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Annie Mole's, daily web log (blog) & “guide” to the London Underground
If you like this you'll LURVE One Stop Short of Barking, the fun and informative book about travelling
on the London Underground.

Saturday, January 25, 2003

Tube Crash at Chancery Lane

Fortunately, since I started GoingUnderground.net over four years ago now there has been no major crash on the tubes. We've had hideous loss of life on British Rail at Paddington and Potters Bar, but fortunately nothing on the London Underground. So I was quite shocked to hear today of a crash and derailment at Chancery Lane. Thank goodness there were no fatalities, but over 30 people were injured and the whole thing sounds like a nightmare. People were flung around the carriages, doors came off and glass was flying everywhere. Again in the troubled times we're living in at the moment, it was a relief to hear that it wasn't a terrorist attack and the latest theory seems to be that there was wheel or axle failure. More reports on my site - when I find out more on this.

; Posted by annie mole Saturday, January 25, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, January 23, 2003


Home at last - it's been a long day. Usual wait at Glamoursmith and the Gods were not with me today. Two Ealing Broadway trains before one came to Richmond. Sat in a daze really until the formerly pink haired
busker got on with his dirge like rendition of REM's Losing My Religion. (the busker had pink hair a couple of years ago and it was a sort of flourescent pink that made him look a bit like one of those troll dolls that you stick on the end of pencils) Losing my Religion is his favourite number and today was performed particularly badly. He howled his was through the final chorus and then did a tune free cat wailing sounding bit of guitar strumming to finish. You feel like saying don't give up the day job at the end. But that probably is his day job.


Had to buy a ticket due to last night's escapades - see below. Travelled in reading a report for the first of two meetings today (great day for two almost back to back meeting), swigging copious amounts of fizzy mineral water and nursing a large hangover and the beginnings of a heavy cold. Too hungover to remember much about that journey.

EVENING - 22nd January

OHMIGOD - Went out for drinks after work and got totally trashed along with several other people from the office. To cut a long story short, my friends had to escort a drunken colleague out of the bar we were in, as they had thrown up in said bar. I was in the toilet at the time and when I returned, they had all disappeared along with my coat. In my coat was my travelcard and my house keys - wonderful (it turns out that had just packed my coat up with a pile of others and bundled my pukey friend off too).

So I did the journey back on the tube in complete auto pilot. I had to buy a ticket as well for which I stupidly in my drunken honesty asked for the correct ticket. If I had been more sober I would have just asked for a ticket to get me through one zone, knowing full well that Kew Gardens Station is always unmanned with the gates open from about 10.30 onwards. Shows how drunk I was.

Got on at Piccadilly Circus, fell asleep in drunk manner, auto piloted myself awake at Turnham Green and amazingly (the Gods were with me last night) a Richmond train turned up within seconds. Auto piloted myself awake just as the train pulled in to Kew Gardens. I think my body must just naturally be able to recognise the distance, which is amazing cos the District Line is normally so rubbish and usually stops between stops. But perhaps my body even compensates for the rubbishness somehow.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, January 23, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

EVENING - Damn you blog, it was Monday 20th Jan when I started writing this

This evening I shall be mostly travelling by British Rail as the District Line was screwed. Quelle surprise.

MORNING - Damn you blog, it was Monday 20th Jan when I started writing this

Made it onto the District Line by the skin of my teeth this morning, but luckily got a seat so had time to catch my breath.

Dumped wet umbrella to the floor, did make up and then spent the rest of the journey reading about
Alastair Campbell - Tony Blair's director of communications and strategy who's running the London Marathon in aid of the Leukeamia Research Fund as his best friend the investigative journalist John Merritt died of the illness in his mid thirties and his daughter also died when she was nine years old. Ali Campbell is said to be the 2nd most powerful man in the UK and is generally thought of a sleazemeister but I was actually quite touched by reading the feature in yesterday's Observer. Sort of made be bother less about all the rain and rubbish when I left Piccadilly Circus.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, January 21, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, January 17, 2003


Where do I know you from moment - London has 3 million people who travel on tube every day so it still amazes me when I bump into or see someone I know. I'm sure statisicians would say it isn't amazing as people you know tend to live or work near you, have similar lifestyles, therefore may be travelling at similar times etc etc, but out of all those people you still think...what are the chances of that happening?

Today I happened to be going home in a slightly different way so I left at Waterloo and was going up an escalator and on the parallel escalator going up too was a guy I used to work with called Robin Coates. Bumped into him at a New Media Awards ceremony last year as he was presenting an award and the compare (comic Never Mind the Buzzcocks TV presenter Bill Bryson) introduced him as an "anorak thief". Very quick and I was still giggling about it going through Waterloo mainline station to finish my journey.


