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Annie Mole's, daily web log (blog) & “guide” to the London Underground
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Thursday, April 29, 2004

Ken on the Tube

He DOES use the Tube

This isn't going to be a post about Ken Livingstone talking about the Tube - although doubtless he will be this evening in the
State of London Debate, but it's me spotting Ken himself on the Tube.

We've recently moved offices and I now have the most God awful journey to get from Richmond to Barbican or Old Street. It's a mare. Today I changed at Gloucester Road to get the Circle line going clockwise. I discovered a few days ago that a platform map reckons there's only about a minute or so difference to get to the Barbican going anticlockwise. I'm not convinced, but am still in experimental mode, so did it.

I'm slightly tired and hungover, so wasn't really paying a lot of attention to anything, but at Westminster I saw a bloke with a standard issue beige raincoat and traditional umbrella, legging it for the tube. "That's Ken Livingstone", I thought, as he got onto the next carriage. This was confirmed by a handful of other people making the same connection as me and looking at him.

This was too good an opportunity to miss for a tube celeb spot, so I moved along my carriage and amazingly he was sitting a couple of seats away from me in the next carriage. It definitely was Ken, as regular visitors may remember that me and Mecca met him last year and had a chat with him. Hardly anyone in his carriage gave the mayor any attention or showed signs of recognition, apart from a guy standing up reading his report on London Transport over Ken's shoulder.

My first picture was a disaster, as waiting for the train to stop, just as I was about to snap, a woman reached over for a Metro and her arm was exactly in front of Ken's face.

D'OH get your arm out of the way luv

Second picture is better, but it is through two panes of glass. Oh yeah, he got off at Blackfriars.

Ken Livingstone on the tube sans newts

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, April 29, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

A little bit of culture

Arts at Gloucester Road

Gloucester Road (well the District and Circle line bit of it) has always been known as a place where art is displayed in little alcoves along the
platform walls. But yesterday as I came back from a meeting there, I heard classical music being played in the ticket area as I went through the barriers.

No buskers around and it was way too good to be a busker anyway. Me and another guy were looking round and staring at the ceiling to see where the sound was coming from. Hardly anyone else looked remotely concerned, particularly a couple of station assistants chatting in the corner.

It was about 11.30, and not many people about, but I certainly didn't notice it when I went steaming through the station and a few hours before. So I asked the station assistant who it was. He didn't know and said "It's just a compilation one of the guys has done from his computer - there's no label on it"

So yet another mystery. It was definitely a piano concerto, something like Satie but definitely not as contemporary. But whatever it was quite soothing, perhaps it will catch on at other stations.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, April 29, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

The things people talk to their partners about

What's unique about Mile End (or Liverpool Street) and how many one unders are there?

Two very weird conversations taking place between boyfriend and girlfriend, strangely both emailed to me today - (have I missed "Have a conversation about the tube with your partner Day"?)

Konstantin from
www.londonleben.co.uk emailed me with the following query:

"I overheard a conversation last night - in the tube of course. A guy said to his girlfriend "Apparently there is only one station, where you can start a journey and reach every other tube station by changing trains once only. It's Mile End."

I'm not sure about that. I believe it would work for King's Cross and Liverpool Street as well. Was he just showing off? I spent an hour today on the tube, checking the tube map and I still don't know."

I tended to agree with Konstantin in that it works for Liverpool Street too. King's Cross is a no no, as although it is the station with the most lines running through it, you would have to change twice to get onto the Waterloo and City Line. Anyone any other views?

Also in a fit of morbidity Rachel asked "How many people fall under tubes per year? How many are suicides and how many are accidents?

I reckon about one a week, and my boyfriend reckons one a day. Any idea?

I could help Rachel by finding out from tubeprune that tube driver District Dave reckons there are about 100 suicides a year. A report on the tube's website from March 2003 says there were only 9 non suicide fatalities that year - or one per 100 million customer journeys.

And I've no idea where I found this out originally but 11am is the peak hour for tube suicides and Victoria and King's Cross the most "popular" stations for them - originally from my tube facts page.

Now I hope the couples go back to arguing about more normal things like who's going to put the bins out.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, April 27, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, April 26, 2004

I am not obsessed with men's underwear

I am not obsessed with men's underwear

If I repeat it often enough it will become true. And I can't help it if men send me in
pictures of their boxer shorts and likewise I can't help it if men insist on flashing their Calvins to everyone on the Tube.

