legs wide apart. If someone can please tell me why you do this? Is it genetic. The Cartoonist sent me this excellent sticker from the Japanese subway where men are simply told not to do it.
And a couple of days ago Metro had the following cartoon.
So guys it's not big or clever (well it is big I spose), but it makes you look really sad.