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Annie Mole's, daily web log (blog) & “guide” to the London Underground
If you like this you'll LURVE One Stop Short of Barking, the fun and informative book about travelling
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Sunday, February 29, 2004

Large luggage

Burberry, bags and boogaloo

Went out to Piccadilly Circus yesterday evening to visit some out of towner friends - I always really hate going to town at weekends. The minute I step out of Piccadilly Circus I can't help feeling like
Worzel Gummidge and having "me work ed on". So all of the drummers around the station exit and loads of people taking pictures, and standing in the way and walking around with their heads in the air staring at the massive ads, is just a pain in the arse, particularly when you're running late.

On the way into Piccadilly Circus came across a ginormous mock Burberry suitcase with two other pieces of luggage. I never saw its owner, so can just assume it wheeled itself up the stairs, trundled through the barrier section for large luggage and boarded the tube by itself

Coming home, leaving enough time to not get the very last tube (when is the tube going to open all night at weekends?), and there was that massive Saturday night paaaaartey, atmosphere at Piccadilly Circus. Couples snogging on escalators, a busker blowing away at his saxaphone with pound signs in his eyes, people doing my daily stock in trade and taking snaps of each other on the tube - you know the score.

And me, still with "me work ed on" dying to get to the relative peace and quiet on the District Line. I still found enough peace and quiet with the help of my MP3 player to have a snooze and wake up at Baron's Court with a guy sitting opposite me, laughing with the woman sitting next to me.

I can only imagine I was snoring or drooling or both, as he joyfully said to me "Missed your stop?". "No", I replied haughtily, as though I never missed my stop, "Don't need to get off till Turnham Green". Back of my mind, I was thinking "Mind your own business, you nosy git", then thought in light of what I do most days, that was a clear case of the pot calling the kettle black.

; Posted by annie mole Sunday, February 29, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, February 27, 2004

This is the News

Horses infesting the London Underground

News! London Underground say they may have to close the underground system due to an infestation of horses. A report described the conditions in the equine plague as "like an abattoir in a power cut". Ted Maul reports.

Horses infest London Underground

Cut to reporter Ted Maul - "For years, the system of tunnels and shafts has supported a small population of wild horses without bothering the commuters. The only pest control necessary was performed by the teams of 'fluffers', who to this day still remove clots of hair from the tracks. Then in 1970 came the 'crackers', special staff who had to patrol the darkened tunnels every day and kill the horses with hammers. Now, say officials, the horses have become a menace."

"STATION ANNOUNCER: Due to a large pile of horses blocking the track at Marble Arch, all services have been cancelled."

For more read on - I love UK Gold and its repeats of old news.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, February 27, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thank God it's Friday

Friday foto fest

Not too much in the way of commentary on these pix as I'm a little bit wassed, after having a few bevvies or four after work. One of my colleagues realised that last night when he got the tube home he was standing side on while waiting for the train and realised that my blog was getting to him. Hoorah!!!

On the way home, I managed to bump into some man eating barriers, a la Doctor Who style daleks

Caution man eating barriers ahead

Saw a pretty lame "Mind the Gap" advert for insurance, should have been more interested in the cherubic mural at Charing Cross beneath:

Mind the Gap ad, too dull for words

Then a strange camcorder style movie ad at Waterloo for Carling, reminded me that I was indeed bursting for the loo. Thank God the better South West British Snail trains have loos, they rocked.

Ad for Carling at Water-loo

; Posted by annie mole Friday, February 27, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Busking all over the World

Can you really live by

Just heard about full time buskers Welshman, Nigel Ashcroft and American, Ashley Abbott who are going to start a challenge today to see how far they can travel round the world on busking alone. Their first hurdle is going to be to get on the tube without a ticket. Good luck, as that part alone sounds like a Hurculean challenge.

The BBC said "They will turn up at Leicester Square station on Friday, without a penny, to raise enough to get them started on the first leg of their trip.

"The first test is getting into London Underground without paying for a ticket, but I'm sure that will be fine," Mr Ashcroft told BBC News Online.

They will first go to Paris, then travel through France and Spain to Morocco and hope to have raised enough for an air fare by the time they reach Casablanca."

Overall they need about two and half grand for their trip as they are hoping to get as far as the Far East.

Nigel Ashcroft on his busking challenge

So if you see them at Leceister Square both today and tomorrow you might want to give them a bit to get them going. They're filming their progress for a documentary and will try to raise money for a homeless charidee.

I just hope they've looked at the Eurobuskers website as there was a little survey there which showed which country in Europe is the most generous to buskers. The Swiss won, followed by Ireland and amazingly the UK was third.

Just hope they're better than the hideous REM Losing My Religion busker as he sucks.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, February 27, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Chocolate Salty Balls

Or Small Fish Balls?

Coming through Baron's Court on the way home last night and I saw an empty packet of Small Fish Balls on the floor near the Mind The Gap sign. Do fish have balls? If so they would be absolutely tiny. Well depending on the size of the fish - whale balls would be large, but then whales are mammals, not fish.

How big are fish balls

; Posted by annie mole Friday, February 27, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Interviews and speeches

Price of fame?

Very weird thing happened yesterday, I got invited to speak at the
Ealing Branch of the Rotary Club. It made me feel a bit like Barbarba Good, out of the seventies TV series The Good Life or someone from The Women's Institute. I'm still not sure if it's a wind up or not, or even if it isn't whether I will do it or not. But the email said:

"I saw your site and found it very amusing and
informative. Well done.