Show us your Calvin Kleins luv

I never knew men wore colour co-ordinated knickers before. I can't say I have ever, ever, worn a pair of kecks to deliberately match my belt.

; Posted by annie mole Monday, April 26, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Today's Metro Momento

Heartbreak at Hither Green

It's the last Monday in the month and the day when Metro try to play Cupid and match commuters who fancy other commuters. Maybe this month's lot are getting more into Lonely Hearts than others I've seen, or maybe the people who make up letters in Metro are coming over all Mills & Boon. This one, from the poetically named Allegra, is a classic:

"Surrounded by Japanese tourists, you were reading John Lennon's Definitive Biography, and my heart went boom. It was the 5.49pm train from Charing Cross to Orpington. When you sat down, you seemed annoyed at the noise being made by the guys behind you. It made me look at you again and if there is such a thing as a thunderbolt of love - I got it. My heart swelled and I couldn't move. I saw you looking at me in the reflection of the window but our eyes only met once and I thought my chest would explode. When I got off at Hither Green, I turned to look back at you and you were doing the same. When you saw me your face broke out into the most beautiful smile. I'm just sorry I didn't give you my number. I'm also sorry because I haven't seen you again because I have looked for you every day since."

; Posted by annie mole Monday, April 26, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

It's Temple

Only station name on the London Underground that's also on the Paris Metro

There you go for all people who may be looking for this answer for a quiz - someone emailed me today and it's one of those things I have stored in my head (for pub quizzes and the like). I was surprised it wasn't easier for Rupert to find through Google than having to come to me first. But I think you would have to already know that it was Temple in order to find the answer.

Ask Jeeves comes up with it if you don't actually ask the question and just input:
"station paris metro and london underground", but for once Google lets you down and I think you'd have to try quite a few search combinations (without Temple obviously) to find the answer.

Well perhaps not any more, if Google now sends people this way.

Oh, if anyone wants proof - Temple is on the Circle and District Line of the Tube and on the romantically named Line 3 of the Metro.

; Posted by annie mole Monday, April 26, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Summer in London

Summertime and the tubes are buggered

Circle Line completely out of action today. District Line only running to Earl's Court - but hey the sun was shining, as witnessed by the piccie below:

Cue lots of piccies in Metro on Monday about the London heatwave

Still didn't put people in a cheerful enough mood to give any dosh to the accordian player on my carriage - I bet he thought he was onto a winner.

; Posted by annie mole Saturday, April 24, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Fighting Fat at Glamoursmith

I've just come back from a ginormous veggie meal at
The Gate in Hammersmith (according to Metro, Alicia Silverstone's favourite restaurant in London) and feel like Monty Python's Mr Creosote, so thought it was kinda appropriate to see a really slim woman reading a book about how to Fight Fat After 40 at Glamoursmith.

She didn't look fat or forty

Why is it mainly slim people who read dieting books, or is this a myth and I just think that it's only slim people who read dieting books? I was tempted to ask her for a copy as (fooking ell) I will be 40 later this year. She didn't look remotely 40 though so I'm hoping she was just reading for research purposes. Hopefully, she would have said to me "Why you don't look almost 40 yourself either, surely you are just asking me to get a story for your blog, and stop taking pictures of me you mad stalking woman".

; Posted by annie mole Saturday, April 24, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, April 23, 2004

Coke Bottles on Film and Boxers Shorts

What will you send in next?

I can't believe I get a number of emails from people sending me various bits and bobs and stories and jpgs and stuff after reading something from the blog. It's really sweet of you all and it's nice to know that my journey is having some sort of effect on other people's commutes or thoughts on the tube.

Asten sent me in a movie of the Coke bottles getting on the tube at Piccadilly Circus (yes you read that correctly even though I thought I was mad when I first saw them in January)

click to see the movie

And Ian Dolby finally found those boxer shorts with Shepherds Bush on the front that he'd been waxing lyrical about for ages.

However they didn't have Arsenal on the back of them although he said:

"No Arsenal on the back - but I did say that was a rumour as I hadn't opened the packet. You could also get "Wapping" on the front but modesty (and some would say the Trades' Description Act) prevented me. Actually, Wapping would probably have been a more appropriate rear-printed slogan for the group of American sounding tourists in front of me."