Result. Got onto crowded Piccadilly Line at Glamoursmith (Hammersmith) stepped over feet and bags to stand precariously in the middle of the train, stood in front of someone who got off at the next stop. Seat in one stop. Hoorah.

Leaving at Piccadilly Circus there seemed to be an extraordinary amount of people reading their books whilst travelling up the escalator. It's top how you can sometimes get so engrossed in a book you simply can't put it down. It's bottom when you're so engrossed in it that you miss your stop. Has happened to me on a couple of occasions and gallyingly I can't even remember the books that caused me to do it.

EVENING - 16th January (confounded blog it became tomorrow while I was making this entry)

Left work quite late tonight as morning meeting took a lot out of my day. Couldn't really switch off so was making lots of notes and listening to Massive Attack on my mini-disk. Seemed you work well and got so into their dark miserable moody tones, found it indistinguishable from life on the tube.

MORNING - 16th January (confounded blog it became tomorrow while I was making this entry)

Presentation in King's Cross this morning so had to walk through the station to get out at the Thameslink exit. It's one of those really really long walks when you wonder when you are actually going to reach the exit, or simply find you've walked out and have crossed a different time zone. Changing lines at Monument has a similar effect.

busker though while I was doing my trek through the corridors. I really don't mind those buskers that are stationary and just sit in the corridors as it actually brightens up a boring walk. I do object to the ones that move from carriage to carriage as there's no escape from them and they're more in your face.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, January 17, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, January 15, 2003


First time since doing this blog that I've been a night time commuter. Got on at 10pm and home at 11pm ish. Slightly wassed while doing this entry, so excuse any typos. On at Leceister Square which was surprisingly empty and managed to wake up in time to change at Hammersmith. Hovered around the doors at Glamoursmith though cos "late at night" (whatever that means) the Piccadilly line carries onto Turnham Green and stops there, which is sweet as you can sometimes pick up the District Line that you would have missed - God I'm going to have to revisit this. I know what I'm trying to say and it even sounds confusing to me now. Anyway, fortunately the mythical district line to Richmond reared its ugly head on the indicator board, so I boarded promptly
fell asleep and then my sensors woke me at Gunnersbury, slept again for a minute and sensors woke me at Kew Gardens where I fell off the tube and zig zagged home.


Stood from Kew Gardens to Hammersmith and from Hammersmith to Hyde Park corner - deep joy! What a difference trying to get to work for 9.30 makes. Look on the map to see how many stops that is. It's quite a lot, and bloody ridiculous when you get on the the penultimate stop on a line. What's the point in living in suburbs if not to get a seat on the train. Standing sucks.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, January 15, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, January 14, 2003


Back to the normal delights of changing at Hammersmith to get the District Line back to Kew. Whatever people in Ealing say, they are wrong there are DEFINITELY more trains that go to Ealing Broadway from Hammersmith. I would say at least two for every one that's going to Richmond. As you can tell I need the Richmond bound one and actually since I've been doing this blog today has been the worst time of waiting for a Richmond one. Ooops, boring journey alert, boring journey alert. Stop now.


Had another out of the office meeting at about 3ish and it was one of those auto pilot tube journeys from Piccadilly Circus to Holborn which I have no recollection of apart from a fleeting sensation on the way back to Piccadilly Circus of feeling the tube woud be the best place to be if there was a gas bomb or something in the streets of London. Escalator seemed so deep you just feel like you're really going into the bowels of the earth.


Had the joy of a meeting in Victoria this morning so a straight journey on the District Line, no changes, nothing. Legged it onto the train and the only remaining seat had a massive blurt of what I hoped was tomato ketchup up the side. So I perched on the end of the seat until another seat became free. Perhaps I'm paranoid cos loads of other people sat down fully on the seat after me without either noticing or being bothered. I don't normally think about tube seat hygiene too much and in fact had outed an urban myth about
the state of tube seats. But I do have a really wierd thing about dried on tomato ketchup or sauces. I'm perfectly happy with them on my own food, but don't like seeing tomato sauce stains or leftovers on other people's plates. Ugh.