"I am a member of Ealing Rotary and we are always
looking for potential speakers at our meetings.
I was wondering whether you would be interested
in visiting us and giving a 20-30 minute
talk on an alternative view of the Underground.

Then there was some information about how often they meet and stuff. Well Ealing's not that far from me on the other branch of the District Line so I may well do it.

Also yesterday Joe Newman from the blog First-n-Main, published 5 Minutes with Annie Mole. My own Metro style 60 second interview. Thanks for that Joe.

Expect to see me on Parky or David Letterman next year.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, February 26, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Today's Metro Momento

Miss Alicia Match Silverstone - my next celeb tube spot?

She's right - you know I probably wouldn't recognise her on the tube, as I wouldn't believe she'd use it. But in Metro's 60 Second Interview Alicia Silverstone says "I've been taking the Underground everywhere and it brings back fond memories"

"Do people not recognise you?" Asks Metro

"I think people are so shocked that an actor would take the Tube that they just think you're a lookalike"

BTW Miss Match (TV drama that she's in) is actually pretty good and I've watched a couple of episodes on Living TV, so I do know what she looks like.

I'll keep my eyes peeled and maybe she'll get added to my "vast" array of tube celeb spots - Rob Brydon, Gita out of EastEnders, Matthew Kelly, Rageh Omaar, Dr Who (Peter Davison), John Hannah.......the list is endless.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, February 25, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Signs of a Londoner

You know you've been in London too long when....

I can't remember when I originally saw
this list, but thanks to German blog London Leben for reminding me about it and it's amazing how a lot of the points include Tube ones or at least thoughts you have when travelling on the London Underground.

You step over people who collapse on the Tube.
(a similar story was reported by ex station assistant cum philosopher Christopher Ross in his book Tunnel Visions)

You consider eye contact an act of overt aggression.

The UK west of Heathrow is still theoretical to you.

You're suspicious of strangers who are actually nice to you.

Your day is ruined if you don't get a copy of Metro on the way to work.

Your idea of personal space is no one actually physically standing on you.

Cartoon by Andy Vine

All sadly so true - check out the rest plus some thoughts in German here.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, February 25, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Murder on the tube

Thank God for CCTV

The Evening Standard's headlines were rightly screaming about the guy who pushed another person under the tube and pictures were captured on CCTV. I was in two minds about reporting this, but it ought to be reported, just in case people are thinking the Tube is a quaint and funny place in London. It ain't. There are psychos around, like there are anywhere and this poor person was unfortunate enough to be standing in front of a psycho who pushed him under a tube

My ex husband knows someone who was pushed into a moving train. He wasn't killed, but incredibly shocked and bady bruised, but these things happen and whereever there are lots of people there are bound to be disturbed people. Ex also grabbed a person who decided to walk onto the tracks. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have never, ever witnessed anything as horrible as someone leaping or being pushed under a tube, although I have seen some really stupid people running on the tracks.

Words fail me. They really do. Just be careful, try to stand side on. Be aware of people who look a bit disturbed. London is a big , big, city and unfortunately, like it or not there are very, very disturbed people around. Everyone buying The Evening Standard saw the picture and the headline, and yet we still travel on the tube. There are bomb threats, security alerts, and yet life still goes on - it's got to. Just try to be aware of the people around you. My sincere condolences go out to the faimly of the man that was killed at Mile End.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, February 25, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Get London Laughing, Travel by Tube

London Underground Cartoon Competition

In a fit of mutual cross referencing
The Big Smoker brought to my attention, after referring to my post below, the following

"London Underground has launched its London 'Toon competition, a cartoon competition designed to "get London laughing.

"Draw a cartoon that illustrates a humorous view of life in London," urges the LU website (which needs a good proofread), "the winners will then have the privilege of seeing their cartoons turned into posters and displayed across the whole of the capital as part of the London Comedy Festival and will also be invited to a fabulous awards ceremony in central London where they will be presented with a framed poster of their winning cartoon."


Can we suggest that Smoker readers combine to the news stories of the day and draw a 'hilarious' depiction of someone slowly suffocating in a tube carriage?"

Nice one guys, I will contact my friend Ralf, The Cartoonist and see if he's up for some of these. Deadline is 23rd March, so all you budding cartoonists get scribbling.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, February 24, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tube Rage caused by lack of oxygen

or A Breath of Fresh Air Underground

Many thanks to
Simon for sending me information about a new report which suggests that the poor ventilation and lack of oxygen on crowded (I'm being politically correct, by saying crowded, not overcrowded) Tubes leads to Tube Rage and they call for immediate improvements in ventilation.

When talking about the report (A Breath of Fresh Air Underground), Mike Fisher, director of the British Association of Anger Management, says lack of oxygen leads to "increasing feelings of panic.

"If, on top of this, you have the physical distress and discomfort of overcrowding, an individual can experience reactions such as anxiety, aggression, impatience and feelings of sickness."

Well, putting aside the fact that overcrowding does not exist, that's sort of stating the obvious, in that I think it's more the feelings of being packed in an enclosed space with hundreds of people that leads to "anxiety, aggression, impatience and feelings of sickness".

I've also just literally heard on Capital Radio that this bad air quality on the tube could also cost us the Olympics apparently (as if we give two flying fooks - Mystic Meg cross eyes on - It will go to Paris, It will go to Paris).

Course, in an act of spinning that Alastair Campbell would be proud of, the London Underground refute this all as bollox, and by sexing down the report say it "was based on old research and what appears to be supposition", but even they had to acknowledge that they : "...are continuing work to look at viable solutions to improve tunnel ventilation."