Also thanks to commenting stalwart Bradley for sending me a link to his report of the car that drove onto the District Line yesterday at Kew and screwed up the service between Richmond and Turnham Green for half a day. Fortunately I listen to Capital Radio in the mornings and I heard about it and timed my journey so I could go on by British Snail instead.

Cheers guys much appreciated.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, April 23, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Today's Metro Momento

Why we see red over "I'm on the train" calls

Researchers at York Uni have clearly nothing to do as they've carried out a study on why we find other people's mobile phone conversations irritating. It's nothing to do with the loudness of people saying "I'm on the tube" or "I'm just going into a tunnel" - apparently it's because we don't know what the person on the other end is saying.

Photo by Donald McGarr

The photo above was originally from TubePrune's site and was taken by Donald McGarr.

"What really drives millions of Britons mad is simply, they normally only hear one side of the conversation. 'Conversations only work if there is a general agreement. There is a need to understand what is said and to talk back' said Professor Andrew Monk.

His team exposed 64 people (huge sample - WTF are universities doing?) waiting for a bus or on a train to a staged discussion - half on mobiles and half face to face - at different volumes. In all cases, the phone conversations annoyed volunteers more".

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, April 22, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Move along the platform

More or less effective than
the mime artists?

After coming back to work from a meeting I noticed that Vauxhall had a much more obvious way of telling people to move down the platform

Oi, it's less crowded you idiots, so don't congregate around the platform near the entrance, move up to the front (or indeed the back) of the train and you may well get a seat.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, April 22, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

The tube have a new band

I thought this was a spoof ad

Or one of those ads that was meant to warn us that doing something or other on the tube - walking slowly, talking, smiling, breathing causes delays.

Have you seen the delays?

But apparently there is a real band called "The Delays" - the tube really ought to sponsor them.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, April 22, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Train Tourette's Syndrome

Bless his little cotton socks

On the way to yet another expo today I was standing on the District Line (delays at Kings Cross seemed to have screwed up the whole system) and a little boy in a blue school uniform was munching away on a dairylea and ham cracker sarnie and playing up. When laying on his mother didn't work or bumping into her, he started to recite the names of random train stations - "Sunbury, Addlestone, Staines, Aldgate East, Turnham Green". "Shut up or I'll tell your teacher," his mum said, much to my relief. After all who'd want their son to grow up to be a PA system.

However, in a strange echo of the guy who found offence about the London Marathon Adidas ad in last week's Metro with lots of swear words in it, including "twat", the little boy took a sudden interest in his mum's Metro. So said at top of his voice - "Look they're naked". I looked from my superior standing position and it was some sort of "art" with a picture of two tailor's dummies.

Many thanks to Green Fairy for blogging
The Sun's outrage at the London marathon ad:

Rob, of Sheffield, South Yorks, told The Sun: "I was reading it on a break and suddenly I saw the word 't**t'. Imagine the embarrassment of a mum whose six-year-old son is asking her what a 't**t' is?"

Green Fairy said "It's someone who rings up a tabloid newspaper to complain about a mildly rude word appearing in advert in a newspaper only given out first thing in the morning to commuters in case a child somewhere in the country with reading skills far advanced of their age should stumble somehow upon a copy, pick out that word from all the others and march up to their mother in the middle of a church social demanding their childhood innocence be stolen away with an immediate etymological definition, darling."

Can you spot the twat?

There's no way this particular little boy would have been able to have read the words on this ad - most five or six year olds are really bored with small type as they find it too difficult to read, but I'm sure he'd have more to say about the half naked women in The Sun, like the "naked" people in Metro. It also took me about twenty minutes to find the offending t word. It'll be easier for you as there's only a small section above, but imagine this as a double page spread.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, April 21, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Dot matrix on your desktop

Bakerloo Line users can experience the delights of a tube platform indicator on their desktop

Tubetrack you can download a little program which sits on your desktop, so you can see when the next three tube trains are supposedly due to arrive at your chosen station.

Hopefully the platform indicators don't include some of the rather random platform indicators I saw a couple of days ago.

Have a look at the tube ETA (estimated time of arrival) website it's based on.

