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Annie Mole's, daily web log (blog) & “guide” to the London Underground
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Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Todays Metro Momentos

Metro is brill today

Love on the Tube

I hardly know where to start with today's Metro. Firstly we have the follow up of their "star crossed lovers" The Tunnel of Love photo story (first seen on the
8th December), about people who see each other each day on the tube, finally plucking up the courage to speak and get together.

The particuarly weird thing about the photos though is that they're supposed to be on the tube on New Year's Eve, strangely the rest of the carriage is empty. No cans of lager, no people holding cans of lager, no people saying "Aaaaaaaaaaaaargh", no people saying "Cheer up luv it's New Year's Eve", no people bellowing "Happy New Year" when you're trying to sleep off an upcoming hangover. Most peculiar.

Five page Transport Special

In a particularly inspired move Metro also have a walking guide for hungover Londoners and how to get to many of London's "beauty spots" by tube. "Every step will ease the effects of that Fifth tequila"

I am loving the urban wilderness section where they look at stops on the end of tube lines.

Mill Hill East - "on arrival you'll think that's a generous allotment" Areas of local interest "The new Waitrose" Think "An urban Gibralter".

Walthamstow - "we were expecting concrete & crime. Instead we found a 17th century village idyll, marshes and the home of Marigold gloves." Areas of local interest "the railway came and they turned their talents to Marigolds and condom-making". Think - "An urban Ibiza. All you hear about is the debauched crime-ridden, ker-a-zey side. But venture out of the centre and you'll find history, beauty and serene wildlife." - Err right.

The urban safari section is also brilliant with places such as Richmond Park, Isleworth Ait and Gunnersbury Triangle all a mere hop, skip and jump from where I live. "Why go to a zoo when you can plunge deep into the bush? And that doesn't mean Shepherd's Bush. The nature reserves of London are ideal for an urban safari".

Forget nature reserves, what about the tube itself - with its commuter pigeons - go to the Hammersmith & City Line side of Hammersmith station and wait about five minutes and you'll see loads of the little bleeders hopping on and off the carriages.

Commuting pigeons on the Hammersmith & City Line

Then there's the tube mice at Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Circus and Waterloo usually on the Bakerloo line, you'll see them scuttling around the tracks and suicide pits.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, December 31, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tube Buskers continue into 2004

Official Busking "trial" will carry on

Delighted to hear that the
busking santa 1 and 2, top busking chick, Dimitri, the Pop Idol buskers and various other official buskers will be continuing into 2004. Sadly this won't make a jot of difference to unofficial buskers like the Losing My Religion busker who will carry on playing in their "merry" way.

A spokesman for Carling, the drinks company behind making London Underground buskers official in May, said:

"At least one person is in what look to be the final stages of negotiations with a major record label after she was spotted on the Tube, and we're expecting other people to be successful too. " I wonder if it was top busking chick?

Also busking has meant some buskers can actually earn a fair bit of money (unlike Badly Drawn Boy). One busker at Green Park tube station earned 160 quid in four hours.


Geoff Marshall kindly sent me this picture of a cone busker that he saw today at Oxford Circus

Cone busker at Oxford Circus

Geoff says "He was pissed and playing "We wish you merry christmas" by just blowing farty noises through the traffic cone. And I actually saw people giving him money!

Now don't try telling me that he's sponsored by Carling � :-) "

Cheers Geoff. I'm sure he wasn't!

See the Evening Standard for more on the official buskers.

See my main site for more on the London Underground buskers in general.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, December 31, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

New Year's Eve - Tubes will run throughout the night

No sign of a strike and tubes will run all night

Well I think the New Year's Eve bit of the
squash strike is also off as I can't see any mention of it in the news. And "for one night only" the tube will be running all night for New Year "revellers" and transport is free from 11.44pm and 4.30am. So no just missing the last train and no hideously slow night buses - just wish they could do it every weekend.

Happy New Year

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, December 31, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Signs of the New Year on the London Underground

You know you're approaching New Year on the tube.....

  • When there's loads of kids on the tube who've not gone back to school yet and tired looking parents

  • When stations are even more filled with people with oversized rucksacks and luggage on wheels

  • When there's a eye hurting display of red and blue Nicotinell "giving up smoking product" ads on the escalators

  • When the exit and entrance to Piccadilly Circus tube station has a little cage around it - to stop people falling down the stairs while "revelling" around Eros

  • When there's loads of out of towners (not just overseas tourists) standing on the left on escalators - CAN'T YOU READ? There are signs saying stand on the right EVERYWHERE.

  • Detail from a London Transport Mr Chomendley Warner style poster - click to see full image

    Happy New Year's Eve Eve

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

    Public Private Partnership of the London Underground is.....

    PPP - One year on and what do you think?

    Obviously a leading question.

    "Travellers on the London Underground have endured a dramatic collapse in the network's reliability since its part privatisation a year ago, with private contractors being forced to pay heavy fines (�32.2 million in fact) for failing to deliver on their commitments.

    "Internal London Underground documents seen by
    The Guardian reveal that the government's public private partnership (PPP) has had a disastrous start, with soaring breakdowns, track problems and points failures."

    It gets worse:

    "According to LU's internal figures, the number of train failures every month has jumped by 23% this year. Track problems have risen by 20% to 76 a month and points failures are up by 38% to 46 incidents a month."

    Tube Lines, which runs the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines, is the worst . Since the beginning of 2003, it has been fined �16.8m for missing targets. Terry "Tezzer" Morgan, the head honcho of Tube Lines, said: "I have to say we've been challenged by the condition of some of the assets we're working with. Things have historically been done on a 'make do and mend' basis."

    And some excellent hefty spinning by John Weight the head of Metronet. He says reliability was within the bounds of what he expected but "probably at the lower end". "As far as we're concerned, it's been a year of good progress. We continue to learn and understand some of the shortcomings of the network."

    More on PPP, if you can face it, in Google News.

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

    Monday, December 29, 2003

    Shepherd's Bush and Arsenal Boxer Shorts - don't exist

    No racy tube boxer shorts, but some very nice T Shirts

    So Ian, you bad, bad man - those
    boxer shorts you told me that the London Transport Museum shop were selling with Shepherd's Bush in the front and Arsenal on the back, don't exist. I knew it was too good to be true. However I discovered some brilliant T Shirts in the shop today which would be more at home in a little concession shop in G-A-Y at The Astoria on Tottenham Court Road than in the transport museum's shop.

    Firstly, nestled next to the Angel T shirts were some Cruising ones. Now Cruising I suppose does have something to do with London Transport. I thought of buses cruising. Do buses cruise or do they idle? Possibly. We'll give them that.

    Cruising T shirts at London Transport Museum Shop

    However, with the next T shirts along, the links to London Transport were even more tenuous:

    Hello Sailor T shirts at London Transport Museum Shop

    Hello Sailor? Ah come on. They are seriously having a laugh here. At a push you could say they were connected with London Transport's river boats, but I really think this is more than a large nod to the gay market.

    Good on them, though, they were loads nicer than the self referential dull Trainspotter ones.