Expect more reports like this from the BBC and Capital Radio's and Virgin Radio (sorry for forgetting you guys) throughout the day.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, February 24, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, February 23, 2004

Today's Metro Momento

Another top Metro prize

I wish someone would up the budgets for the prizes on offer in Metro's Tube competitions. First, we had a
hot date at the London Transport Museum, then they got better with a bunch of flowers, now you can win a Penguin Classic paperback. I can't wait, so I need help in trying to guess where part of this "epic extract" written in the style of a commuter comes from (I'm guessing Homer's Odyssey, but it seems a bit too easy - however we are talking Monday morning Metro here).

"I had been told that the truest way to reach my destination would be to enter that place where the sun reaches not, and so I prepared to descend to the bowels of the Earth........

"I entered the land of the shadows

"But alas I had forgotten to touch in with the card of the oyster, and I would yet be facing a grievous curse.

"Unaware of this, my fate, I continued down, descending without moving; my legs on the entranced steps, past the multitude of souls, until I could go no further........

"After journeying through black tunnels that no mortal should see, I quickly made for the light, and once again reached the dank Halls from which I might depart the place of darkness.

"But as I tried to leave, my card of the oyster would not let me through, until I had paid in kind a guardian of the gates. As I made my way from that joyless place far form the sun, I passed a Siren singing her bewitching voice the high clear song of Shania Twain, but I blocked my ears and passed by unharmed."

If they'd thrown in a few harpies as opposed to guardians of the gates. Hecate, goddess of the Underworld should have also made an appearance.

Anyone who wants to enter, email commuter@ukmetro.co.uk and you'll be in with a chance of winning that paperback that's worth about ten quid.

; Posted by annie mole Monday, February 23, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Mad people around

Dogville & Disturbing sights on the Tube

Just got back from seeing the three hour film fest of
Dogville, (can't remember when I last left a cinema where so many people left in stunned exhausted silence - also it was so involving it didn't at all feel like three hours). The film ended with David Bowie blasting out the joyously ironic anthem Young Americans to disturbing stills of poverty and violence in the States from the Depression to the present day. On the way to see the film I saw a pretty disturbing drunk who was drinking his daily poison with a straw, then offering people around him on the carriage, a read of any paper he managed to lay his red hands on.

Tennants through a straw anyone?

Then coming home I saw a sticker put up by another person with a disturbed mind

How sad is that?

You might not be able to read it, but from memory I think it said:

"Hi any A/B's out here. I am wearing a nappy, pink frilly plastic pants. Yes I do wet them. I also love wearing school knickers"

and I'm not going into the rest as I don't fancy any saddos from people who're into that, coming here from Google searches. Christ only knows what A/B's are - I don't think they were referring to socio demographics used by advertising agencies. Mad thing was, there was no phone number on it either. So the point was......????? Shock value? Someone having a drunken laugh? Nowt as queer as folk, but at least it momentarily took my mind off Dogville.

But it certainly made me want to answer no to the Casino 88 ad taken through the window in Glamoursmith/Hammersmith's waiting room

click for some more ads from this campaign

; Posted by annie mole Sunday, February 22, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Could this sell on the Tube?

It's Jack's Subway Tush

It's Will and Grace weekend on Living TV, so I'm having a festival of New Yoick madness. I've just seen the re-run of
My Best Friend's Tush, where Will's camp friend Jack McFarland invents a cushion to be used when you're riding the New York subway.

He has a cute little song that goes with it:

Hey, mon fr�re,
if your derriere
could use a little cush,
no need to pout,
the word is out.
It's Jack's Subway Tush!

Jack's Subway Tush

It rox (see the clip with Jack singing) and considering the sort of shite you may be sitting on on the Tube, it may well be worth the ride. Don't you think so? (Oops coming on a bit Joan Collins there, who's also in this episode as a Brit who always ends sentences by asking a question)

; Posted by annie mole Sunday, February 22, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, February 20, 2004

Just another Freaky Friday

Save the Gorillas

So sang Adam Ant when he raised money in the
Dian Fossey Gorilla Run and remixed his classic hit Stand and Deliver. Well, he could have been in the gorilla suit busking this evening at Piccadilly Circus. A woman was standing quietly behind our simian friend with a placard saying "Help Save the Gorillas", whereas the performing gorilla was prancing around with his guitar and a variety of messages on giant yellow Post-It notes in his guitar case.

"Smile it's Friday" was on display as I walked by.

Gorilla busking at Piccadilly Circus

Then onto the tube and sat opposite a person who was obviously travelling back to Heathrow Airport to his job as an air traffic controller.

Are your headphones large enough?

Must have been the largest set of headphones I have ever seen on the tube, and that, to quote Bananarama, (keeping with the monkey theme), was "Really Saying Something".

; Posted by annie mole Friday, February 20, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Funniest thing

Close encounters of the absurd kind

Yesterday morning I had to get into town much earlier than normal, so I got the British Snail to Waterloo. I stood on a completely packed train all the way to Waterloo from Richmond and was so close to the guy standing in front of me that in about nine months time I think I'll be writing to him for maintenance.

However, through
this blog I came across this blog and the following brilliant entry which (short of most of the stuff I read on green fairy) made me laugh out loud.

Please read this story of a midget on the train, I know you're going to think me politically incorrect to use the words "midget" and "laugh out loud" in two consecutive sentences, but it is very, very funny and I'm just loving the way Angel never said anything about the occurance - although thinking about it, what on earth could you say?