Many thanks to Ralf and Matt who sent me the link to this within four minutes of each other. Cheers guys.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, April 20, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

God, some people are cheerful

Strange Google referrers

I very rarely blog my search engine referrals, but in the last 24 hours, there seem to have been some particularly weird people who came to this blog after looking for the following items - sadly they will be sort of disappointed:

pictures of animals going mad because of trains - that'll be those pesky horses in the tube tunnels - Google think this blog is top - literally - on that one

london marathon 2004 fatalities (how could this blog be the 1st entry?) - fortunately, as far as I know, this year no one died.

pest control london underground - sort of brings up a reference to those pesky horses again - however most of the pests on the Tube are blokes who sit with their legs apart (far more annoying to me than women, myself included, putting on some slap - although it obviously winds some people up)

Great, I also have a stalker - looking for Annie April 2004

And scarily Rob Brydon will now know I've been stalking him

I'll end with my number two slot for "blog people captured by zombies trying to escape"

Fantastic, yet scary. Google I love ya!

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, April 20, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Rhinos on the tube

Congrats to all the marathon runners

It's the first time I've ever been to see the London Marathon in the flesh, and it was quite strange being on the Tube with lots of soaking wet people wrapped in tin foil cloaks wearing strange medallions round their necks (Jimmy Saville in a sauna would have felt at home). Tourists must have wondered WTF was going on, but when they left and saw the streets covered in rhinos, santas, fairies, policemen and firemen in shorts and people dressed as chickens, eggs and toilets they must have finally realised that the Brits are as eccentric as they originally thought.

On the way back, one of the runners, who had fortunately managed to get a seat (you try standing on the tube after running 26.2 miles) was telling his friends about his outward journey and the usual delays, but the driver had tried to lighten things up by saying "Well, at least the delay wasn't caused by a rhino getting stuck in the doors."

Free travel if you are wearing a special cloak

I was sort of tempted to grab one of the discarded foil cloaks from a bin and fashion a medal for myself, as all marathon runners got free travel on the Tube today. But I looked pretty much like a sodden, bedraggled, bag lady already, without rummaging in bins too.

; Posted by annie mole Sunday, April 18, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Elephant and Gibberish

The next train is for safdkladshlghlkahgi

OK I know I've been manning an exhibition stand for four days. I can hardly think straight, talk straight or walk straight but it looks like they were really taking the piss with the platform indicators at Piccadilly Circus this evening (Bakerloo Line, southbound for those who care)

Still Elephant & Castle is one of the station names where out of towners and tourists are most likely to think "You're having a laugh aren't you?" so maybe they thought no one would notice.

From the Have I got 1997 News For You london underground map

(To see the best full scan of this map check out Geoff (tube challenge guy) Marshall's link).

; Posted by annie mole Saturday, April 17, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Where I've been for the last three days

Another DLR day tomorrow

The prospect of riding on
more driverless trains beckons tomorrow as I head off to Excel for the last time this week. I actually saw Richard Herring (comedian and big time blogger) on Wednesday and from my stand said "Richard Herring" in a way designed to sound as though I personally knew him. Apart from having had a little banner to his sponsorship page on this blog for quite some time, there's no reason at all for him to know who I am. But bless him, he stopped, as you would, I suppose, if some woman shouted out like a long lost friend. And we had a brief chat, also with his mate Tony Gardner, who now actually looked more familar than his sponsorship page picture.

However, Richard Herring's blog entry from Wednesday summed up my experience of the last three days much more adequately than I could, so here's a bit:

"The Docklands Light Railway was packed with men who looked more like the traditional image of the ostrich: very thin with wide staring eyes (whether through fear or obsession only they could tell you) and no cakes or ale in sight. They were clutching their Marathon magazines, as if in some scenario where they had arranged to meet on a blind date and used that as a means of recognition, only to arrive at the appointed hour to find everyone in the place has a Marathon magazine. "

The rest in context is here.

; Posted by annie mole Saturday, April 17, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, April 16, 2004

Today's Metro Momento

Another "Eats Shoots and Leaves" moment

For some unknown reason Metro had a little box on etiquette - it was fairly tongue in cheek - not being the last person in an email exchange, not putting on your auto "out of office" reply when going to lunch.... etc, etc. It did have a piece of Tube etiquette for men (Christ knows why it was men only) asking them to "give up seats for pregnant and elderly women".

I never thought that elderly women could get pregnant. Unless their definition of elderly is women in their late forties.

Fortunately, on my long train journey to Docklands this morning, I noticed that the North London Link guys got it right, with a sign saying (not asking) to - "
give up your seat for a pregnant or elderly person".

Wonder why you never see signs like this on the Tube? Probably cos the head honchos at the Tube are worried about having another grammatical quandry or can't quite cope with the image that would go with it and, like the Japanese, know it would be open to mass spoofing, general confusion or a barrage of letters in Metro.

where the original is almost as funny

as the spoof

For more on giving up seats see the tube etiquette section on goingunderground.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, April 16, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Dogs must be carried......

Yeah right

Just try carrying this one

Dogs MUST be carried

Fantastic picture sent to me from Frank Timmer from

For more on one of my favourite signs on the tube - check out this entry.

For more on dogs being carried

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, April 15, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Two rare pictures from me

You won't see these blogged too often

I had to get up at the crack of dawn to get to an exhibition in the Docklands this morning, so got a rare picture of a full stack of Metro's at Richmond station - there's normally none or only a few left when I get there. (The eagle eyed will see the normal delays on the District Line)

Also, due to the Silverlink train I wanted being cancelled I had to get the DLR and I know you won't believe it, but the only seat available was one at the front of the train. So, in full trainspotter mode, below is a view of tracks from the driver's vantage point. Remember DLR trains don't have drivers and are operated automatically, so it gives you the perfect opportunity to sit in the front seat and pretend to drive the train if you're that way inclined.

Wot no driver?

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, April 15, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Top Tube Ad

How would your boyfriend react on the tube?

Penguin do some top ads for some of their books and the one below which I saw at Piccadilly Circus today, asks us, as chicks, to see how we'd react to certain situations on the tube, to decide if our man needed training.

Cross platform underground ad for The Love Trainer

You should be able to see the questions in red but just in case you can't see the answers........ (my comments in brackets)

Your partner is staring at a woman's bare midriff opposite, what do you do?

a) pinch his fat leg till his eyes water and the girl will see what a pansy he is (nice option)
b) pull your own top up and breathe in hard (to achieve what?)
c) move to another carriage until he realises he's in trouble (not worth it you probably wouldn't get a seat)

In the rush hour a total stranger blatantly strokes your bum, how do you expect your bloke to react?

a) with a wink and a smile and a little rub of his own (which is only likely to turn the stranger on)
b) by pretending to read the map above (that would be a fairly natural yet cowardly thing to do)
c) by leaving your groper in no doubt that when the train stops, he'd better mind the gap (ex hubby would have definitely done that)

So I'd have been in a quandry with ex needing slight training.

I'm sure this ad will lead to more than a fair few arguments in itself, if couples read it together on a platform.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, April 13, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Unnerving driver's announcement

How to put the willies up several hundred people in twenty seconds

I still get pleasantly surprised about how much traffic I get from my main site,
Going Underground being an FHM recommended site (if you're from outside the UK or don't look at magazines with well endowed ladies on them, it's a best selling lads' mag - and a monthly not like those ridiculous new weeklies Zoo, Nuts, Balls and Bollocks or whatever), particularly as some of the blokes from FHM come up with the best overheard tube drivers' announcements.

Here's one from an FHM.com visitor who signed my guestbook over the weekend:

"Apparently one year at Christmas a tube driver decided to have some fun, stopped the train in the middle of a tunnel, and said in a deep voice, "This is your driver speaking...(pause)...or is it?" What a man! "

What a psycho!

Update - just in case you don't read the comments (shame on you)

Looks like this driver (Redd Pepper), or someone like him has now got a job as a voiceover artist. LordofMisrule gives us the full story.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, April 13, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Listening on the Tube

Participants required - Sounds of the Underground

If anyone is up for this, there's a genuine request to take part in research for someone's PHD. Ximena (top name) originally left a message in comments a few weeks ago and I followed up the enquiry. I've simply cut and paste part of Ximena's follow-up email below, so that I don't get anything wrong:

"I am doing my PhD in Music, Technology and Innovation at De Montfort University in Leicester. My research is about the sound world or soundscape of the London Underground and what people would remember of it, we might call it cultural or collective auditory memory. I need for the sample 30 volunteers from diverse backgrounds.

This is a cultural and artistic project opened to all ages. The conditions to participate in the project are: to be a commuter (this is to have a routine travelling by The Tube at any time, line and route), and also to be Internet user or to be attracted by technology.

First, I need to have a chat with volunteers either in May or June. I am arranging appointments for it. In the next academic year (starting in September 2004), I will need a bit more of their time for a practical exercise of listening and sonic creation."

Anyone interested please email
Ximena Alarcon to find out more.

