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Thursday, January 27, 2005

What do station assistants do when they're bored?

Write poetry apparently

There's a lot of people who work on the Tube who look as though they're doing nothing. You might see guys and gals standing by the escalators making sure people don't get their feet chopped off or heels stuck. Or you'll give a cursory glance to those standing by the ticket barriers making sure the tickets go through or stopping fare dodgers or "double bunkers" or "slipstreamers" (I don't know what the real word for this is, but you know people who press up close behind you and try to get through the barrier on your fare). You might think "Jeesus what a dull job what must be going through their minds every day", well more than you might think.

Chris Gyrce, who works on the Misery Line (Northern Line) as a station assistant on escalator duty and "gateline" (official term for barrier duty - you learn something new every day) and carries a notebook with him - not for spotting odd or illegal behaviour or reporting defunct escalators, but to write poetry.

Chris said: "Prior to working at an open air station I used to be based at dusty, dirty, Camden Town. The poems that I'm submitting were written during moments of boredom while on gateline and escalator duty at Old Street/Camden Town (part of the Camden Town group)"

So with Chris's permission I've published one here:


Boredom and monotony are my
Well acquainted friends,
As I at the Gateline passenger tickets "mend".

Customers generally are honest and polite,
While I upon their tickets alight,
May I see your ticket, Madam/Sir,
As those gates "hum and whirr"

Father and daughter slipstream
Through the gates together,
Dad, can I see your ticket now or never.....
He hurls obsenities at me,
The worst of humankind maybe.....?

Some passengers gingerly place their tickets in the slot,
Fearful that the gate machine may "gobble" the lot,
Others are in such a hurry,
That their ticket "shivers" from the worry!!

Love in the ticket hall area,
Young couples, giggle, embrace and kiss,
A sight bored eyes do not miss.

I come across this brown-haired young lady,
With a query,
And I but weary,
Notice the multiple silver rings on her finger,
Can I see those rings I enquire?
A gradual smile belies her initial ire.

Perhaps we'll find the next Pam Ayres on the Tube.

; Posted by Annie Mole Thursday, January 27, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE Add to Stumble Upon