; Posted by annie mole Friday, February 20, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, February 19, 2004


Z goes to Barcelona

The ever wonderful
Zbornak went to Barcelona at the weekend to celebrate his birthday on Valentine's Day. Because he says: "this Saturday is MY BIRTHDAY, and nothing to do with some shitty old saint, the Zbornak family is off to Barcelona to spend some time pretending we're in a moody-but-fun/fabulous Spanish film."

I haven't had a chance to read his full report yet, but he kindly sent me a link to his studies of Barcelona's metro subway system with the piccie below and lots of other stuff about "diagonal" tubes, and lifts at street level taking you down to the bowels of the underground. (Note to self, must, must, must go to Barcelona at some stage soon) It rox.

Metrosexual - title stolen from Z

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, February 19, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

A Meg Ryan sort of day

In which, I remember I am separated

Well I can't say I ever forget I am separated, but there were simply too many reminders of it yesterday on the way home.

Firstly, I saw some junk mail that my ex-husband used to produce. We always used to joke about how he and his agency were repsonsible of half the litter on the tube and he was always freaked out when he saw people studying his catalogues. Quite a few of them were strewn about the Piccadilly Line last night after having fallen from broadsheets and The Times.

Then at Baron's Court I was suddenly aware of a poem above the seat opposite me from the Poems on The Underground series. I didn't come over all Meg Ryan-ish (Meg Ryan's character in the film In The Cut, quietly reads subway poems to herself - see my
Halloween blog entry), but it did seem kind of significant.

Your absence has gone through me like thread through a needle, everything I do is stitched with its colour

Particularly as I took the picture above at Glamoursmith (Hammersmith), station which ex-hubby still uses each day and was the place where I last bumped into him.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, February 19, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

A Zonked sort of day

Knackered but good

Today was a day when I was followed around by Pharmaton adverts "clinically proven to relieve daily fatigue" showing people falling asleep in various underground situations.

The almost real scenario of a bloke leaning and sleeping on another disgruntled bloke was in this morning's Metro

I wouldn't be surprised to see this one day

Then after half a day at an exhibition and much dashing about to and from work, it was nice to go to cinema with my friend from work, watch Colin Firth looking long haired and moody and Scarlett Johannson looking breathy and pouty in
Girl With a Pearl Earring. Then caught the tube home and saw another Pharmaton ad, of a guy falling asleep while buying his train fare

Zonked at the station

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, February 17, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Safety on the London Underground

Privatisation and tube safety

I've been neglecting certain aspects of the tube, being caught up with celeb spotting and tube ad spotting, and mad map spotting and general moaning. I know it's my blog and I can say what I like, but there had been
damage to some trains on the 12th Feb and I didn't mention it. Mainly I suppose I had forgotten and also, fortunately, no one was hurt.

But last autumn, safety was a big concern (two derailments in two days) and regular visitors may remember my little campaign to Lynne Featherstone - Chair of the London Assembly Transport Policy Committee. Many of you commented and added strength to the arguments (thanks again for that).

Well, I had a reminder of this only a few days ago. Buried deep in a post I originally made on the 28th October 2003 - I had a reply on 13th Feb 2004 from a London Underground Driver who also happens to be a health and safety rep for LU. As many of you are probably not going back as far as my October posts and campaign (but thanks to Oshea, the driver who clearly did), I thought I'd highlight oshea's comments to a thread about safety on the tube as there are some very interesting points.

As an Underground Driver I can assure Bradley that most of the money spent by London Underground on legal fees is not spent on fighting the unions, but is instead spent on fighting the infrastructure (INFRACO) companies i.e. Metronet and Tubelines. Because of the nature of the PPP contracts every delay has to be paid for by either the INFRACO or LUL, as you can imagine there is not always agreement on who is to blame for the delay so the lawyers get involved, 372 cases since PPP began with an estimated �5million on legal fees alone, and all this just to apportion blame for delays !!!

The unions and particularly the RMT were and are totally opposed to PPP and are still fighting it.

Perhaps Bradley is not aware that since privatisation on the tube there have been FIVE serious derailments on the tube YES FIVE, namely

1. Loughton
2. Chancery Lane
3. Chiswick Park
4. Hammersmith
5. Camden

The INFRACO companies' main objective is to gain money for their shareholders and is not and never has been the safety and wellbeing of their passengers or staff.
Not only am I a Driver on LUL, I am also a Health and Safety Rep. and believe me the things I see and hear of on a daily basis around the Underground would put most people off ever using it again.

Should anyone want any more info please reply to this post and I will provide.

So there we are, an open invitation to speak to a tube driver and a Health and Safety Rep. Thanks for speaking out OShea.

This invitation is particularly pertinent to people who still think London's tube is great and better than systems overseas and also to the many people who refuse to travel on the tube as last year's derailments scared the shit out of them and to anyone who travels on the tube every day. We were very, very lucky there were no fatalities on any of those derailments.

Safety is still a very real issue on the tube and I still think it's amazing that the government and LU bosses can spend so much money apportioning blame for delays, and trying to justify PPP, when our cranky, old system is desparately underfunded and this crankiness and oldness can lead to accidents on a system that carries 3 million people every day.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, February 17, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, February 16, 2004

Animals on the Underground

Why oh why have I not seen this before

Big thanks to
Ross Sleight who sent me a link to a top concept of a person who looks at the tube map and sees animals:

Can you see what it is yet?

There are quite a few of these on the site and not only that, Nick Thomas (genius!) has got together with London Transport Museum and is selling them as T Shirts. I think you can also send in other animals you've "seen" on the tube, so get cracking and you might find your drunken magic eye/magic mushroom induced staring coming back to you as a T Shirt. Sheer genius.

