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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

When commuting becomes an "act of defiance"

Were you defiant today?

Sir Ian Blair on the Tube - From The Sun It's funny when your normal journey into work becomes an "act of defiance", but that's the general press coverage at the moment. From today's Guardian - "London's mayor, Ken Livingstone, sought to lead the way by turning his normal 35 minute underground journey from north-west London to City Hall into a symbol of the capital's collective defiance". And in a rather undefiant and slightly camp looking pose for The Sun, we see that on the left - "Metropolitan Police chief Sir Ian Blair joined thousands of defiant Londoners by taking the Underground to work yesterday." This could be a great new excuse for being late for work, "Sorry I was late, I was too busy showing terrorists what for".

Defiance T-Shirts

You've proabably by now come across the T Shirt site where you can show your defiance even more (Commission going to the London Bombing Relief Fund).

London Stands T Shirt

I personally think some of the slogans like "You missed me", are a bit tasteless. However, I love the double meaning of "London Stands" - wonder if this was intentional as the guy who set up the site lives in Italy and may not be used to the amount of standing we normally do on the tube? It will be interesting to see how long it is before people are wearing them. (At the moment there's a lot of excited bloggings about how brill they are.) But it will only take someone famous to be photographed wearing one and then they'll take off like wildfire.

Back in Time - Our reaction to Madrid

I went a bit retrospective and looked at my entries after the Madrid terrorist attacks on their railway. Some of them are eerily similar to now:

"Travelling in today and reading Metro and staring at the front page of everybody else's paper it was like that horrible car crash mentality we have of not being able to take our eyes away from something so hideous."

Some of them had that post event weird hindsight: "Obviously Metro couldn't be Metro without a piece saying that "Transport in London 'is safe'", and rightly talks about our fears of similar attacks taking place in London. In fact we're just about to have a "water cooler" discussion about it at work. Commuting will go on regardless - it has to."

In the days that follow (18th March), my and other commuters' blase reaction to a security alert:

"My first security alert since Madrid

Charing Cross Station was closed earlier

Nothing dramatic and everyone treated it like a normal closure. Meant I got on a Bakerloo train at Waterloo, we hung around on the train for a few minutes, then heard that Charing Cross was closed and the Bakerloo Line had been suspended. Hardened commuters and me leapt off the train and went to the Northern Line with not even a second thought and then I got off at Leicester Square (whose roof at escalator level seems to be held together by a load of chicken wire and gaffer tape)."

Plus The Economist's reaction to the grammatical errors on the security posters "Posters plastered over the London Underground after the Madrid bombings seemed oddly keen to encourage natural British reticence rather than vigilance. They may, of course, have been planted by punctuation zealots to illustrate to the grammatically lazy the importance of using commas and semi-colons correctly." and a spoof of the poster in question, showing our more likely reaction:

Spoof security poster from mantlepies.com

A letter from Metro at the time shows that despite the jokes we were still aware that the London Underground was a prime target:

"The letters page of Metro had a cracking letter about someone's worry if a tube train were bombed and how half the carriage would get out if the driver what at the bombed end (cheerful lot aren't we?)

"......why has no one told us what we should do in an emergency if we find ourselves stuck on a train at the un-bombed out end of the train? Presumably, the only member of staff available to direct us would be the driver. But what happens if they are positioned in the bombed-out end of the train? Should we sit tight and wait to be rescued - and risk choking on fumes or beign crushed in a tunnel collapse? Or should we get the hell out and take our chances on the live rails? And if so, how does one get out of a train that's wedged in a tunnel.

Given that the emergency services have said that rescuing live survivors from this sort of disaster would be almost impossible, it seems pretty poor that there's no information available on board the trains to help us make life-or-death decisions at that 'invevitable' moment"

Well I think Rebecca from SE23 has a point. Will we see emergency "airline style" plastic cards with drawings of people legging it from crashed tube trains? Will there be posters?

How times have changed. I wonder what will happen on that front now?

; Posted by Annie Mole Tuesday, July 12, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE Add to Stumble Upon