Cartoon by Andy Vine with some typical tube sounds

I'll be too busy listening to my toons to take part, but it might be quite fun if you want to have a go.

; Posted by annie mole Saturday, April 10, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, April 09, 2004

Good Friday

A Friday that's Good cos you're not on the tube

Hoorah - two week days with no commuting. Actually on Wednesday morning I realised I wasn't a real commuter. I travel in from so far out of London that I usually get a seat at the start of my journey - this is as rare as rocking horse shit for people who live in zone 2 - from where I started my journey on Wednesday morning after a sleepover at my friend's house.

From West Hampstead to Charing Cross (not my usual route at all) which involved one change on auto pilot at Baker Street (always follow the changeover instructions of a local, even if the tube map and your better instincts say change at Finchley Road) and eight stops (about twenty minutes), I did not get a seat. It felt really, really wrong.

I usually put my make up on, on the tube. You can't put your make up on when strap hanging - take my word for it, it's impossible.

I usually read a left over Metro from the seat of a District Line. Discarded Metro's here were left on the little ledges behind people's backs and seats and it was too crowded to do the yoga required to twist my arm back on itself and get one.

No chance of some of my usual
nosy photography, without taking a picture of the pores of someone's skin or the fibres of their coat.

I thanked the Lord Sony for inventing walkmans, mp3 mans, discmans or any other portable device with man at the end, as my music provided my only piece of sanity.

I seriously don't know how real commuters do this every bloody work day. God bless them, every one (ooops wrong holiday - Happy Hot Cross Bun eating - and a hip hoppy Easter Greeting found through The Big Smoker).

; Posted by annie mole Friday, April 09, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Getting their money's worth

Mime artists doing overtime

Yep, the Tube are saving us bit of dosh here with using the same mime artists for their "Please pass along the platform" ad. It's basically the same principle as the "
Please pass along the carriage" ad and the same sentiment of there not being an invisible wall which prevents people from moving down the platform or the carriage.

And no, the mime artists aren't recoiling in terror at the invasion of the touchy blue Oystercard posters (although you cannot move on the tube without seeing them).

Please pass along the platform - check out please pass along the car

The poster says it's dangerous. It is. If you're unsure about the danger, just imagine some manic commuters like me legging it for the train they know they're getting on, come hell or High Street Kensington. And they'll bash into you like an unstoppable force meeting an all too movable object. As they know you're likely to be a tourist or a bunch of tourists standing round there aimlessly wondering whether you're really going southbound or northbound, or why there isn't an Oxford Street station, or with all the Circuses, why there isn't a station called London Zoo.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, April 08, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Fish and Parcels and Sweets

Long journey home

Libran dilemma at Piccadilly Circus last night. Bakerloo to Waterloo then British Snail. Or the Dilly to Glamoursmith (Hammersmith) then District Line (Fish and Parcels Line) home. The normally helpful boards at the top of the escalators said a few delays on the District so I head to Bakerloo.

Why the fook the helpful boards didn't say that Waterloo station had been evacuated and that no trains were stopping there, Lord only knows.

So I got off at Embankment and took the District Line back to Richmond. It took the longest time ever. But was reading
Smoke and listening to my chillout toons so didn't really think at all about the stops between stops and the extra long stops at stops.

Did however notice a woman opposite me with a tweed coat and a matching tweed handbag nestling, cameleon like, in her lap, who ate an entire packet of Opal Fruits (sorry, Starburst or whatever they're called now) non stop, while staring into space.

I was once on the tube with my friend who did exactly the same with a packet of wine gums. I waited till she got to the end of the packet, which took under two minutes, and said "Thanks for the wine gum Shazzer" (I am Bridget Jones of the Tube I really do have a friend called Shazzer). She simply hadn't noticed that she "chain smoked" her confectionary too.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, April 06, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, April 05, 2004

I'm no Robert Doisneau

Snogging on the tube

Was out in Kew Gardens with a friend yesterday and he asked me what my take on
snogging on the tube was. "It doesn't really bother me", I replied "as I'm usually doing something else". (That's so not meant to sound like that - I meant I'm normally reading or something) But it reminded me that I had taken a picture over Xmas of a couple snogging on the platform at Angel tube station. I told him that it reminded me of the Robert Doisneau picture - of course I couldn't remember Doisneau's name at the time (let alone pronounce it), so I said "You know the French one, really famous black and white picture".