    Ere luv - I've got some very nice Mind the Gap T shirts round the back if you want them. Mind the Gap, luv, very trendy, loads of people bought them this year. Kate Moss is very partial to them. I can do you a deal for a T shirt and a pair of boxers and a thong - perfick for the New Year.

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

    It's snowing!

    Let it snow, let it rain, let it snow!

    After coming to work through a monsoon and then walking through a lake when I got to Piccadilly Circus, now having finished chatting to all in the office about Xmas, it's snowing. But it's that shitty central London snow which is more like rain really, but colder and because it's been so wet isn't going to settle and will turn to horrible dirty brown slush.

    Today's Metro Momento

    A very thin issue of Metro this morning (obviously advertisers don't think saddos like myself and colleagues at work who are back between Xmas and New Year are worth selling to. They're right, we're all too busy feeling sorry for ourselves and talking about Christmas and deleting 300 odd emails about loans, mortgages and the V word).

    But a letter in Metro was worthy of note:

    "My train was cancelled the other day due to a bridge strike. What on earth are they complaining about? All they do is stand around all day looking archful. What's come over them (apart from a few trains, a lorry and two pigeons)? Next thing it'll be the traffic lights coming out in sympathy. Chaos will ensue. Mark my words: it's the thin end of a very fat wedge." Brian Donnelly.

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

    I so need to learn Czech

    I think they're insulting me

    Another interesting referral as a result of my blog almost winning the Guardian British Blog Awards.

    "Sm�lu jsem m�l i p�i n�v�t�v� London Underground Tube Diary (Best specialist - Highly commended). Str�nka se asi dv� minuty na��tala - a nena�etla. Pot�ilo m� alespo� ocen�n� blogu Stuarta Hughese, toliko nositele m�ho superpresti�n�ho Blogu t�dne."


    Now roughly and very, very roughly translated the above means:

    "Worse luck jsem m�l as well as with attendance The great wen Underground Tube Diary Best speciality Highly commended ). Aspect to aromatically two minutes tap plus nena�etla. Solace myself at least assessing blogu Stuarta Hughese , merely wear m�ho superpresti�n�ho Blogu weeks."

    WTF? If anyone has a better translation which doesn't involve lots more Czech I would love to know it.

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

    Sunday, December 28, 2003

    Worse than trainspotters

    Yes there is something worse than trainspotting

    Just popped over to
    Diamond Geezer's blog which reminded me of a man I sat next to on the tube just before Xmas.

    He had a little WHSmith notepad which he was scribbling into. Nosy bleeder that I am, I looked to see what he was writing. The notepad had the names of lots of people on each page with a town at the top. I thought it was an address book, so went back to staring at the ads.

    But something wasn't quite right. There were just names and no addresses or phone numbers and some of the names sounded familiar. And why was he shuffling through glossy brochures on his lap at the same time? What were the little ticks against the names for?

    Suddenly the penny dropped when some of the more familiar names were just a bit too familiar:

    Steve McFadden
    Lesley Joseph
    Lucy Benjamin
    Julian Clary
    Bonnie Langford

    OH MI GAWD - he was a pantomime celeb spotter. The pad was full of celebrities who were starring in pantomimes and the glossy leaflets on his lap were flyers advertising the pantos.

    It was possibly the saddest thing in the world.

    ; Posted by annie mole Sunday, December 28, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

    Wednesday, December 24, 2003

    Where's Busking Santa? - Part Two

    Santa has a new musical instrument

    Just as I was heading for home, it appears that
    Santa has given up on the guitar and picked up a trumpet instead and gave us a jaunty version of O Come all ye Faithful at Piccadilly Circus. I gave him 50p which should buy a few pounds of carrots for Rudolph.

    Santa busking at Piccadilly Circus

    Merry Christmas and see you on the 29th December (groan, back to work after just four days).

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

    Where's Pissed Santa - Part Seven

    Santa spotted having a slash on Christmas Eve

    Well I suppose we won't be seeing our inebriated friend for much longer. He's been spotting relieving himself all over the London Underground now and this morning there he was again on my carriage on the Bakerloo line as I headed into Piccadilly Circus.

    Santa having a slash on the Bakerloo Line

    Check out his previous spots in a
    carriage on the District Line and his first spot at Earls Court, then Embankment, Waterloo, Angel and Ravenscourt Park. I'll miss him in the New Year.

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

    More signs of Christmas on the Tube

    Red Bull, Emptiness and Wet footsteps

    The tube carriages are getting emptier and emptier as the Christmas clearout begins. On the District Line yesterday morning there was a real commuter "after party" feel about the train. Distinctive blue and silver cans of Red Bull for helping people keep awake and lots of discarded copies of Metro (hopefully, also to keep them awake)

    District line carriage showing signs of Christmas

    Although it was much busier when I changed at Glamoursmith (Hammersmith) to get onto the Piccadilly Line.

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

    London Underground Strike Called Off

    or Strike for Sacked Sickie Squash Player Suspended & Squashed

    Just learnt that the
    planned strike for Xmas Eve has been called off following arbitration and talks by the conciliation group Acas.

    RMT general secretary Bob Crow, clearly wearing his Santa outfit, said: "RMT is pleased that Acas has now offered its help in resolving the dispute, and we are approaching that process with goodwill."

    Read more from Google News here.

    Hoorah, although the one planned for New Year's Eve could still go ahead.

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

    Guardian British Blog Awards - more referrals & driver's announcements

    I will get bored of talking about the awards one day

    I will, I promise, but for the moment please humor me. Getting highly commended in the
    Guardian Blog Awards has been a great end to a year where I had a particularly shitty summer, so it's fab to have a lot of extra visitors and very nice comments and emails.

    It's quite nice having a "delicious blog" - well according to Google's translation of baquia.com's review. Anyone who can speak Spanish may find it really means something else altogether - see the original page

    I particularly like Blogcritics.org calling this blog "howlingly funny" and I have visions of people sitting at their desks turning into the American Werewolf in London - who incidentally used to attack people on the London Underground and parts of the film were shot at the disused Aldwych tube station and the very much used station at Tottenham Court Road.

    Also just received a good email from a guy in Boston, part of which gives a great train driver's announcement - as it's not from the tube I won't add it to the main site, but thought it deserved to be seen:

    "The other day, one of my friends was telling me how she thinks it's possible to get a good sense of a city's culture by riding the public transport. I tend to agree with her - so I'm glad I found your site as a way to keep tabs on one of my favorite cities.

    I do have an unusual train announcement for you. It's from Boston's 'T', not the tube, so maybe it doesn't count. I thought it was pretty funny, though:

    Train: Bing-bong! (doors start to close) (doors spring open again)

    Driver: (irritated) Ladies and gentlemen, please do not hold the doors. If you hold the doors, the motor will burn out. If the motor burns out, the train will be taken out of service. If the train is taken out of service, you will all be late for work. Your boss will yell at you. You will yell at your spouse. Your spouse will yell at the kids. The kids will kick the dog. The dog will bite the mailman. So for goodness sake, do NOT hold the doors!."

    Definitely on a par with some London ones I've heard, but can't beat the sheer beauty of: �Mind the doors. Yes you, the woman in the long brown coat, love. I suggest you should shave your legs in future, it'll stop the hairs getting caught in the doors. Look at her everyone! Mingin!