Where do I know you from moment - Spooky someone sitting a few seats up from me. I almost went over and said hello Anton, because his eyes and eyebrows and hairstyle were almost identical to my friend Anton. The rest of his face was momentarily obscured by someone else's head, but "Jesus tonight" he could have been Anton's twin brother from his eyes and eyebrows. If you know Anton you'll realise how spooky this really is. Anton is the only man I know who has to comb his eyebrows into place and if he pulls them down to their full length they cover his eyes.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, January 14, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, January 13, 2003


Spied a hardly eaten Cadbury's Guarana Boost left on the section between two escalators at Piccadilly Circus. Brill. I had Cadbury's chocolate who unfortunately have the concession of all the
chocolate machines on the London Underground. However one day I thought I would try a new Boost Guarana. It was the most vile chocolate experience in my life. It tasted of poison. I threw it away after two bites. It ought to be banned and whoever at Cadbury's who thought "I know lets mix up some of our dirt tasting chocolate with glucose and Guarana to give people an energy boost, never mind that it tastes like the scrapings at the bottom of a witches couldron. We'll put it in a trendy green wrapper (Hello - Green = mint on chocolate bars - do they know nuffin?) and sell it for loads". Whoever they were ought to be sacked. In fact sacking's too good for them. They ought to be force fed Boost Guarana's for the rest of their lives.

Anyway suffice to say I hate them and after seeing the left over one tonight there is another fellow sufferer on the tube.


Uneventful, not that the tube is full of events. However was listening to Capital Radio this morning and a DJ was at King's Cross station in the control rooms making jokes about whistles and being given a signal man's hat and lo and behold driver announcement at Hammersmith - King's Cross station is closed. Why due to cheesy DJ jokes, due to microphone failure, due to skipping CD's. We the public should be told.

; Posted by annie mole Monday, January 13, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Sunday, January 12, 2003

MORNING - Saturday 12th January

Not a normal commuting entry, I don't normally go to work on Saturday, but had to be in Blackheath for work reasons and ended up getting the tube to Charing Cross. The tube is almost a joy on Saturday early mornings. Not many people on it. The district line rarely does it's normal f**k up of stopping between stops and the drivers have their tour operator heads on. Got off at Embankment to the almost cheerful announcement of "Change here for the London Eye, Trafalgar Square and Westminster". Most train driver announcements are dull and bored "stand clear of the doors", "mind the gap" sort of things which is why the
humorous driver announcement section of my main site has gone ballistic.

image courtesy of Russell Becker

Absolutely huge party of Japanese tourists got on a few stops up from me and were poured out at Embankment. Were actually quite unusual for Japanese tourists as not a camera visibly in sight and none of those strange Michael Jackson stylie masks on either.

; Posted by annie mole Sunday, January 12, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, January 10, 2003


Where do I know you from? moment - Often happens to me on the tube, you see someone out of context and think, where the hell do I know you from. They're not a friend or a colleague but someone you see so frequently but they're in their civvies as a normal commuter like you and hardly recognisable. Well this time it was the girl who works in the sandwich shop I go into almost every day. We were both travelling down parallel escalators at the same time and I had that "where do I know you from? moment". Normally she's in a white shirt with white apron. By night she's transformed into a leather jacketed, leather booted chick with bootleg trousers.


Friday Hoorah, last commuting day except I've got to go to Blackheath tomorrow for a work do, although I should be able to the whole thing on BR and at least on Saturdays public transport isn't the heaving overcrowded cattle truck it normally is.

EVENING - 9th January 2003

Most nauseating moment on the tube - Eeeeeeeeeeeew - A rather unattractive Ginger in his late forties snogging a much younger girl against the glass doors of the waiting room at Hammersmith station. How nice for everyone inside - guess where I was sitting? However it did mean that I could put the earlier test from the woman in Metro into practice. You know the article (
blogged on Monday) about how you can tell a lot by looking at a person's tongue. Certainly saw most of his for the time they were tonsil tickling.

MORNING - 9th January 2003

Apparently there's a fly on the wall TV documentary about the tube which is starting today. Hope it's not going to be just a livecam in a tube carriage because it will be duller than Big Brother 3 watching and listening to most commuters. Although perhaps the whole thing would be completely different if people know cameras were watching them. Perhaps there is a Jade in all of us. Perish the thought.

I imagine it will be about the staff though so who will be the tube's Jade. Or Brian or anyone from the first series who have all now been completely forgotten. Oh the fickle hand of fame. You're on TV 24 hours a day for two months then you're no one.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, January 10, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, January 08, 2003


Most amusing thing seen on the tube - A woman with a handbag made out of crisp packets. It wasn't a bag lady either. I was looking at her bag and it seemed to be made out of little triangles of tin foil then looking closer I could see doritos logos and things that looked like crisps and bar codes and all sorts. Not sure if you've seen people in pubs who've when they've finished with their crisps fold the packets neatly up into little triangles well, someone had done this big time and made them into a handbag. It was like something out of Reeves and Mortimer "we took five hundred crisp packets and folded them up to make this rather fetching shoulder bag".

Reminded me of the guy whose making money out of scupltures based on him doing origami and
complicated folded designs using tube tickets.


Best Metro moment

London Underground's traditonal New Year campaign to recruit more female staff. Every year in January LU trumpet on about how they will place adverts in loads of women's mags in an attempt to gain more chicks as drivers or station assistants. I bet it'ds really difficult being a female train driver as you can hear all the stuff about women drivers and somehow I get the feeling tube drivers are blokes' blokes. Don't know why, just call it female inutition.

The worst thing I can think of a being a chick on the tube would be to have to wear one of those god awful hats that make you look like you've wobbled off the set of Captain Scarlet or are pretending to be an air hostess for some low budget airline. While thinking about this today I saw a woman who had taken the sensible decision to wear one of the guy's hats (or maybe they'd just run out of the Captain Scarlet headgear). Add the wonderful baton to the picture and you have a fashion nightmare - no wonder it's hard to recruit women.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, January 08, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, January 07, 2003


Tube nutter alert, tube nutter alert. Noticed someone at Hammersmith station screaming at some yoofs on the other side of the tracks. Came out of the waiting room to see drunken Irish bloke and a area clearing round him. Moved down the platform but typically he got on the train and the same carriage as me. Fortunately was at the other end of the carriage for most of the stop but it seemed like and eternity. You know when you can sense everyone in the carriage becoming totally interested in their books and papers but no one actually turning any pages cos you just want to keep your eye contact away from his. Anyway only had to put up with his incoherent rambling for two stops - most memorable ramble

"There are five continents in the world, Europe, Africa, China and, and......Russia." Hmmmmmm - no prizes for geography then.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, January 07, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, January 06, 2003


Most interesting fact in Metro -
Metro's free newspaper the commuter's lifesaver. Saves you having to make eye contact with people and also involves a conversation. Like "have you finished with your Metro mate?". Today's "famous commuter" was some woman who's written a book on nutrition. Metro do scrape the barrel with their famous people who use the tube Monday feature (probably cos hardly anyone famous never really travels on it). Anyway famous nutritition woman likes talking to people on the tube so she can see their tongues. Apparently you can tell a lot about a person by looking at their tongue. Can't say I've ever put in into practice but may try in the next few weeks.

Eavesdrop of the day - written - overlooking at someone's exciting report Security, Clarity, Creativity was the riveting title. You never know what to might see someone reading on the tube. I often see lawyers with many juicy cases - just wish I was on the jury - second thoughts having done the mind numbing two weeks of boredom that is jury service - I'm glad I'm not.

Eavesdrop of the day - verbal - "And then I got delayed at Guildford and then they told us all to change trains. I woulnd't have minded but it was sooo cold. Then we all piled onto the train, then it got stuck again"....then I put on my mini-disc walkman - Protection by Massive Attack. There's nothing more dull than listening to people's tales of woe about their journeys, so I will try not to do it, in this blog, unless I can inject a bit of humour into it.

Commuters New Year's Resolution I must run up the escalator at Piccadilly Circus cos it's good for me, but then I must get knackered halfway up and squeeze in front of the next person on the steps (me) and invade their personal space.

Funniest thing seen on travels A man with the most ridulous haircut going into Piccadilly Circus - it looked like a dark haireded version of Mozart's wig.


Worst tube ad - TV5 on cable TV is a French TV Channel. Headline "French TV at it's best" Spot the deliberate mistake. Perhaps they're not great at grammar.

Books spotted - a couple next to me both reading novels by Kundera - not the same novel - that would be spooky but two different titles. I love it when people are reading the same book as me as you feel like you're in a little club!

Eavesdrop of the day (2) - written Guy opposite me reading a copy of theatre lovies' newspaper The Stage. Spotted the obituary of James Hazeldine. Top TV actor who was in London's Burning for years but also in this really weird drama series called The Last Train. It was about people who were in a train crahs and it somehow meant they survived the apocalypse and so you had this collection of motley travellers from the same carriage roaming around the UK trying to find other survivors. Makes you wonder what would happen if you were stuck in the same carriage with people for the rest of your life.


Well I thought it was about time I had one, being New Year and all that and the site's now four years old - OHMIGOD! So it will be a daily posting of my experiences on the tube. Random musings and sometimes not complete, if you want that stuff go to back to the main site.

So if you want a little bit more of the mind of Annie Mole, then tune into my daily blog. A perfect companion piece to www.goingunderground.net, THE fun and informative site about travelling on the London Underground.

; Posted by annie mole Monday, January 06, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE
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