Anyway, I dug out the picture from the recesses of my digital camera's memory and of course it's nothing like Doisneau's but the sentiment remains similar I think, particularly with the apparent obliviousness of everyone around them.

Annie Mole's Kiss by Angel Tube Station

And how it should be done below:

The French looking far more sexy

; Posted by annie mole Monday, April 05, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, April 02, 2004

Top trainspotters joke

Smoke's out

The fantabulous London fanzine/magazine/peculiar (whatever),
Smoke, is finally out in some shops and aside from my mate Mecca's feature about Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere and its parallels to real life on the tube (cheers for the site check) - there's a massive London Transport theme in this issue. Haven't had a chance to read the whole thing, but buses feature very heavily (bus journeys, messages written on steamed up bus windows, disappearing buses, bus of the month - my God, Jag will be in heaven)

Under a "Why Some of London's Best Jokes Aren't Actually Funny" heading we have the following joke and the wonderfully literal explanation as to why it isn't funny, which could have almost been written by some of the people who comment in this blog (you know who you are).

'Excuse me driver, is this a Wapping train?'
'No, Madam, it's the same size as all the rest, otherwise it wouldn't fit through the tunnels.'

WHY IT ISN'T FUNNY (you need to adopt a purposefully nasal voice when saying this and get out a flash of tea)
"Because the tunnels on the East London Line are actually built to more generous proportions than most on the underground system, in order to accommodate full-size rolling stock."

By the way, don't take my word for Smoke's excellence. Diamond Geezer, who highlighted its existence to me in the first place, is still waxing lyrical about it.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, April 02, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Speaking of Italians (I was just a bit earlier)

Don't panic

Had lunch the other day, with my friend who runs
www.isthisyou.co.uk (the brill reuniting people back with their lost photos site), and he's just remembered that he forget to tell me the following story:

"Do you remember the big powercut last August?

When the lights went out I was travelling around the Circle line somewhere outside Sloane Square, with two Italian women I'd met on holiday. It was their first trip to London. And, probably, their last.

As the power failed and the driver explained patiently what was happening, the general attitude in the cariage was what you'd expect -- one of resigned boredom. A few gentle tuts. Newspapers being shuffled (the emergency lights were on). A few people tried their mobiles, realised there was nothing doing, and settled back into their Robert Ludlum novels.

Not my travelling companions though. The barrage of questions started immediately.

"What's happening?"
There's no power.

"How long will be be stuck for?"
I don't know.

"Ten minutes? An hour? Ten hours?"
I don't know. The driver will tell us when he knows.

"Does anyone know we're down here? Shall I call the police?"
Yes. No.

"Can we get out and walk?"

"Why not?"
Because if the power comes back on, you'll get killed.

"Can we talk to the driver?"
If you want to, but he's just said he doesn't know what's happening.

"Will someone come and rescue us"
Yes, if it comes to that.

The questions went on, and at rising levels of hysteria, for twenty tortuous minutes. When the power came back on at last, my companions wept. They hugged each other, hugged me, hugged the bemused Albanian lawyer opposite. They danced. They sang. They laughed hysterically. They videoed each other to record the moment of their escape from this subterranean nightmare. All to the bemusement of all the other passengers -- and to my increasing mortification, I'm sorry to say.

Longest twenty minutes of their lives? It was definitely the longest twenty minutes of mine. And they haven't been back to London since."

I love the fact that they had to video their survival. But their behaviour would have had me crawling up the walls with vicarious worry.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, April 02, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE

My Own Private Dungeon

Full Scream Ahead

Thereisnospoon asked me if I'd seen the new ads for the London Dungeon which compared their new ride to a journey on the tube. I hadn't until last night.

London Dungeon London Underground Ad

The text and drawing look as they were produced by Gerald Scarfe and I knew I'd be unable to get a clear shot, specially as I was surrounded by loud Italians calling me a photographer (yep my Italian's rubbish, but any fool could work out they'd spotted my less than candid snaps of the ad) so here's what it says:

"If you think that being squashed together buttock to buttock, armpit to nose, hurtling through putrid rat infested tunnels is bad, go back 300 years and get a trouser wetting, heart pumping feel of what it was really like to be punished as a traitor. We'll shove you on a boat ride to HELL. You'll be screaming to get back on The Tube."

Almost faultless copy. Top marks.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, April 02, 2004 Permalink COMMENT HERE