    Keep those tube driver's announcements coming.

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

    Tuesday, December 23, 2003

    Sleeping on the tube

    Festivities catching up on commuters

    I was half asleep yesterday and to be honest I almost fell asleep in the office (thank Christ my CEO isn't a regular reader of my blog). But it wasn't just me. Most of the depleted numbers of people on my carriage coming into work, were asleep or nodding off - too many parties, too much shopping or general end of year hibernation instinct.

    It can be hazardous
    sleeping on the tube at night and there's far too many instances of me doing this to find them all. Use the Google search on the right and put in "asleep" if you want to find some of them. Although Jan 15th was my first one since blogging, rapidly followed by another on Jan 22nd.

    I do have a built in sixth sense that luckily wakes me up at the right stop and I've only had to go back more than one stop once, when I was completely trollied after a Xmas party about four years ago and woke up at Heathrow Airport - I then actually went too far coming back into town and had to go out again (NOT clever).

    My colleague who sits next to me and gets British Rail, recently left a party deliberately early to get home to Bedford, fell asleep and woke up somewhere ridiculously north of that - Wellingborough in Northamptonshire. He then had to pay forty quid to get a cab home and got back at two o'clock in the morning (NOT clever).

    Apparently a good tip that someone told me about is to set the alarm on your mobile phone to go off for how long it normally takes you to get home. This is fine if you get off at a stop that's not in a tunnel, and if the tubes are running normally. Also if you can actually remember to do this you're probably sober enough to wake up of your own accord anyway.

    So kind of appropriate I saw this Pro Plus ad yesterday:

    Pro Plus tube advert - she looks how I felt

    ; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, December 23, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

    Monday, December 22, 2003

    Tube Strike Driver apologises for disruption

    Sickie Squash playing driver is sorry

    Ahhh bless! What started out as something where you felt sorry for the driver is now turning into a bit of a shambles. You may have read all the stuff about the
    London Underground driver who got sacked for playing squash when he was supposed to be off sick with an ankle injury. He had been told by his doc that playing squash would improve his ankle. But the LU bosses thought otherwise, sacked him and this led to a strike in November by the RMT to try to reinstate him.

    Defiance of sacked tube driver at the heart of Christmas Strikes in The Evening Standard

    The next strike over this dispute is planned for Xmas Eve and also on New Year's Eve, and the driver has spoken out to The Evening Standard today in an attempt to get public opinion on his side.

    "I'm really sorry if by having a strike I'm going to ruin people's Christmas - but my whole life has been ruined," he says.

    "I don't want revenge, I just want my job back. That's why I have to piss off the people of London ... it's the one course of action available to me. I have to look after my family."

    Well the strike didn't work before and it's unlikely to now. Even Mayor Ken Livingstone is against this strike who pointed out that Chris Barrett had taken 218 days off sick in five years.

    Fortunately it will just be limited to the Hammersmith & City Line, so will not "ruin people's Christmas", but inconvenience many thousands who'll be swearing at this man, then swearing at the Unions and calling the whole thing a farce.

    Just in case you travel on that line it will be effected from 0430 GMT on 24 December and 0429 GMT on 25 December, and between noon on 31 December and 1159 GMT on 1 January, 2004.

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

    Where's Pissed Santa?

    Why drunken Father Christmas is red and white

    Today a friend emailed me the following picture to explain why
    London Underground's Pissed Santa is dressed in red and white:

    Click to enlarge

    A plausible enough explanation considering how much he's drunk over this period.

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

    What language is this in?

    I'm still having fun seeing who's been reporting on this blog since being commended in The Guardian Blog Awards, but
    this one is really puzzling me as I can't work out what language it's in. Looking at the country reference in my referral stats I have a feeling it's a Serbian news site.

    It references some Guardian winners and commended in the 22nd December feature. I'd love a translation if anyone can speak Serbian. Cheers.

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

    Sunday, December 21, 2003

    You heard it here first

    Where this blog leads, the papers follow!

    After that incredibly arrogant statement, I had a good laugh to see that in yesterday's The Knowledge, (a supplement in London editions of The Times on Saturday), their shopping section covered
    London Underground gifts. Ooer and what do we see - the top moquette, tube seat upholstery, dog coat - first mentioned here on November 7th, then again on December 15th and also the tube tiles, mentioned here on December 17th. The heading of the feature was even called Going Underground!

    London Underground Xmas Gifts in The Times

    Hmm, I wonder if they've been reading this blog?

    Which reminds me, I must check out those London Underground boxer shorts which Ian, a visitor to the blog, (after responding to a post on London Underground clothing) says have "Shepherds Bush" on the front and "Arsenal" on the back - sounds too good to be true.

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

    Saturday, December 20, 2003

    Where's Busking Santa?

    Santa gets new career as a busker

    Forget about
    Where's Pissed Santa? (that's a lie, I won't, he's been entertaining me too much to stop spotting him), but last night, coming home from another Xmas party, at the foot of the escalators at Leicester Square was Busking Santa. He was doing very lively renditions of carols on his guitar near a poster of this year's big Christmas film Elf. He rox.

    Santa the busker

    ; Posted by annie mole Saturday, December 20, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

    Piccadilly Circus tube busking chick

    Is she more famous than we think?

    Speaking of buskers, on Friday I managed to get a picture of the excellent busker I heard
    a few days ago who made heads turn. However, a professional photographer, or at least a photographer with a professional looking camera, was also taking pictures of her too. So is she famous, or about to become famous?

    Excellent busker at Piccadilly Circus London Underground Station

    Nice to see her nod to the festive season with her Santa hat.

    ; Posted by annie mole Saturday, December 20, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

    Friday, December 19, 2003

    Tutting on the tube

    The wonderful
    Zbornak just sent me an email with the following top link which is one of a series of open letters written to people who are not going to reply. This letter is to people who tut on the tube.

    Many many parts of this letter ring true and I've blogged before or they form part of the unofficial tube rules. Frinstance:

    "We have all felt the irrational tut welling up inside, when faced with a rogue escalator user (probably one of our European cousins), riding shotgun on the right-hand side........

    "My personal favourite remains the person who relentlessly jabs his or her defective ticket into the barriers whilst a queue of dangerous tuts forms behind them.

    "But why use the "tut" when a "for fucks sake!" would probably do the same job?

    "It is an accepted notion, and I would even go so far as to say an unspoken code, that people in the underground do not talk to one another.

    Check out the rest of the letter - it's top.

    ; Posted by annie mole Friday, December 19, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

    God, Belly Dancers, Hookahs and Ooompah

    Not a typical evening on the tube, but it was our office Xmas party last night and we all trooped off to Queensway tube to have an evening of Morrocan food, belly dancers and hookahs at
    Casablanca and then the die hards (me included) went off to the Tiroler Hut for a very late night of singing and swinging large steins of beer (see my colleague's blog for a short report on the office party).

    So where's the God part? I got separated from the rest of my group and ended up walking to Oxford Circus by myself to get on the Central Line. Due to advanced "walking the streets of London and getting on at the right end of the tube" skills - I managed to arrive about ten minutes before everyone else, even though most of them left five minutes before me. ("You got a taxi you couldn't have possibly got the tube", my colleagues moaned.)

    Anyway, outside Oxford Circus tube station was the Liverpudlian guy with the loudspeaker who talks about God and Jesus. He's there every year. I spose he does it there as Oxford Circus is one of the London Underground's busiest tube stations and the tube station of the gods of consumerism. It was about 7.40pm when I arrived so shopping had died down somewhat, but there is was shouting down his megaphone into the depths of Oxford Circus. (Apparently he's either called Phil the Preacher or Terry and this guy is responsible for buying his megaphone)

    So why does Terry do this? Faith, conviction, an urge to lead us to the paths of righteousness? It is Xmas after all. But no one seemed to be listening, everyone heading home with shopping or like me off to celebrate.

    I spose it's similar in a way to blogging. Why do people blog? Why the urge to open their lives up for the public to see them? The urge to shout in cyberspace whether anyone may or may not be listening? The urge to try to make a difference? To own one tiny space on the internet and hope that you can slightly effect another person or people for just a minute?

    If my blog or any other of the blogs in the Guardian Awards or any of the blogs we link to, have made you think - "yeah I'd like to have a go at this blogging lark" - fantastic. Long may it all continue.

    ; Posted by annie mole Friday, December 19, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

    Thursday, December 18, 2003

    Guardian British Blog Awards 2003

    Well firstly, welcome if you came here from The Guardian, as many, many of you clearly have.

    Secondly, a massive, massive thanks to
    The Guardian itself for making my blog "Highly Commended" in the Specialist category for the awards.

    I'm a bit shell shocked at the moment and knowing me I'll report more later in the day and wait with interest the response from the UK blogging world.

    So, if it's your first time here, have fun. I certainly DON'T work for the London Underground, as you'll soon see and this is NOT a PR stunt from Ken Livingstone, although I did meet him earlier in the year. I'm just an ordinary commuter who spends too many hours on the tube travelling from leafy Surrey to Piccadilly Circus every day on the District and Piccadilly Lines and what you'll read below is my journey and assorted tube ramblings, hopefully, as The Guardian said written with "humour and detail".

    Finally (for now), thanks to my regular readers who have been growing over the year and have also been sending me links and in some cases providing lively comments. Also please have a browse through the links on the right. The blogs there are some of my favourite blogs and make a great daily read.

    Oh yeah - I must also thank blogger who provide the technology which powers and hosts this blog. It is so simple to use and update (anyone can build a blog in minutes) and it's also interesting that the Best Written British Blog in the Guardian Awards - the truly fantastic & fascinating Belle de Jour is also "powered by blogger" - although we must have been cursing them over the last week or so as the service has been very up and down and I hope they're sorted out their technical problems now!

    UPDATE - I am not willing to "put out"

    Funniest thing I read today was from Tim Ireland's bloggerheads entry of 18th December, re today's announcement of the Guardian British Blog Awards:

    "The 'best written' award went to an excellent blog: Belle de Jour.

    This weblog (by a London call girl) is, arguably, a specialist blog... but it's the writing that makes it remarkable. It even managed to pass through B3ta's harsh filters. For once, they didn't care if it was commercial - or even real - it was just Very. Well. Written.

    UPDATE - Hmmm. She also looks to be a perfect candidate to publicise this union drive. Oh, and the nod given to Annie was well-deserved. Perhaps if she were more willing to put out she would have pipped Pepys at the post.

    I'm also not willing to become a bloke, wear a wig and white face make up and oh yeah, be dead.

    ; Posted by annie mole Thursday, December 18, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE
    " data-count="horizontal" expr:data-url='data:blog.canonicalUrl' data-via="Anniemole">Tweet http://london-underground.blogspot.com/2003/12/guardian-british-blog-awards-2003.html

    In Ken we trust - NOT

    Speaking of Ken Livingstone as I did above, who'd agreed to write a foreword for Mecca's book -
    One Stop Short of Barking (which I ably assisted on) - he's now gone back on his word. I know he's busy but it probably would have taken his assistant longer to write the email he sent her to say "unfortunately I can't do this" than to say - "yes please use the second quote"


    ; Posted by annie mole Thursday, December 18, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

    Where's Pissed Santa - Part Six

    At last! This morning I managed to get a photo of Santa having a slash in the corner of my District Line train. Outrageous and at 9 o'clock in the morning too.

    Santa has another slash on the train itself this time

    You'll see previous spots of
    London Underground's inebriated fellow in red and white here.

    ; Posted by annie mole Thursday, December 18, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

    Wednesday, December 17, 2003

    Top busker at Piccadilly Circus

    Coming up the escalator from the bowels of Piccadilly Circus this morning I saw a busker getting themselves ready to perform. They were just twanging on the guitar (technical term for tuning) and from the back just seemed like another curly haired busker. Then a mouth organ was heard then me and a lot of people on the escalator turned round to see a really attractive curly haired busking chick playing the guitar and harmonica.

    I had never seen so many people turn their heads round on an escalator to watch a busker play. Unfortunately I was too mesmorised and too far away to take a picture, but lets just say the
    Pop Idol buskers paled into insignificance.

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

    London Underground Industrial Action planned for Xmas Eve & New Year's Eve

    All I can say is Merry Xmas

    Nice timing with the tube
    strike guys, that game of squash was f**king expensive.

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

    Mind the Grout - Tube tiles for your Kitchen or Bathroom

    Not stocked in B & Q but Patrick signed my
    guestbook yesterday to let us know that Purves and Purves in Tottenham Court Road are selling London Underground map tiles. So if you're a bit handy with grout and stuff and fancy having some tiles to match your London Underground map shower curtain, you know where to go.

    London Underground tiles - click to enlarge

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

    Where's Pissed Santa - Part Five

    Here he is
    again. This time spotted at Angel tube station. Let's just say he certainly no Angel if he's been caught short and doing what we think he's doing in the corner.

    Santa having a slash at Angel - click here to see more Santa spots

    First spotted at Earls Court, then Embankment, Waterloo and Ravenscourt Park. Look out for more.

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

    Tuesday, December 16, 2003

    Getting home by tube after midnight over Xmas festivities

    I'm going to be out every night this week and I reckon that I'll only be getting the tube home once mainly because I live in zone 4 and whatever the London Underground say about the tube running from central London till 12.30am, if you're travelling back late and have to change once in central London you're stuffed if you want to get home, as the minute you make that change, you've usually missed any
    last train heading out to places in the "back of beyond" (hardly) like Richmond, Ealing Broadway, and Wimbledon. Goodness knows how people get home to Barking and Upminster and other places in the East which are even further out than the District Line wasteland areas above.

    If I can get to Hammersmith by twenty to one in the morning I can make the very last train into Richmond. So leaving anywhere vaguely central in town at 12.30 would give me ten minutes to get to Glamoursmith, which just isn't going to happen.

    Yes I do love getting home, but can rarely do it after midnight by tube

    When I went to the UK bloggers party I left a zone one part of central London at about 12.15 or 12.20am and got to King's Cross to find all the last trains had gone and then had to get a night bus home which meant I eventually got home at 3am. This was on a Saturday night.

    So is the tube ever going to be a way of getting home for late nighters who don't live in zone one or zone two?

    ; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, December 16, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

    Monday, December 15, 2003

    Where's Pissed Santa - Part four

    It was
    Santacon 2003 on Saturday a congregation of 180 people dressed as Santa wandering the streets of London. So pissed santas were very much in evidence on the tube as the picture below from the excellent Santacon's UK site shows

    Plenty of drunk Santas on the Tube

    So it's kind of appropriate that I also had my first spot of London Underground's very own Pissed Santa having a slash in the open air, on Saturday night. We see him below relieving himself at Ravenscourt Park tube station.

    Drunk Santa going to the loo at Ravenscourt Park station

    I first spotted him at Earls Court, then Embankment and Waterloo. Where will he be next?

    Plenty of drunken Santas (from Santacon 2003) to choose from below:

    Mobs of drunken Santas

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

    On the eighth day of Xmas

    London Transport Museum ads say we should get the brilliant "moquette" tube seat upholstery dog coat I mentioned in an earlier posting.

    For the tube crazy modern dog

    Apparently the dog, Barnaby, is not included. What a shame!

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

    Saturday, December 13, 2003

    Pop Idol finalists busking at Green Park tube station

    OHMIGOD - I soooo could not have made this up, but apparently yesterday, the three finalists in
    ITV1's Pop Idol Saturday night show were busking in "disguise" at one of the official busker spots at Green Park London Underground Station. This brings me such joy and I can't wait to see it tonight (or rather, I'll have to set the video as I'm going out).

    It's similar to what Badly Drawn Boy did where he was filmed busking for his video All Possibilities and embarrassingly, even though he'd won the Mercury Music Prize in 2000, he only made a paltry �1.60 in 90 minutes he was busking his little heart out. Even Guardian employees managed to earn more money than him busking.

    So I spose tonight we'll see which of the finalists makes the most money. My money is on Sam - he looks the most like a busker and is the cutest. Whereas Mark sounds the most like a busker (how on earth he is on the top three is anyone's guess - Mr Karaoke 2003). And Michelle, well, she could be the wild card to win on the busking stakes. The novelty of her being a Scottish and a woman (not normally great busking criteria) might just tip the balance. She'll have to tone down the diva stuff though.

    Can't wait and I hope they read the Q review on which songs get the most money for buskers.

    UPDATE - Well Michelle won the busking element and made over �14, so she beat Badly Drawn Boy - Damon Gough by miles. Here she is pictured scaring commuters at Green Park.

    Michelle out of Pop Idol busking at Green Park tube

    The boys were a bit miffed as they said they were only having a laugh and Michelle was taking it too seriously and are pictured below remonstrating with a defensive Michelle.

    Pop Idol finalists busking at Green Park

    But my heart goes out to poor little Sam tonight who was voted out. It was so unfair but typical of how the public vote in these things. Everyone assumed he was going to win so voted for the underdog Mark instead. (It happened to Javine but she's laughing all the way to the bank now rather than joining the vulgar starting drunken fights with girls in loos Girls Alout) Mark simply CANNOT win, he is awful, I'm going to vote for Michelle next week.

    UPDATE - 20th December - Thank Christ - Michelle WON. I also know what it's like to be 16 years old again. I found myself compulsively drawn to Chris Carlin's blog which I referenced in the paragraph above, and I had to defend Michelle, and got a few clicks back to this blog as a result. Now, a character called JOLLY has been responding with hair tearing out statements like:

    "It annoys me, this new culture breeding in the UK. All our TV presenters and idols are becoming fat, ugly, gay or some racial minority. Let's hope the children in our schools aspire to be an overweight, buck-toothed faggot who sits waiting in the benefit office for their asylum cheque."

    If you're vaguely interested in hearing what a bunch of teenagers, Daily Mail readers and a woman old enough to know better than to enter the "debate", think about Pop Idol, click here. Jolly's and my comments are near the end.

    ; Posted by annie mole Saturday, December 13, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

    Friday, December 12, 2003

    Where's Pissed Santa - Part three

    Santa is definitely getting about a bit this Christmas and must be doing a pub crawl of London. Coming home this evening I spotted him again getting caught short at Waterloo station and having a little tinkle in the corner. Appropriate spot on this occasion and I can see a really badly pun approaching.

    Click to see the first Pissed Santa spot

    Err he's pissed, and having a slash at the most lavatorially named station on the underground. I really don't need to spell it out, do I?

    Previous Pissed Santa spots at Embankment and the very first spot at Earl's Court. Look out for more in the days to come.

    ; Posted by annie mole Friday, December 12, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

    On the tenth day of Xmas

    Another of the
    London Transport Museum's recommendations for Christmas presents and on the 10th day they reckon you should get a couple of rag dolls wearing tube T shirts:

    Personally on the T shirt stakes I'd rather have a trendier Mind the Gap one.

    All sorts of Mind the Gap T Shirts & clothing - Great Christmas pressies

    Or a Mind the Gap thong. You could always buy the thong for a bloke too as it would be very seasonal according to the truly excellent Bob Rivers song - Walking Round in Women's Underwear. It's sung to the tune of Walking in a Winter Wonderland and is being played to death (quite rightly) on Chris Tarrant's breakfast show on Capital FM. Download the full mp3 to it. (From www.90fm.co.nz) Takes a while to download so you might want to check out the lyrics in readiness to sing along with or for would be tube buskers it even has the guitar chords!

    Cheeky Mind the Gap Thong

    Perfect for "Emily "But I'm a Lady" the Rubbish Tranvestite" played by the gorgeous David Walliams - Best Newcomer from the recent 2003 Comedy Awards

    Mind the Gap Thong? How vulgar - I'm a lady

    You could also get some Mind the Gap boxers and I knew some women that used to wear boxer shorts, so don't think it's just a man's domain.

    ; Posted by annie mole Friday, December 12, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

    "Dogs must be carried" dog

    Hurrah, my Xmas is complete, yesterday I saw the top "
    dogs must be carried" dog on the tube again. He is simply the cutest thing ever and looks like a toy dog and he (it must be a bloke dog) and his master get off at Piccadilly Circus like me, when the dog is scooped up and carried up two sets of escalators.

    Here "dogs must be carried" dog is pictured looking like he's going to take a chunk out of the arse of the man in front of him, or perhaps he's thinking about doing something more unspeakable.

    Eyeing up his target

    ; Posted by annie mole Friday, December 12, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

    Thursday, December 11, 2003

    Welcome again to WebUser readers

    my second outing in WebUser magazine so a big welcome if you came here from the 12 Blogs of Christmas feature (pgs 28-29).

    I'm honoured to be amongst many of my own favourite UK bloggers (including Green Fairy, Scary Duck, Diamond Geezer and Fun Junkie) as we all give our own take on the Twelve Days of Xmas. Big thanks to Toby Earle from WebUser magazine for putting this all together. It's only 99p if you want to go out and buy a print copy and available from all good newsagents and some supermarkets. Bargain!

    UPDATE - I've just seen the print issue and it's top, well worth 99p. Particularly interested in a web trend they found for 2003 - Websites-turned-books (pg 19) - notably Baghdad Blogger, Dave Gorman's Googlewhack, Crap Towns, The Onion. Also one of my favourite bloggers, Dave from acerbia.com may be publishing in print format next year.

    And of course, regular readers will know that pictures from this very blog and some stuff based on www.goingunderground.net will be published by New Holland next autumn as a full colour hardback book, just in time for Xmas 2004 - One Stop Short of Barking - Uncovering London's Underground.

    ; Posted by annie mole Thursday, December 11, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE
    readers" data-count="horizontal" expr:data-url='data:blog.canonicalUrl' data-via="Anniemole">Tweet http://london-underground.blogspot.com/2003/12/welcome-again-to-webuser-readers.html

    Where's Pissed Santa? - Part Two

    As promised here's the continuation of the "Where's Pissed Santa?" game. It's very much like the
    "Where's Wally?" books, where you have to spot a stupid looking character dressed in red and white in a crowd.

    Keep your kids quiet for hours as they try to find Wally in a crowd

    I first saw Pissed Santa at Earl's Court station and now oh, look, there he is, yes him in the red and white hat. Here he is again having a slash on the platform at Embankment.

    Pissed Santa at Embankment - he's easier to spot than Wally - click here to view previous Santa Spots

    Watch out for more Father Christmas Spots as and when I spot him on the tube.

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

    Wednesday, December 10, 2003

    Bush bashing

    I made a post on the 18th November about
    George Bush's recent visit to the UK and the fact that he wanted to close down the London Underground as part of the �6 million security plans for his arrival. Quite rightly the London Underground told him to piss off. There now seems to be a bit of a debate going on in the comments area for that post about whether Londoners are responsible for generalised Bush Bashing - we're not. It's not just London, it's the vast majority of the UK from what I can see.

    Anyway if anyone wants to contribute please feel free.

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

    London Underground Driver Announcement

    Not one of the funnier ones that have been reported to my
    main site, but a goody nonetheless that I heard this morning on the District Line. The driver was being very helpful telling us we were on a train heading to Upminster and where to change for various lines. Then he said: "I'm pleased to announce that the London Underground's Xmas and New Year timetable will be live today. Another important event (said with huge sarcasm) is for those of you lucky enough to have prepaid Oystercards you will be able to travel in 2004 at 2003 prices"

    Well said that man, now I understand. I was handed a leaflet about this the other day and I had to read the thing about three times before I could understand WTF they were talking about.

    Is it just me or does this make any sense:

    "Oyster Pre Pay is the smart option if you regularly pay adult cash fares, because with Pre Pay you will continue paying 2003 adult single fares in 2004 on the Tube and DLR"?

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

    On the second day of Xmas

    Another of the
    London Transport Museum's ads for Christmas Presents. This time it's a book about Metro Maps of the World. "The first collection of official, current maps and diagrams from 150 Underground, Subway, U-Bahn and Metro systems worldwide."

    Metro Maps of The World

    Actually Pan from London Lifer first bought this book to my attention with a good review of it from The Guardian.

    Most other subway maps in the world were actually based on Harry Beck's design classic of the London Underground map in the 1930's:

    "Brilliantly, Beck compacted the sinuous curves, writhes and wriggles of a sprawling metro system that once snaked out, on single tracks, as far as Brill and its windmill in Buckinghamshire, and Ongar and its wooden Saxon church in Essex."

    The reviewer, Jonathan Glancey, closes on a pensive note:

    "Perhaps, though, London's map is ultimately a little sad. Its clear, logical, evergreen (and orange and yellow and silver and blue) design hides the fact that what appears to be a unified public service is being split apart to comply with barking (a stop on the District and Metropolitan lines) contemporary political dogma. But, then the map has always been a fiction of sorts. It remains, though, for all the faults it so brilliantly hides, and with all its global scions, an artwork for all to share, our mental map of London."

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

    Tuesday, December 09, 2003

    Pointless yet awesome

    "I have nothing of importance or interest to say. I only want to share a pointless but awesome link" - well that's apparently what my blog is according to
    Melody of Certain Three's post from the 9th December.

    Glad to be of service. What more can I say?

    ; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, December 09, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

    Another of my favourite tube ads

    Yep, more proof that London Underground's advertising agency are having a laugh. They've already brought us
    Pissed Santa Having a Slash and now they bring us Happy Chinese Family with a Ticket Seller at the Breakfast Table.

    Proof that buying your London Underground ticket is as easy as eating cornflakes

    I would so loved to have been in the brainstorm for this:

    "Right guys, we've got to show how easy it is to buy your tube tickets"

    "OK, you can do it online, or on the phone"

    "Didn't First Direct do something about banking at the breakfast table about ten years ago"

    "Oh yeah, I think that won an award"

    "Kewell, let's copy it"

    "Where's the creativity in that?"

    "You're right, let's use the basic premise and then bring it into the 21st century"

    "Good idea, now we need a breakfast table, we need a family. Mum, Dad, two kids"

    "Too nuclear, people getting married later now, becoming more infertile and having fewer kids."

    "OK one kid then."

    "Great, now shall we make them black or mixed race?"

    "No that's been done before, how about Chinese? You don't see many Chinese people in ads. We can always put a black guy in the background."

    "Brilliant, I can see another award coming on. Pass me some more Red Bull & vodka, we've got to get this to the client first thing tomorrow morning and it's already 3am".

    "By the way, what was that idea you had about Santa having a slash?"

    "Too wacky, they'd never buy into it."

    ; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, December 09, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

    Tube Strike definitely been suspended

    After my uncertainty yesterday, the London Underground Industrial action originally planned for yesterday and today has been called off. Hoorah.

    Basically London Underground bosses have talked with the RMT and agreed that immediate action was required to improve track safety standards. According to
    This is Local London:

    "RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said LU and the infrastructure companies had agreed immediate action was required to improve track safety standards.

    "The employers have agreed that night-time track inspections on open sections of track are to be double-manned immediately and that an emergency review of track patrolling, fault reporting and fixing will also start as a matter of urgency."

    However, Mr Crow emphasised that the RMT was still in dispute with Tube employers over safety, and that industrial action could still be taken."

    ; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, December 09, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

    Monday, December 08, 2003

    I've just seen Jonny

    was the scream of an overexcited middle aged woman standing next to me at Piccadilly Circus, down into her mobile. Well, so had I and thousands of other people at Piccadilly Circus at the Sweet Chariot Victory parade. I took some pictures when I left the tube station this morning and there were about twenty people.

    9.30am and only a few people around Eros at Piccadilly Circus

    When I strolled down at lunchtime there were thousands, including people hanging out of office windows and on the roofs of buildings.

    By lunchtime it's packed and people are on the roofs of buildings

    Well done lads - last time England won the world cup in anything I was way too young to have appreciated it.

    Sweet Chariot Rugby World Cup celebration parade passing Eros in Piccadilly Circus

    If anyone really wants to see a few more pictures and the above in a larger format so you can see the size of the crowd
    click here.

    Plus some other pictures of reasons to enjoy rugby - not safe for the office!

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

    Today's Metro Moment

    Oooer - I'll have to be careful here about using Metro Moment together like this, as apparently MetroMoment is now a trade mark. (damn - don't sue me) So if the fact that I've been saying "Metro Moment" about every week since
    January 2003 has prompted the powers that be at Metro to trade mark it, good luck to you.

    Anyway, back to today's Metro Momento. It's a brill photo story about a drunken woman from an office party, meeting a guy dressed up as Santa on the tube. They've both fancied each other for ages, and neither have done anything about it till today. Apparently the story will continue in the New Year.

    There's a competition at the end of the story where if you email Metro letting them know if there's anyone you see every day who you'd like to contact via Metro, or if you found romance on public transport (of the type of story they can publish), you'll win a romantic date. So get those fingers tapping as the romantic date is at the London Transport Museum, possibly the most romantic place in London to have a date. I can hear wedding bells. I can picture Cilla Black getting her hat out. I can hear the patter of tiny feet in nine months time.

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

    Today's tube industrial action called off - I think

    Don't completely take my word for this, but I'm pretty sure the planned go slow for today on the London Underground isn't going to happen.

    Evening Standard reported on Friday that this might happen as LU and the unions were having further discussions over safety.

    "Tube union leaders are today expected to call off their 48-hour go-slow which threatened to bring travel chaos across the capital.

    "Senior officers of the RMT, which ordered the industrial action with more to follow, are meeting in emergency session awaiting a letter from Tim O'Toole, London Underground managing director, confirming details of proposed improvements in safety standards.......

    "RMT leader Bob Crow warned: "Until we see the proposals in writing, next week's safety go-slow remains on."

    Now I am sure this is nothing, I repeat nothing, to do with today's World Cup Rugby "Sweet Chariot" celebration parade running through central London this lunchtime which a million people are predicted to attend.

    By the way if you are planning on watching the parade the tube's website have a helpful (for once) press release as to which stations might be better to use and which ones to avoid.

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

    On the third day of Christmas

    More from the
    London Underground's Twelve Days of Christmas series of ads about what to buy your true love from their museum shop. Here is something for tube geeks everywhere, a little model of a tube train.

    Tube stock from 1959

    Fantastic, you can do all sorts of things with this model. You can put in on a shelf. You can put it in a cabinet. You can play "go slows" with it. The list is endless. I so wish someone would give this to me for Xmas and it would have such meaning coming from "my true love".

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

    Friday, December 05, 2003

    Blog Power.... Need to Know and South West Trains

    Wow, I've made it into top e-newsletter
    NTK - Need To Know's "And Finally" section, albeit with a rather strange description of what this blog is (I certainly DON'T work for the London Underground) and a rather strangely named short URL - but WTF, thanks muchly guys:

    "And finally, in accordance with previous NTK scepticism, it turns
    out there hasn't been a proper first issue (or a launch party)
    of The Friday Thing's "40,000 circulation weekly, launches Aug
    '03" THE LONDON NEWS REVIEW yet, just in case you missed their
    big announcement about this in the comments section of a post
    on somebody's blog all about working for London Underground:
    http://qwer.org/apparentlyreadslikeastudentmagazine.html ...

    (see 30th November post to find out what they're referring to)

    Also, I got South West Trains this morning which was typically late again (yawn), but there were a lot of announcements this time with blow by blow accounts of how nearer the late train was getting to Richmond station. Is Tim Ireland's South West Trains campaign, which mentions my blog, working? Has the head of SWT now read my blog entry complaining about the lack of reliable South West Trains announcements at Richmond?

    Adopts voice of Matt Lucas out of Rock Profiles doing Geri Halliwell, "It's Blog Power, everyfing is Blog Power".

    Here comes the science bit, at work I've been spouting off about blogs for a while now and when I was at the exhibition at Olympia I went to a seminar on the impact of webogs and reported back to quite a bit of enthusiasm at work. This week Ross Sleight a columnist for the UK new media's weekly rag "New Media Age" wrote a piece on the Power of Blogs, where his friend is using a blog to publicise his new book. Interestingly my friend Mecca has a blog for her book about the London Underground which she tells me doesn't yet, get as much traffic as her main site for One Stop Short of Barking, but she thinks it will pick up when it's published next year.

    ; Posted by annie mole Friday, December 05, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

    Jumpers or Tube Suicides

    Someone's just signed the
    guestbook of my main site with the following grisly story:

    "Used to go out with someone who worked for a high-up at London Underground, who told me about the jumper sweepstake.

    It's since been banned on grounds of bad taste, but it used to be the case that central LU staff ran a sweepstake on which station would next see a suicide attempt.

    Particularly desirable were stations like Mile End, near psychiatric hospitals.

    "Jumper" is still used for suicide attempts. Also, the majority of people apparently tend to throw themselves under tube trains at the slow end of the platform - resulting in awful maiming instead of suicide.

    I think that's quite enough bloodthirstiness from me.

    Ewww. I always think tube suicides are a particularly selfish form of suicide (although all suicides are pretty selfish really). It's delays for hundreds of people on the line. It's shit for any passenger that happens to be nearby and it's unbelievably distressing for the tube driver (apparently they have to have counselling for weeks afterwards).

    However for those who like to know such things, the peak hour for tube suicides is 11am. Fact 24 from my 50 fascinating facts about the London Underground page.

    UPDATE - click picture below to see the full animation

    Click to see the animation - From themanwhofellasleep via b3ta

    From themanwhofellasleep via b3ta's suicide challenge.

    ; Posted by annie mole Friday, December 05, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

    Hector causes some confusion on the tube

    I received the funniest email from an Australian guy asking for help.

    "My wife and I were in London earlier this year (Sept. - Oct.) and there was an ad. in the carriages of the underground that read ( I think):-

    "I'm an old skint, I'll hector not to save thousands on my mortgage."

    I've spoken in English all my life - I teach English - I couldn't make sense of this ad. What on Earth does it mean? Please try to find out and let me know please!!!!!

    PS: There was a cartoon drawing of some odd looking half man - half dog or mooselike creature on the same poster. Here on the other side of the world, we're not likely to hear much about this ad. But I'm a sticky beak who can't relax until I know what it means. Wife says that I'm crazy. She's probably right.

    PPs: Your website is 'brilliant.' Love it.

    Desperate for an answer

    After I had stopped laughing (the Australians have had enough of a hard time in the UK recently), I actually gave the guy what I thought was a very helpful and informative reply, saying that Hector was in fact a dog, and an animated character from Hector's House children's TV show in the seventies. He used to say things like "I'm a funny old Hector" and "I'm a silly old Hector". In fact I used to have Hector's House wallpaper in my bedroom when I was about five.

    Hector's House Virgin London Underground advertising - I'm a silly old Hector for confusing tourists

    I thought that Virgin had decided to use Hector for the tube ads and the TV ads as it would appeal to viewers of the same age as me, mid to late thirties, who would be old enough to be onto their second mortgage or would be thinking about re-mortgaging. (Personally I don't think they work, but that's by the by). As it turns out that's exactly what
    Virgin's agency - Tequila were thinking and Virgin actually spent �15 million on the total campaign.

    ; Posted by annie mole Friday, December 05, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE

    Thursday, December 04, 2003

    Inspector Sands makes a visit to Covent Garden

    Coming back from Olympia I decided to get off at Covent Garden to look at the market and just as I was about to get on the lift to ground level I heard the famous Inspector Sands annoucement - "Will Inspector Sands please make his way to the control room".

    No one in the lift took a blind bit of notice. I however really wanted the lift to hurry up and get to ground level, as "Inspector Sands" is a coded term for a possible fire. If the London Underground shouted out "Fire, Fire, Fire", there'd be mass panic, so they use Inspector Sands instead. Now that I've had a chance to search the net, I've remembered that it doesn't actually mean fire, but that there's a problem with one of the fire points, but the principle is the same.

    Just found the recording of
    Inspector Sands that Nik Fox made.

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

    Jesus look-a-like on the tube

    Left home later today as I was going to an exhibition and conference in Olympia. Just made it onto the District Line at Richmond thanks to flinging my bag and arm in the door and fortunately some bloke decided to help me heave the thing open so I wasn't like the cartoon character

    An Asian woman in a peach sari then started "busking" at the top of her voice. Well, by busking this meant singing a loud chanting style song. One of the guys near me, gave that startled Tim out of The Office face, when something unbelievable is happening. Unfortunately I was too close to her and also standing so I couldn't take a picture without her demanding money off me.

    When she finished and made her way slowly through the carriage, the only person who gave her money was a bearded guy with long hair and a flowing oatmeal coloured floorlength robe sitting in the corner. After he gave her some money he gave her a beautiful smile and said thank you. It slightly shamed me into thinking maybe I should have given her some cash as it's nearly Xmas.

    Altrustic Jesus lookalike on the tube

    Although if this guy was as Jesus-like as I thought he was, wouldn't he have stood up to give me a seat?

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

    Geoffrey the Tube Train and the Fat Comedian

    Pan from London Lifer got in touch with me yesterday to say that the Santa slashing images and Santa letters from Monday reminded him of the above book.

    I sort of know what he means. In the summer my friend Anton told me about this book for the first time and I thought he was on drugs. A graphic novel, about a talking tube train, with a subplot about a fat comedian, and series of grisly murders, by fat comedian Alexei Sayle!!!???.

    It sounded too good (or too mad) to be true. A quick search on net and I found that the book really existed but was out of print - D'OH. However, I got a couple of second hand copies through abebooks.co.uk or abebooks.com, or Amazon.

    From Geoffrey the Tube Train and the Fat Comedian

    It's a fantastic book for people who like reading about London, tube humour, commuter humour, Alexi Sayle, graphic novels, cartoons, serial killers, Thomas the Tank Engine or the idea of talking tube trains.

    ; Posted by annie mole Thursday, December 04, 2003 Permalink COMMENT HERE
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    Wednesday, December 03, 2003

    Underground Industrial Action - check out the Evening Standard's message board

    As we're getting nearer and nearer to the go slows on the tube (
    8th and 9th December to anyone who came here from Google looking for the dates), you might want to have a look at the very long and let's just say "heated" discussion on the message board for This Is London - the Evening Standard's website. There's comments from commuters and drivers and it get very lively. I haven't read all of it yet as I'll need a bigger cup of coffee, but it contains a few gems such as:

    "So how do you justify any strikes then??

    THe fact that your pay is now the equivalent to management positions in most industries where you work till the job is finished not down tools the moment you finish your hours.

    Customer service.......ever heard of it??

    The fact that you let your union be hijacked by a left wing minority and that in strike votes there is a huge silent majority who don't vote but are happy to hide behind the result."

    "Safety strikes are always justifiable.

    It is worth noticing the high calibre of London Underground Train Operators. There has not been a single serious safety breach in the Train Operators grade for 2 decades (witch co-insides with the increases in living and working conditions within the Train Ops position). The conditions attached to the train operator�s position attract a higher Calibre of employee."

    "Safety. THankyou very much for striking on my behalf for safety. However I'm more than happy to take the risk and by your actions you will cause loss of life on the roads due to overcrowding. How kind of you."

    "Tell me: Have you ever visited planet Earth? Of course the strikes are about safety! Why the hell would we want to strike about anything other than safety? We have our pay agreement settled for this year. We do not take the decision to strike lightly, because it means we lose a day's salary. The strikes are to wake up London Underground management to the fact that we need 24 hour checks on the system again. Two derailments within days of each other, with many more which the public don't get to hear about and are kept very quiet by LU."

    I could go on but as I said earlier read it for yourself and if you feel brave enough to contribute (I'm not) feel free.

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

    Love on the tube

    My friend just sent me a nice poem by Theresa Turk about lovers on the Piccadilly line which I think applies to the couple I spotted
    last week.

    The lovers on the Underground,
    locked eye to eye
    and knee to knee,
    fly Chagall-like above our heads,
    are not aware of you and me.

    Unheeded run the station names,
    the sweating, red
    raw football fans,
    the graffiti, the orange peel,
    the rolling Coca Cola cans.

    Click here to see the final verse.

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

    Monday, December 01, 2003

    More signs of Christmas on the tube

    In transport geek mode and also connected with work, I went to the
    Concorde Charity Auction today at Olympia. Was amazed at how much some of the pieces went for, particularly a guy in front of me who was wearing a Mickey Mouse padded jacket and bought a case of wine for �1,600 and was bidding quite enthusiastically into the thousands for lots of other items too. So never judge someone in their thirties wearing stuff with Mickey Mouse on it - they're probably loaded in that Bill Gates - no taste but lots of dosh style way.

    While I was changing at Earls Court I saw the following poster on the platform.

    Father Christmas leaves his shopping unattended on the tube

    Is it just me or does Santa look like he's having a slash in the corner of the station and not looking at the map? Or maybe he's doing both, he is Santa after all, and probably quite used to multi tasking.

    Update - thanks for your comments, it's clear that people so far seem to think Santa is having a slash and therefore may well be drunk. I think it's probably the same Father Christmas that wrote the first two replies to "Dear Santa" letters from these children.

    More alternative & funny Father Christmas replies here

    Let's hope that in the words of the great Noddy Holder with the festive carol "Merry Christmas Everybody" - that the "fairies keep him sober for the day".

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

    21st Century Naming and Shaming - with bells on

    After being accused earlier on today of naming and shaming by London News Review (totally off topic from a London Underground point of view, but it felt bloody good, and at least I got a response from them - see Sunday's entry after the party). However, in naming and shaming I'm a complete amateur when compared to Tim Ireland's excellent posting about an altracation he had with
    South West Trains who decided to get the police involved.

    Please read in full, it so, so, so deserves to be read.

    I actually moved house recently and now have the dilemma of being able to get Network South West Trains from Richmond as well as the Underground. SWT should be faster, but it isn't. It's been a bloody nightmare since I moved house as the morning rush hour services have been cancelled or delayed every single day for a fortnight, and I've also had my fair share of conversations with SWT staff about their indicator boards being completely inaccurate giving people the misguided impression that the train they were hoping to get is just late as usual - when in fact it's actually gone.

    Indicator boards at Richmond showing the usual delays on South West Trains

    So I'll still, much more often than not, be getting the District Line into town and even if I do get British Snail, I still have to pick up the tube at Waterloo to get into Piccadilly Circus so no signs of retirement from this tube blog yet.

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