Cheers Ross. (Ross has also written a top article on the power of blogging which has gained me many brownie points at work - "I only blog for research and commerical reasons" - it's a great excuse!)

; Posted by annie mole Monday, February 16, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Foot in mouth

How romantic - Part 2

Just listening to Heart FM before going to work (Capital's Chris Tarrant's on holiday and I can't take Neil Fox) and the DJ Jono Coleman has been asking people for stories of when people have put their foot in their mouth. A lady came on with the following story.

She was getting on the tube with her parents and they sat on those seats in groups of four for two people on each side. When they sat down a guy was there
sitting with his legs wide apart "As they do", the woman said. She recognised him as an ex-boyfriend and said. "Do you mind closing your legs, as I've been there and you're really not that big".

Her mother gave her a withering look and ex-boyfriend rapidly closed his legs. Class.

An old cartoon from Metro

; Posted by annie mole Monday, February 16, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Happy Valentine's Day

How romantic

I was going to tell a story of how my eyes locked with a tall dark handsome stranger on the District Line, who I got chatting with and who had noticed my camera and said, "Why, aren't you Annie Mole, from London Underground Blog? " and I said, "Why yes, how observant of you, wanna come back to my place?", then I would announce our engagement (after divorcing the ex Mr Mole of course) and we would both live happily every after and I'd invite you all to our wedding and make you all godparents to our children. Yeah right.

Instead, this little story from Rob in Essex who signed my
guestbook, is more what Valentine's Day on the tube is really like:

"As I closed the door button a young lad holding a bunch of flowers for his sweetheart on Valentine's Day started to panic as he wanted to board the train. Too late! The flowers got stuck in the doors - before I could re-open them he pulled out the flowers minus the blooms. He threw the stalks on the platform in temper and stormed off."

Hope everyone who celebrated the most genuinely commercial day in the world had a fab time. Does anyone actually know who St Valentine was, without looking it up on Google?

Valentine leftovers on Eros - God of Lurrve at Piccadilly Circus

; Posted by annie mole Sunday, February 15, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, February 13, 2004

Welcome Australians

Going Underground Mentioned in Sydney Morning Herald

Good-day mates - welcome if you've found my site from a mention in the Sydney Morning Herald in Column 8 - if you're looking for the
London Underground train drivers announcements, this is the link you need on my main site - going underground.

But if you want to stick around here, there's lots of other tube stuff. Funnily enough (or not), there's been a bit of an Oz theme to my tube diary lately - I reported on the story about the Australian guy who had pork chops for shoes and the legal stuff surrounding him, as that's now made it as a funny london underground advert (apologies in advance for my Aussie accent).

Also there's a comparison of Aussie subway rules & etiquette with London's unofficial tube rules.

Many thanks to the person who told me the reference was from Column 8 in the Sydney Morning Herald. And it's great that most of you seem to have got here through Google from that little reference - I did wonder why I was getting so many visits from down under. Cheers and have fun.

Oh and I promise I hardly mention rugby.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, February 13, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Celeb Spot

Rob Brydon out of Marion & Geoff spot

I know it's Friday the 13th and not wanting to tempt fate, but today I was sort of lucky with my tube celeb spot. I actually got a
British Snail SWT train from Richmond as the "fast" train to Waterloo was supposedly on time. Just ahead of me was a bloke who looked remarkably like the brill comic actor Rob Brydon who was carrying a copy of WORD magazine. Omigod, top actor and writer (Cruise of the Gods was sheer genius), carrying top mag (read it WORD online free for one month only - you'll be hooked). But Rob Brydon is one of those people who looks like anyone. The sort of person that you may think is the bloke that lives a few doors down the road from you or is someone you see on the tube each day, and you're thinking that's why I know you. But he also looked like the bloke out of Marion and Geoff.

Anyway I sat as near as possible to him, which is difficult on a packed South West Trains carriage, but I was too near to take a picture without breaking my back, as he was behind me. So I thought, I need some evidence that it's really him. Nothing he said to his female companion helped, he was engrossed in WORD. But the first page he turned to in WORD was an article about comedian Harry Hill. Not necessarily enough evidence by itself.

Then his mobile phone went. Brill, he's bound to say something actorly. So I turned down my mp3 headphones. "You're what's known as a fad" he said to whoever was on the other end of the line. That's sort of actorly. Then not much else, asking about the person's band - sort of celebby. Then "Oh I'm not up to much today, doing a few voiceovers" - Bingo, who else would say something like that?

So we got to Waterloo station and him and female partner hung behind, clearly not in a rush like the rest of us. Was I sad enough to wait around to see where he got off and possibly blag a picture. No, I decided I wasn't.

Anyway, at Waterloo Underground station I was standing on the Bakerloo line platform heading for Piccadilly Circus. Who should turn up a few people down from me, still with his copy of WORD magazine - Rob Bloody Brydon. As Harry Hill himself would say "What are the chances of that happening?".

My camera was now at the ready. I took a really blurry picture of him on the platform and he stepped right back - Damn he knows who I am, he knows he has a mad Avid Merrion tube celebrity spotting stalker.

We got onto a fairly empty carriage. I sort of had a chance to sit opposite him. Again, too close, too obvious for a photo opportunity. So I sat diagonally behind and managed to get some shots of the side of his head reading WORD.

It is clearly Rob Brydon, isn't it?

He got off at Piccadilly Circus, so what more proof did I need - Piccadilly Circus, home of theatre luvvies, also where my Dr Who Peter Davison celeb spot departed and Golden Square, just round the corner, is home of loads of people who make TV and radio commercials, where he may have been heading for his voiceover. Indeed at work, we've walked past Kevin Spacey making mobile phone calls in our office stairwell - our "studios" at Archer Street are the home to lots of little arty/meedja/production/webby/pilates/architect type outfits.

He chose the stairs to leave the platform level. Stalking ended at that point - nothing but broken escalators will make me face the ricketty, vertigo inducing, head spinning, spiral staircase at Piccadilly Circus, particularly not on Friday 13th.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, February 13, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Penang or Angel - the choice is yours

The tube might spoil the view

The thing I like about some London Underground ads, is they're based on the common knowledge that every Londoner knows the transport systems is ......well, let's say not perfect. Rubbish, in fact. I still find it quite funny that people from overseas read this blog or
goingunderground.net and think - "what the hell are they moaning about, London's transport system is fantastic and a lot better than ours". I'm sure it's a case of the grass is always greener on the other side.

Anyway, here's a tropical view from the other side and a public announcement tube type apology to go with it:

I'd rather be in Malaysia

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, February 12, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Top Station Assistant Announcement

King's Cross Overcrowding (sorry, crowding)

My colleague has just told me about his journey on the way in to work this morning. He was waiting as usual on the Westbound Piccadilly line platform at King's Cross along with several hundred other people, and heard the following, from the station assistant:

"Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen. I am sorry to announce that London Underground is not running a competition to see how many people we can get into the front carriage of a tube. So please move right along the platform to allow others to board the train quickly and more comfortably".

Update - Metro Momento

Headline on the letters page of today's Metro about overcrowding, when I thought it might apply to
yesterday's pukey story below:

"Please ease our queasy squeeze"

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, February 11, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Speaking of Station Assistants

Who is this ego maniac?

I don't know why more people don't stare at this picture in the camera/passport picture/film shop in Piccadilly Circus station, as I caught a woman doing this morning:

Who is this man?

Who is this guy? Why are there so many pictures of him? Does he not get freaked out by seeing all these mini me's staring back at him each day?

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, February 11, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Charing Cross platform to be avoided

Tube sickness

I was sitting opposite a woman on the Bakerloo line this morning, who was asleep and then woke up looking a bit - well all over the place. When we came to Charing Cross she suddenly shot from the tube as though she had missed her stop previously or was about to miss this one. She then sat down on a platform bench, which I thought was a bit funny as there is no interchange at Charing Cross, so she couldn't be going anywhere, perhaps she was waiting for a friend.

I suddenly realised she was indeed waiting for her friends, Ralph and Huey, as she blurted out a massive technicolour yawn and threw up. Poor thing. Bearing in mind this was at about 9.30 in the morning, she must have been feeling hugely sick.

And, before you ask, no I didn't get a picture. I do have some standards.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, February 10, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Today's Metro Momento - a prediction

Kerry Wins

Yes, every English newspaper, including Metro, will have something it in about Kerry's landslide victory. Anyone from The States reading this shouldn't think that the whole of the UK has developed a sudden interest in
Senator John Kerry and the Presidential elections.

No this Kerry is far, far more important. It's little ex Atomic Kitten, wife of some bloke out of Westlife, and sometimes TV presenter, Kerry McFadden ne� Katona from "I'm a celebrity (and we use the term celebrity very, very loosely), Get me out of Here!", who has been crowned Queen of the Jungle. Best election report I've read of Kerry's mudslide victory is in the Indie

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, February 10, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, February 09, 2004

Today's Metro Momentos

It's Hallmark Day on Saturday

Just in case you haven't noticed, on Saturday, it's the patron saint of Hallmark, Clinton, Thorntons, Interflora, lastminute.com,
supriseyourwoman.com, surpriseyourman.com, (Rich you owe me), and any other company which celebrates the day when long time married men rush into petrol stations and railway stations to grab a bouquet of limp flowers.

True to form, Metro follow up their "Love on the Commute" feature and try to get people who have "spotted some totty on the train", to make the first move.

Being "innudated with messages", Metro publish eleven of them, but the chances of anyone recognising themselves are slim. But who knows, one of them could be you.....

"At 5.36pm, Liverpool Street to Gidea Park. third carriage. Tony? What's on your iPod? Loving the new haircut!"

"Mr tall, slim, with the most charismatic smile, in your twenties with your companion, the heavy duty wheely case, I wouldn't mind signing to you again on the opposite platform."

"You have jet black hair, wear signature black gloves, a long coat and carry a tan briefcase. I catch your eye on the 8.20/8.30am train from Pinner going into the City."

My favourite is this one:

"I don't see you often enough, either because you don't get up early in the morning or miss your train frequently.....You are half asleep most of the time, so I would like to say "Open your eyes or you'll never know what you're missing". From a wondrous thunderbolt who gets on at Baker Street and wants to brighten your life"

Check out Isawyoutoday.com for a website that's been trying to cosy up commuters for a few years now. Don't forget to invite me to the wedding if you get hitched. Love can happen.


Bradley kindly spotted a Valentine's campaign on the tube website, were the London Underground are desperate to find some story or figures about people meeting on the tube - if you can stand the bright red on their site, fill out their Valentine's survey. Igoring the questions about sex and marital status - I predict the answers will be yes, no, no.

; Posted by annie mole Monday, February 09, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Metro Momento 2

Your train is crowded, not overcrowded

More spinned against than spinning, The Rail Safety and Standards Board has banned the term "overcrowding", saying that crowding is a healthy sign of the popularity of the railway system. The piece in Metro says that "While a journey in a confined, unventilated space may be uncomfortable, it is not dangerous, the watchdog has concluded". Cathy Gilleece of said watchdogs said: "Our project is about crowding and that's what we are calling it".

Now just don't think this rigid use of terminology is a 21st century spin thing. It reminded me of a statement from 1955, when the then Chairman of London Transport, Sir John Eliot, helpfully responded to reports of passenger discomfort, with: "They are not crammed in. They cram themselves in".

; Posted by annie mole Monday, February 09, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tell me why, I don't like Mondays

Tell me why, I don't like Mondays

It's the worst day of the week and the day the Evening Standard decides that everyone else will be thinking "I'm an employee, Get me out of here".

The ad below is not encouraging people to work on the London Underground, even though you might think that at first

(PS I'm too scared to make any more postings like "
I would rather stick needles in my eyes than work for the tube" as I almost got strung up last time.....well no more posts like that this month....er week).

; Posted by annie mole Monday, February 09, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Another top tube ad campaign

Greedy? Genius? Well, which one are you?

I'm sure you couldn't have failed to see the massive tube ad campaign around at the moment. The teaser campaign has single words like Greedy? and Genius? with no clue as to what it might be about

Greedy at King's Cross

Then there's others at platform level where you are asked "Do you trust the person standing next to you?" Which unless you knew the person all Londoners would automatically answer with a resounding "NO".

Then there are the in-carriage ones with the word Genius and an arrow pointing at some unfortunate soul beneath:

Quiet Genius at work

I'm pleased I finally managed to get a reasonable picture of the "Genius" one yesterday. The advertisements I've seen on the District Line, don't work as well, as the arrow isn't close enough to the person's head. On this picture our "Genius" is clearly pondering life, the universe and everything and the paper protects his anonymity to quietly get on and be a genius in his own time, without some idiot woman taking his picture and unmasking him to the "world".

Oh, just in case you're interested, the campaign is for an online gaming company, 888.com.

; Posted by annie mole Saturday, February 07, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, February 06, 2004

News from the Mayor of London

Too many jokes

As Chandler from Friends would say.

I got my copy of
The Londoner through my letterbox yesterday and haven't had to time to read the whole thing yet, but it's a laugh a minute as far as the tube and London Transport is concerned:

Front page story: "Buffy the Vampire Slayer actress Alyson Hannigan praised London Transport as she helped to promote Totally London's theatre ticket offers"

Page 3 story - Transport system will rise to the Olympic challenge. The short feature ends "Customer services on the Underground will employ bi- and multi-lingual staff to help spectators from overseas". Cool, having two languages will make all the difference, unless they are the usual ones of "Gibberish and Mumbling" that many staff on the underground use.

Page 7 - "Do you ever glance at the driver of the Victoria Line service as it pulls into the platform and suspect that he or she is not actually driving the train? If so you are right".

This is not an attempt at surrealism or celebrating the fact that most tube drivers that I see, seem to be reading the paper or having a cup of tea when they're "driving" the train. It's a full page article on Automatic Train Operation, way too trainspottery for me to go into on this blog, but basically you'll be reassured to hear it's all done by computers and coded pulses. "Your driver has no control over speed or braking."

Page 8 - full page on the joys of the Oystercard. Too much of an easy target, I'm not even going to go there.

Double page centre spread - What Londoners think about London - The Annual London Survey carried out by MORI for the Greater London Authority provides a snapshot of day to day life in the capital.

"Almost one in four (23 per cent) of Londoners now mention transport as one of the best things about living in London. This is a significant rise since last year. And 74 per cent of people say that London is a city that is easy to get around.

However improving transport remains a priority for Londoners. Top of the list is reducing traffic congestion followed by more reliable buses and Tubes, more investment in the Tube, cheaper fares and improved personal safety on public transport

Nicely followed by:

Page 15 - "Horror thriller Creep about a woman being stalked through a warren of secret tunnels, is being partly shot on the Tube".

Read The Londoner yourself here. It rox.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, February 06, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Right above your nose

It's like Piccadilly Circus in here

Yesterday I mentioned how annoying it was to be working in the middle of a major tourist attraction (
London, the place to be right now), but sometimes it's only by being a tourist that you notice amazing things around you. I'm normally too busy running to work, grabbing a sandwich or a Chai Latte or a bento box for lunch, running to and from meetings, and getting then thinking of quick escape routes to get out of Zone 1 as fast as possible to get home.

I walk past Piccadilly Circus at least twice a day (and goodness knows how long this has been going on), but it was only when I emerged from the station yesterday morning that I tharwt I thaw some Coke bottles getting on a tube. Don't think I'm hallucinating. I did a double take and stared at the MASSIVE Coca Cola movie on the enormously famous and enormous advertising hoardings at Piccadilly Circus.

Yep, there were definitely some Marilyn Monroe style Coke bottles jostling their way on and off a tube. I was late for the office, so vowed to catch them later.

I came back at lunchtime, stood at Piccadilly Circus with my camera at the ready and looked up at Coca Cola ad campaigns through the ages. I was getting a stiff neck and beginning to again think I had been hallucinating or dreaming them. I saw some bottles getting onto double decker buses and got a bit happier. Then bollox, more Coca Cola ad campaigns through the years. More and more of them.

After about six or seven minutes, I was just about to lose the will to live. Then bingo, there they were, the bottles on the tube, the Coke commuters. Right above my nose.

Giant coke commuters at Piccadilly Circus

I'd to teach the world to commute, in perfect harmony

I managed to grab a couple more shots on the way home:

Coke adds life at Piccadilly Circus

Imagine how fizzy they'd be when they were opened

Perhaps I should do this tourist thing a bit more often, although I've had a strange craving for Lemon flavoured cokes all night.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, February 05, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Today's Metro Momento

Do children reading Metro defraud the memory of Diana?

Apologies for lapsing into
Daily Mail speak, but today's Metro (the free morning paper given out at tube and train stations) saw a spate (well, four) letters of reaction against some maniac in Monday's Metro who said that schoolchildren shouldn't be allowed to read Metro as they weren't proper commuters.

"I wasn't aware there was a sign on all Metro stands saying "To be read by grumpy blokes only". How ridiculous to decide that only certain people are "allowed" to read a free newspaper. Have a word with yourselves." Helen, Croydon


"We are schoolchildren who travel on the train (and put up with the shocking service) and are just as entitled to read Metro as anyone, assuming that it is funded by adverts, not train fares." Sophie, Jenny & Alex, EC2

As Sam Cooke said "Schoolchildren taking any sort of interest in current affairs should be encouraged, even if it is just so they can keep up to date on the new cannabis laws".

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, February 04, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

London is cool - it's official

Lonely Planet decides London is cooler than ever

It's a funny old travel guide, The Lonely Planet. You can spend weeks in a country with more of your head stuck in the guide than just feeling around the place with your nose. When I was in Mexico years ago, we saw so many people wandering around with their noses in the backpackers bible (ourselves included) that it was a running joke with everyone else we met in the same position.

Since starting
GoingUnderground five years ago (which amazingly is on The Lonely Planet's website) and also since working near Piccadilly Circus, it's second nature (although weird) to see the town you live in as a major tourist spot. When you're popping out to get a sarnie, or simply trying to get home, you curse tourists, for getting in your way. When you're stuck on the tube you can't believe that people choose to come to London for a holiday.

A couple of years ago, London was branded by The Lonely Planet as "as a joyless, decaying place where the locals are more likely to attack you than extend a welcome". But in the 2004 edition which is published in March, London is "The place to be right now."

The Evening Standard, reporting on this, stated the obvious caveat: "Not surprisingly, transport is branded "the biggest bugbear for Londoners and the challenge Mayor Ken Livingstone is most keen to face".

Let's hope he does. But speaking of cool, when I was sitting at Glamoursmith (Hammersmith) waiting for a train home, I saw a group of young goths get off there. There were three guys dressed in black with black baggy trousers and bulky boots. An amazingly attractive girl was in the middle of them. Black hair, whiter than white complexion, sooty black eyeliner, a nose ring which suddenly made sense of nose rings, and a blood red velvet top. As they walked by me I noticed that clinging to the girl's back was a rucksack in the shape of a small black coffin.

Now that's cool.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, February 04, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

All change please

Warning - this tube ad could change your life

Seems to have been a few days of me spotting some good ads on the tube. I really like the VSO ad below as it does highlight the everyday life of a commuter. Simple things like noticing the tube to be "strangely empty", getting a funny email at work, getting a decent sandwich, getting home OK cos of no delays and then seeing an ad which makes you give up the whole rat race:

VSO London Underground Ad

"You stood up not because there were no seats but because you wanted to be counted".

And for once the campaign is actually carried through to the website.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, February 03, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, February 02, 2004

No sitting

Sitting not allowed - penalty £200

At last, this morning I saw with my very own eyes one of the spoof ads that are appearing over the tube.

There was
No Talking, and No Eye Contact and actually I did see No Busking for myself, but at the time thought it was an official one that the busker had just peeled off and stuck on his guitar.

So now, ta-dah - the picture of "No Sitting", from the Bakerloo line:

No sitting

For more on getting a seat, check out this section from goingunderground.net

; Posted by annie mole Monday, February 02, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Another top tube ad

Man sues bar for sliding off pork chops

I love the London Underground ad below, for Norwich Union travel insurance, which I saw on Sunday

A man walks into a bar wearing a pair of pork chops on his feet.  The barmaid says - WTF, the man says - that'll be �20,000 mate

I can just picture the Australian guy sliding back into the bar saying, "Alright Sheila, so you say I've gotta wear shoes. Will these pork chops do ya? Ya tight arsed bint....... Arggggggh, me arm mate, it feels like one of Steve Irwin's crocs has got me in a grip. You buggers are gonna pay for this. That'll teach you for making me wear meat on me feet.......Arggggh, strewth".

this story is based on truth (although they've juggled the facts slightly - but who cares, it's an advert not the Hutton Report).

Norwich Union, you made my day.

; Posted by annie mole Monday, February 02, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Sunday, February 01, 2004

It's raining, it's pouring

The wrong kind of rain?

Doing work and college stuff on Saturday and ended up travelling around Bloomsbury and Angel and Kings Cross a lot. When leaving Angel to get back to Bloomsbury I found that King's Cross station (which I had used only a couple of hours earlier as an interchange) had been closed due to "flooding". Now admittedly I was ensconced in a college library for a while, then in shops, then in a coffee shop, but I don't remember enough torrential rain falling in those few hours to close down the station. Unless the flooding was due to somebody leaving the tap on in a filled sink, after filling up a kettle. Very puzzled.

; Posted by annie mole Sunday, February 01, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Ad at Angel

This is your stop

While I was at Angel the following ad caught my eye.

Lloyds TSB Bank London Underground Ad at Angel

Managed to get a reasonable picture now of the copy being sharp with the blurred rushing effect of commuters in the background.

Nicely executed ad, Lloyds. Ten out of ten for art direction. Not quite sure about the copy itself though, but it certainly made me stop and think.

; Posted by annie mole Sunday, February 01, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE