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Annie Mole's, daily web log (blog) & “guide” to the London Underground
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Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Losing My Religion Tube Busker - captured for posterity

Today I happened to be sitting in a good position to get a picture of my
"favourite" busker and to be able to record the closing ear splitting bars of his tune. I still cannot believe how much money this man gets. He had loads of people making donations this evening and even if they only put in about ten or twenty pence each he would have made at least a couple of quid in two minutes.

Wailing Losing my Religion

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, September 30, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Conspiracy theory blown (quite literally)

D'OH - just when we thought the London blackout and
attendant chaos on the tube a couple of weeks ago was all a government plot to steer media attention away from the Hutton inquiry I just learnt through Simon Waldman's blog that it was mostly to do with the wrong fuse being fitted, something that even a big girl like me would have problems doing.

Britain's biggest blackout for 25 years, which plunged large parts of London into darkness, was the result of a one amp fuse being fitted in place of a 5,000 amp fuse at a substation. said The Guardian.


; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, September 30, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, September 29, 2003

Tube buskers on TV

Watched the TV programme Busking Underground at the weekend on video. (Originally broadcast last Thursday on ITV) Must say I wasn't overly impressed with it and thought it was quite dull really. It was about the trial of the official London Underground buskers and how they were initially chosen. Very quietly spoken voiceover and most of the buskers being interviewed were very compliant and ..... dull.

Did recognise a girl playing a recorder who turns out to be called Netty. Also a punk looking violinist who's called Dimitri.

Dimitri punk busker at Piccadilly circus

I was amazed that even the ones at busy stations like Piccadilly Circus only earned about �10 an hour. I'm not really sure how much I thought they'd earn, but I thought it would be more than that.

The guy that did really well was playing a didgeridoo and he got about �50 in a two hour session and had "crowds" of people round him.

As I walked past the spot at Piccadilly Circus this morning (as I do everyday) I was struggling to remember when I had seen more that two or three people actually standing still and watching the buskers themselves.

Most interested to learn that the company that organises the auditions Automatic is owned by comedian, writer and wife of Billy Connolly, Pamela Stephenson. So that's what she gets up to in her spare time.

I actually felt sorry for poor old Carling too. They sponsor the whole busking thing and even though the programme was on ITV they were referred to as a "drinks company" and any shot with their name on it had the logo blurred out.

For more on buskers check out goingunderground.net's busking page.

; Posted by annie mole Monday, September 29, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, September 26, 2003

Another top poster

Having a good run of seeing tube related posters this week. The following had me and loads of people reading it on the platform of Piccadilly Circus on the Bakerloo Line heading north. It's from
Sue Townsend's Number Ten and describes a fictional incident of the Prime Minister being on the tube.

Sorry about the quality of the picture but the most relevant bits are the opening and closing lines:

"Jack and the Prime Minister were in darkness standing on a stationary Northern Line train. The Prime Minister hated the dark.......

"Now he was hanging on a handle that was suspended from the ceiling of the train, sweat running between the push me up and squeeze me together cups of his wife's brassiere. A madman began to shout about Sir Cliff Richard - accusing him of forcing Hank Marvin to become a Jehovah's Witness"

London Underground poster for Sue Townsend's Number Ten

As the poster implored us to "read more" I'm certainly tempted to.

For more of the real PM on the tube see goingunderground.net's report.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, September 26, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, September 25, 2003

It's my birthday, my b-b-b-birthday

Well it was yesterday. So it was the beer goggles on last night as I came home from a night out in Soho (that'll give Google searchers something to think about) with workmates.

Fortunately I managed to get home with my keys and without having had lots of shots which is usually what happens with work nights out. All was smooth on the way home except the tube gods weren't with me at Turnham Green and I had to wait ten minutes in the cold for a train to Richmond.

I have lost count of the amount of times I have sat or stood at Turnham Green station which should be re-named Turnham Blue as that is the colour your extremities go in the winter there. The only waiting room at Turnham Green is a tiny little hut of room which usually smells of urine and most of the time is locked. However sometimes I have been so desparately cold I have waited in there and even worse fallen asleep in there. Not pleasant.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, September 25, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

The Career Line

Another top ad viewed coming home this evening for Energizer batteries:

London Underground Ad for Energizer batteries - the quick route to success

Love the tube imagery.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, September 24, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, September 22, 2003

Losing my Religion - Tube Busker (part three)

Crikey, had the "delights" of the busker that "sings" and "plays" REM's Losing My Religion for the umpteenth time on going home tonight (last outings in this blog -
June 3rd and August 14th). I noticed that he seemed to have lost a few teeth since the last time I saw him and the mind boggles as to how he lost them. I'm amazed the guy still gets money and with that amazing co-incidence that you can only get when commuting, the people who gave him money on the 14th August gave him more money today! He really shouldn't be encouraged as the last final chords he plays on that song really set my teeth on edge.

Actually I've had a bit of a busking couple of days myself having discovered the excellent Eurobuskers website at the weekend and finding out that on the 25th September there's going to be programme on ITV1 imaginatively called Busking Undergroundwhich follows Carling's and the London Underground's "pilot" scheme to legalise buskers at certain tube stations. It's produced by Mosaic Films who made a good TV series on the London Underground earlier in the year. For more on all of this check out my page on tube music.

; Posted by annie mole Monday, September 22, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Text your Customer Charter Delays - Tube Refunds

What a fantastic new idea. After the debacle over the Central Line closure and the many claims for compensation,
Tube Refund have come up with a great way of making your claims to the London Underground under the Customer Charter easy. The Customer Charter seems to be little known on the tube.

"The London Underground Customer Charter offers a very straightforward refund system for an individual journey delayed more than 15 minutes (except in circumstances outside LU control such as freak weather or security alerts). Claim forms are available at any London Underground station. The refund amount is the standard single fare for the Underground journey you were undertaking."

The problem is that it's quite a hassle to remember to pick up a form, fill it in, post it back, so now, thanks to Tube Refund with a simple text or email, you get a form created and completed in minutes and you send it off the to London Underground by freepost. Up until the 1st November 2003 the service is free, so make the most of it. After that point it's a fiver for 25 forms and considering you could get from �25 to �92.50 for those claims it's still a bargain.

According to The Times the London Underground only receives 1 refund claim for every 1,600 passengers, so hopefully this service will redress the balance.

; Posted by annie mole Sunday, September 21, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Now today I did see a real old lady on the tube and I was just about too late to take a picture of loads of people still sitting down while she stood holding onto a pole looking round for a seat. Needless to say I was standing myself and doing my best Paddington hard stares to try to get people to look in her direction and give her a seat....but to no avail. By the time I got my camera out of my bag to try to get some documentary evidence of this we got to the next stop and several of the lazy bastards near her got off so she was able to have a seat.

I'm sorry but it's one of my major pet hates when people just get tunnel vision on the tube and pretend not to see people who quite clearly need a seat.

For more on when you should or shouldn't give a seat check out this section of

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, September 17, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, September 15, 2003

I am an older woman

Coming home tonight on a pretty crowded tube for the District Line I was standing in front of two teenage girls - one of whom was talking for the entire population of London whilst snacking into a bag of Wheat Crunchies. Fortunately for me they jumped off at Stamford Brook saying "shit" as Turnham Green station was closed and they'd been talking too much to hear the previous announcement.

I sat down and the man in his late fifties/early sixties, next to me said "Their mothers should be given a good talking to" I looked a bit puzzled and he explained, "I can't believe they didn't get up to let an older woman sit down". I actually looked around thinking I hadn't seen any old ladies get onto the tube, and then, with a horrible realisation, gathered that he was referring to me!

Jeesus, I will soon be celebrating the last year of my thirties but didn't think that made me old enough to be seen as someone that teenage girls should get up for. Teenage boys yes, men of any age, yes - I know very sexist, but hey. To set the record straight I really don't expect anyone to stand up for me, apart from when I had my broken leg, and then I would give people such dirty looks if they didn't stand up, I got the feeling they thought I might hit them with my crutches.

; Posted by annie mole Monday, September 15, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, September 11, 2003

What's something that 24% of women admit to doing on the tube?

They will have problems doing it standing up.

They normally need to sit down to do it.

It helps to have a mirror on hand.

It's something I do every morning.

I don't do on the way home that often.

It sometimes attracts a lot of stares from fellow passengers.

I think most women do it in the bedroom or bathroom.

You really, really shouldn't do whilst driving.

It's nothing exciting really..... just putting on make-up.

So almost a quarter of female commuters do this. It's no surprise and it's not like picking your nose or something, but I get amazed at the dirty looks you get from some people whilst doing this. I bet men would shave on the tube if they could be bothered to buy electric razors and weren't being sold the advantages of wet shaving all of the time by Gillette.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, September 11, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

(Tuesday September 9th - really)

The tube fairies were with me

Went out for a meeting in the City and didn't leave until quite late and there were massive delays on the Central Line having a knock on effect to the District. So taking the advice of the announcer I jumped on the first available train which was heading to Wimbledon thinking I'll change at Hurl's Court or Ell's Court or Earl's Court depending on which part of London you're from. After a few stops down the tube fairies who are not on my side very often decided to pay a visit.

The driver announced: "I'm sorry to say ladies and gentlemen that this train is not heading to Wimbledon but to Richmond" I have never in my life been so glad to hear the words "I'm sorry to say", as this meant that I was now as if by magic on the train going to my stop at Kew Gardens (the penultimate stop to Richmond).

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, September 10, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, September 08, 2003

A little knowledge is not a dangerous thing.....

Coming home tonight I got to Glamoursmith (aka Hammersmith) to change onto the beloved District Line. It was about 7.10 and there were an unusally large amount of people there for that time of night. Nothing showing on the indicator and no announcements from the station assistants. So I thought "Right" and stormed over to the help point machine, pressed the blue button for information and waited. After about 30 seconds a guy came on asking if he could help me. I explained there were a lot of people on the platform, no signs of trains and could he let us know when the next one was. After explaining that I was going to Richmond, the line appeared to go dead for a minute, but the guy came back and said it will be about 8-10 minutes.

Great, why not tell us then?

So I politely asked him to make an announcement across the platform as no one knew what was going on and could he also let the people waiting for an Ealing Broadway train know what was going on.

The line went dead and I scowled and some women sitting nearby were giving me encouraging looks and quietly saying "You Go Girl" to themselves.

Hammersmith Help Point

30 seconds later and there were two announcements over the platform telling every one that the trains were leaving Earls Court or South Ken or somewhere further up the line.

Victory. Then every few minutes there were more announcements telling people about the progress. That was my good deed for the day, but you know tube guys a little knowledge isn't a dangerous thing, it might mean you get a bus instead, or it might mean you go off to get some chocolate, but it simply lets you know what the hell is going on.

Cooling Down the Tube - Official Rules at last

I'd always thought it was a bit suspicious that there was nothing about Mayor Ken Livingstone's offer of a reward of �100,000 to find an air conditioning system for the tube, on the official London Underground website. I'd reported on this when I first heard about this in
July! And now in September in usual timely fashion, the tube have decided to resurrect interest in the idea by splashing it across the front page of their site (and it's loads less topical as the heatwave's over - good timing Tube PR guys).

So if you fancy your chances of getting your hands on 100 grand from Sheriff Ken - get your thinking caps on quickly as you only have until the 12th September to apply. For the official rules (strangely under "promotions & offers") see here.

; Posted by annie mole Monday, September 08, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Welcome to WebUser Readers!

Hi to you if you've found this blog from this fortnight's
WebUser magazine where it's featured in BlogOn! pg 14. Massive thanks to Toby Earle for giving the blog and GoingUnderground.net such a top write up: "Annie's transformed the Tube into the commuters' version of Alice in Wonderland....everyone should stop at Going Underground".

Enough, praise and bragging...... if you're looking for specific stuff there's a little search of this blog powered by Google in the right hand links and also on the right you'll be able to navigate the vastness that is Going Underground. You'll soon gather that I'm not a website designer but believe in telling a good story. So if you're looking for probably the biggest collection of funny train - tube driver's announcements you've come to the right place. If you just want to see how I get on with my daily commute (not as boring as it might sound) read on......

Featured in this week's WebUser mag - buy your copy today - only 99p - wot a bargain!

Diamond Geezer's Tube Quiz

Damn you, diamond geezer, I thought I had created the most fiendishly difficult london underground quiz but your one on "guess the Central Line tube station name from the picture" has got me stumped.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, September 04, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Drunk Alert

Went straight to a meeting from home this morning so left a little later than normal and took the Circle Line - it was about 10.30am when I spotted a rather inebriated gentleman clutching a can of Diamond White and with a seat suspciously empty next to him. Well it wasn't suspciously empty when you think about it. If you get on a pretty crowded train and there's an empty seat, there's likely to be a good reason for it, and the best reason is that you'll be sitting next to some undesireable.

Why your tube seat will be empty

Check out www.goingunderground.net for more on this seat "rule".

BBC6 discover Goingunderground.net

Nice little mention on BBC Radio 6 today check out their Website Wasteland section - thanks to DJ Gideon Coe.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, September 03, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

London News Review - launch and PAAARTY

Today looks like one of your last chances to become a founder member what looks like it's going to be one of the best print mags that London has ever seen.
The London News Review will be launched sometime this month and has some cracking contributors.

Of particular interest to this blog is Richard Herring (part of the comedy double act Herring & Lee) - he's going to be doing his own tube diary which I'll be shadowing with interest - looks like I'll have strong competition.

Also it's from the stable of some of the UK's most successful email magazines including The Friday Thing, which was apparently the first general interest email magazine in Europe to become profitable through paid subscriptions; and, what got me interested in them, the great London city guide London By London - has me in fits every Monday morning.

So if you want to subscribe to the mag and get an invite to the star studded party you know where to go!

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, September 02, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, September 01, 2003

Alroight guv Walford East gets a boat race lift

To lighten the mood from the power cuts, London's most popular tube station - the fictional Walford East in the BBC soap EastEnders is going to undergo a face lift to make it seem as authentic as possible. This means adding a stack of Metro newspapers to the outside!

According to
Metro itself, London Underground's Natalie Sutton, who visited the set, said: 'Their copies are looking a bit dog-eared now - but Metro is so much part of London's life, they want it in shot.'

some fans outside Walford East

Too right Natalie - EastEnders has certainly got it right though with the amount of drunks and undesireables found loitering around the tube. If they could have a few of the actors coming out and moaning about delays or being stuck in tunnels they'd be spot on.

For more on this famous station check out tube celebs on goingunderground.net.

; Posted by annie mole Monday, September 01, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

London's Power cut - blackout - continued

Conspiracy theories abound on last week's power failure in London. Was it all a cunning plot by the government to take the heat off and divert attention from Tony Blair who was having to answer to the government's position in the Hutton enquiry as a response to David Kelly's suicide. Lots of letters in Metro today on this theory.

Also the National Grid have
apologised for the power failure - although I heard on the radio that they had warned there was a 20% chance of something like this happening if there was not more investment into the system.

For once though the tube drivers deserve to be called "heroes" the fact that more people did not panic when they were stuck in tunnels was down to the drivers keeping people calm and telling them what was going on. The tube staff appeared to be exemplary when leading people out of stuck tubes and down darkened tunnels. People are talking about the spirit of the blitz and London stocism which actually in this case seems to be true.

The Evening Standard headline screamed that "250,000 commuters were stuck on the London Underground" - meaning 250,000 commuters (inlcuding me) were inconvenienced by it. We weren't all stuck on the tube - Thank God. "Terror as evacuation order given" - no one appeared to be terrified, but people calmly got on with trying to get home, or spent hours in a pub to while away the time.

Again was this all a "spin" to divert attention away from our Prime Minister?

I also wonder if the "mock evacution" will take place on the 7th September, now that we've had a real one?

; Posted by annie mole Monday, September 01, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE