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Annie Mole's, daily web log (blog) & “guide” to the London Underground
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Monday, February 28, 2005

Brill New York Subway Photoblog

Why can't I take proper pictures?

Came across a fantastic
photoblog about the New York Subway today (thanks to a person called - Timelapse telling the photoblogger - Travis - about this site) and since watching Subway Stories last week, this blog shows that even though the film was made about eight years ago the New York subway still has just as many diverse characters and people commuting as we do. The thing I love about all the pictures here is the amazing quality and that they almost look as though they've been set up or staged.

Grumpy looking bloke at 23rd street

Big note to self - get some stronger batteries for your camera and get snapping on the Tube again.


; Posted by annie mole Monday, February 28, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Down at the Depot

I finally got off my arse yesterday, and went down to one of the few weekends of the year that the LT Museum open up their
Acton Depot, a treasure trove of all things from yester-year kept, recovered and restored from disused bits of the Underground.

Some of it is a bit anoraky, but a lot of it is quite interesting - nothing impressed me more than the rows and rows of old signs from stations that don't exist anymore, old tube maps, and nameplates of places (such as Ongar and Aldwych here!) that you can no longer travel to.

It's only open three weekends of the year at the moment - the next being June 4th/5th 2005, although my contact tells me that the LU museum in Covent Garden is going to be closed for up to 18 months at somepoint soon whilst it's refurbished, and during this time the Acton depot (Nearest tube: Acton Town) is probably going to be open on a more permament basis.

; Posted by Anonymous Monday, February 28, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Tube Challenge 8

Travelling around ALL tube stations in the SNOW

Our very own Neil and Geoff did another tubechallenge on Thursday last week and braved the freezing weather, snow and attendant delays caused by the rubbish weather and general Tube rubbishness - read all about it on
Geoff's blog

And if anyone fancies the mini tube challenge - just on Zone 1 it's on the 20th May.

; Posted by annie mole Sunday, February 27, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Saturday, February 26, 2005

A New Tube Vending Machine

Umbrella Dispensers

NickC on the main site's message board:

Umbrella vending machines coming to the London Underground"Recently on BBC2's "Dragons Den" (reality business pitch programme) a man went in and tried to sell the idea of umbrella dispensers and asked for investment, anyways he got over �50,000 to set up a company (Technography) which already has the rights to place umbrella dispensing machines in underground stations..

The machines have TV screens in which can give advertising and I think that the umbrellas cost around �2.. What is your opinion on these?

It's great in case you come off a fairly long journey to realise that it has started to rain..

Initially, I thought this was a really shite idea. If you're travelling mostly underground how are you going to know if it's raining? Oh yeah, I know, I know - see wet people getting on the Tube or people with wet umbrellas. Then as with most ideas that I think are initially mad, it grew on me, specially when I did a bit more investigation and found out the following from Umbrolly's website:

"The company will sell its umbrellas for �2 (bargain), compared with the �8-�15 that commuters are used to paying when suddenly confronted with a downpour.

In trials at Fulham and Hammersmith tube stations this year, Technography sold an average of 200 umbrellas a month.

The UK umbrella market is worth more than �87m a year and is benefiting from an increasing number of rainy days.

There were 194 wet days in the UK in 2003, up from 176 in 2000

Add to this that umbrellas are still in the Top 10 items most commonly lost on London Transport and I think Charles Ejogo is onto a winner.

Any other ideas for dispensing machines on the Tube? Apparently books were trialled at some stage but never really took off. Praph's if we get some good ideas we could form a co-operative and go up for the next stage of Dragon's Den.

; Posted by annie mole Saturday, February 26, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Sounds of the Underground

Another university project

A request for some help on another
Tube art installation. I remember last year a student from another university got in touch about some help for a "sounds of the Underground" project and we have a similar request. I've snipped quite a lot Andrew's email but if you're interested in helping out I'm sure he'll be happy to provide you with more of the examples he's looking for:

"I was wondering if you and the readers of your �blog� might be able to help me.

The project is concerned with constructing a sound �map� of the London Underground. This will involve capturing sounds that help to mediate the experience of travelling by tube both for visitors to London and regular commuters. It is proposed that these will eventually be used to capture the atmosphere of tube travel beyond the traditional visual representations.

Given that I do not live in London at present (I�m from Northern Ireland) and the sheer scale of the Underground network I feel that the visitors and users of your site are best placed to help me research this project. I am particularly keen to learn of their experiences of Underground travel, particularly in the context of the sounds that proliferate those experiences.

What I am keen to establish are the type of sounds people notice whilst travelling on the London Underground. For example, are there any station announcers at a particular station whose voice sounds somewhat unusual, perhaps pleasant or irritating? Are there particular lines where the famous �Mind the Gap� announcements on board trains are worded differently or presented with a different voice? What of the buskers in stations and on board trains, both legal and illegal? .......

I would be delighted if as many visitors to your site could contact me through the comments with as much information as they are able to provide. I would encourage you to provide whatever detail you can, however irrelevant you feel it to be. This project is about unlocking our ears to the sounds of our everyday environment and that is about identifying those sounds that are both individual and often unheard

It would be great if Andrew (as promised) could keep us informed of this project's fruition and let us know when the final installation takes place. I'd suggest you make a lot of visits to London yourself really though Andrew as it's a very ambitious thing you're trying to do particularly as you don't even live in London. But, anyway, best of luck.

; Posted by annie mole Saturday, February 26, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Who wants to stay up late? I do

Would you change the Tube's timings over the weekend?

As you may have heard in the news there's currently a proposal to make keep the tube open an hour longer over the weekends, but as usual there's a catch as it would mean that the ones in the morning would also start later. Generally first trains would arrive at central London stations at around 7am on Saturdays and 8:30am on Sundays; last trains would depart from the West End on Friday and Saturday nights at around 1:30am.

Transport for London have a
questionnaire that you can fill in to make your views heard. You can also get the results of the consultation sent to you.

I've no idea how many people's opinions will be taken into account, but it's interesting that at least TfL have made an attempt to listen to what the public say rather than be guided by purse strings.

As you may guess with the amount of times that I've moaned about having to leave pubs and parties early just to make the last train back to Richmond, I am for the proposals. To be honest I hadn't really thought about the effect this is going to have on people who have to get into town early at the weekends - although there was a bit of a debate about this going on over at The Londonist. Happy drunk people or annoyed morning commuters?

Why can't we have our cake and eat it too? Tfl's FAQ's sort of try to explain this by answering a "question" about why this couldn't happen every day and not just the weekend:

"If we are to reduce to a minimum the number of weekend closures, we need to make the most of the night-time close-down. So any extension to the operating hours of the tube at night needs to be balanced by an equivalent reduction in operating hours the next morning.

The number of people benefiting from a later shutdown on Sunday to Thursday nights would be outweighed by the number adversely affected by a correspondingly later start on Monday to Friday mornings. By the same token, extending the tube further into the night on Friday and Saturday would create problems on Saturday and Sunday mornings."

Anyone else have any views on all this?

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, February 24, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Bollox to all this.........

I'm off to Scarborough

It's simply too warm in London at the moment so I'm off for a long weekend to a Northern seaside town where I am sure the temperatures will be much milder, it won't be snowing, I'll be able to go for bracing swims in the North Sea and my only transport worries will be donkey rides and deciding whether or not it's too mild to sit in the open top buses that go up and down the sea-front.

Blog will be left in the capable hands of
Neil n Geoff.

Have fun!

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, February 24, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Enough to freeze the b's off you

It's cold.....Brrrr.... or not

Anyone from overseas reading any UK blogs - particularly London blogs will be amazed at how many posts there have been about the unseasonably cold weather. Well, this is the first of this blog. Just in case you hadn't realised it's been snowing in England for the last couple of days and we're all pissed off about it. Why couldn't it snow at Xmas? It's March next week. Anyway it's so cold it's been enough the freeze the B's off this sign that Steve Everett took at King's Cross

Or perhaps Brixton isn't called Brixton anymore.

Nippy isn't it?

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, February 22, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, February 21, 2005

Underground: A to Z

You have to see this. It's brilliant.

I'll say that again for anyone that missed it the first time: you have to go and see/hear this, as it's brilliant.

Two guys under the name of 'Project Adorno' visited 26 stations on the London Underground from A-Z in a weekend, in the process writing a song or poem inspired by each location.

Ultimately, they created an alternative cultural guide to underground London, and eventually became an Edinburgh Festival Fringe Show.

I've just spent a very entertaining half an hour reading it all. Like I say, go and have a look at it now!

; Posted by Anonymous Monday, February 21, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Did anyone see Subway Stories - Tales from the Underground?

The New York Tube Tales

I don't know why some really good films get put on in the small hours of the morning, but last night at 1.40am - ITV1 (well the Carlton region) decided to show the American forerunner of Tube Tales. Ten short films based on true stories from the New York subway. HBO asked people to come up with these stories and thousands of people got back. Time Out magazine did the same with the Tube. Like Tube Tales each of the short films in Subway Stories Tales from the Underground had a different director (including Jonathan Demme) and a great cast including Gregory Hines, Anne Hecht, Rosie Perez, Dennis Leary and Christine Lahti.

It was nice to see that the subway in New York has similar stories and predicaments that we have. Overcrowding with a guy comically trying to force himself into an full carriage and "luckily" finding an empty carriage - there's no good reason why a carriage would be empty and he soon finds out why.

Some "love" on the subway, with a couple of strangers getting intimate around the pole in the middle of the carriage. Tramps and beggars with their scams (or not), if a scam is outed, but then the honesty of the person who outed is brought into question, what happens next?

A woman getting stuck "Creep" style on a subway with a pretty similar ending to Creep.

The helplessness of someone, watching a potential suicide or "one under" from the other side of the track.

A young girl getting her own back on some tube drunks.

Whether or not you should listen to the advice of someone you see in the subway every day, specially when you can see their "fortune telling" coming true.

Catch it if it comes out at some more socialable hour - although admittedly I taped it last night and watched it this afternoon.

; Posted by annie mole Sunday, February 20, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, February 18, 2005

The busiest station on the tube : Empty

Check out this picture. I took it yesterday, at about lunchtime somewhere on the tube. You might think "Well that looks like some deserted tunnel to the Northern Line probably at some quiet out-of-the-way station". Wrong! This was taken at King's Cross where just a few seconds walk around the corner, hundreds of people were milling past.

In my continuing quest to discover the quickest way to change between lines at stations, I found myself at King's Cross yesterday, checking out the whole station and found this marvellously 'secret' and un-signed passageway that connects the Northern Line to the Piccadilly Lines. I took this picture, and stood there for another good 5 minutes, and no-one walked past!

Try it yourself next time you're there ... at one end, it's at the front of the nortbound platform on the northern line, and just a few seconds walk later it comes out in the corridors between both the north and southbound for the Piccadilly line, and you'll save time mainly because you avoid the rest of the hordes of people going through the proper 'signed' way and all cramming onto the escalators.

Ok, so I jut thought I'd mention it. Cue: Comments from people that say that they do this everyday, I guess .. but I still liked it.

Next week: Part 2, where I reveal the secret spiral staircase at Earl's Court which takes you down from the District to the Piccadilly Lines in the shortest time possible.

; Posted by Anonymous Friday, February 18, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Olympic Training (part three)

Olympic Sholympic

You can't fail to open a paper or listen or watch news at the moment without knowing that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) are in town right now checking out London's chances of getting the Olympic bid. Today was their
first visit on the Tube where they had a trip to the Millennium Dome on the Jubilee Line. This obviously isn't going to give them a typical day out on the Tube as the JLE is actually quite nice, clean and reasonably efficient. (Sheriff Ken "I'm not anti semetic" Livingstone has said: "My nightmare scenario is that we all get on a Tube and it breaks down.")

Top cartoon from today's MetroInteresting that when they travel to Wembley and Wimbledon they'll be going by coach - What's wrong with the District Line????? And the wonderful Metropolitan Line? Or perhaps these will just add to their original views that our transport system was "often obsolete". Anyway, if we do get the bid we've been promised all sorts of wonders to the transport system so athletes can spend time "competing not commuting". Lord Coe is slightly deranged if he thinks athletes would rely on any form of public transport to get to an event - unless they gave themselves at least an hour longer than need be.

Some of the promised transport improvements include:

�1billion spent on the East London Line
Longer Jubilee Line Trains
Northern Line upgrades
Tubes running until 2.30am every day of the Olympics
Connecting services allowing visitors to reach the Olympic Park (in Stratford) from 309 stations

I'm not holding my breath.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, February 17, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Isn't it romantic

Station is most romantic place

At the risk of sounding like a Daily Mail reader - the British public never cease to amaze me. Well people who answer questionnaires never cease to amaze me. According to The Smoochie Awards carried out by udate the most Romantic Location in the UK is........................

Under the Clock at Waterloo Station

Waterloo Station Clock most romantic location in the UKPurrrrlease, seriously have people no imagination. I know that under the clock at Waterloo station is a popular meeting place. I've met many people there, but it's hardly romantic. Or maybe people like the romance of hearing loads and loads of delayed train announcements. Or they love the smell of Millie's Cookies, or the Burger King nearby. Or they like dodging the tramps clutching their cans of Special Brew wandering aimlessly around the station.

Anyway, Smoochie heart-throbs Tina O'Brien (Sarah Louise from Corrie) and Darius (annoying Pop Idol bloke) picked up their awards under the clock and handed the "location" award to Waterloo station staff.

To check out the other romantic honours
click here. so guys if you want a cheap date tell your lady friends that you're taking them to the most romantic location in the UK and "imagine their surprise" when you say meet me at Waterloo station - they'll think they're off on a romantic jaunt to Paris on the Eurostar, but you'll know different.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, February 15, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Stair Free Tube Map

Best stops for people with luggage

I think there is a stair free map knocking around somewhere on the net but I was thinking about this as I received the following email from Matt Seelig:

"Not sure if this is one of your pet peeves or not, but I did have a question...I'm planning to visit a friend in Milton Keynes this summer and was planning to fly to Heathrow, take the Heathrow Express to Paddington, and then the Tube to Euston for a train north. However, if memory serves, the Tube station at Paddington isn't exactly conducive to carrying around a week's worth of luggage, and I'm not even sure about Euston Square. Is there a routing you're aware of that might involve less stairs? Perhaps even backtracking on a local rail service from Paddington to another Tube stop?"

Not really something I know but I'm sure someone can help. Anyone?

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, February 15, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, February 14, 2005

London Underground Song Lyrics

Just in case anyone wanted to sing along to the
lyrics of the London Underground Song - Many thanks to one of the writers Adam Kay who was happy for me to do this. 

BTW speaking of offence - the website that hosted the brilliant flash video which goes along with the song has been taken down due to a complaint - I'm sure it more of a political complaint over the use of "backing blair" in the URL rather than anything to do with the London Underground themselves.

; Posted by annie mole Monday, February 14, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Who'd make a film about underground ticket inspectors?

Another underground movie

Well after
Creep Ralf - The Cartoonist led me to another fairly weird film from Budapest set on the underground - this time it's not the London Underground though.

Here's a quick summary. Kontroll is about a strange young man, Bulcs�, his mates and a rival group of ticket inspectors on an underground system somewhere in the world. Bulcs� began, but immediately abandoned, a promising career and is now looking for himself in another environment where rules are simple and clear: if you want to go for a ride you have to buy a ticket. The inspectors do their job, inspect tickets.

This sci-fi film looks at the dramatic and sometimes comic relationship between travellers and inspectors.

There's also a strange character who appears from time to time and whose favourite pastime is to annoy the inspectors so after some excitement they can chase him along corridors, platforms, escalators and down tunnels. The lead also falls in love with a train driver's daughter who enjoys riding the underground day in day out.

The trailer looks interesting, the film won quite a few awards, and the BBC website said:

"Going Underground has never been as vivid and intriguing as it is in Kontroll, a Hungarian black comedy cum killer thriller set in the Budapest subway system. Its anti-hero is Bulsc� (S�ndor Cs�nyi), one of a group of oddball ticket inspectors who've got more than fare dodgers to worry about: there's a hooded nutter in their midst shoving passengers onto the tracks. Smoothly switching gears between the surreal and the everyday, this is as unpredictable as the Northern Line but offers a much more memorable ride.."

I'll see if I can get hold of the DVD - which fortunately has English subtitles as my Hungarian's a bit ropey. Shame I missed it when it was on at the ICA last October - D'OH.

; Posted by annie mole Sunday, February 13, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Saturday, February 12, 2005

London Bridge is falling down...

It's every expert Tube Challengers dream to know the complete tube system like the back of his or her hand without having to refer to notes and maps all the time, which is what I'm slowly starting to do and why I spent half an hour on way home familiarising myself with the wierd layout of London Bridge station yesterday evening. The quickest way to change between the Northern Line and the the Jubilee lines by the way is not the way that LU want you to go by following the signs!

Anyway, it meant that I also got to witness a 20 minute period of delay where there were no northbound trains on the Northern, due to a failed train that had started at Kennington, and had had problems closing its doors at Elephant and at Borough.

Cue: A platform heaving full of disgruntled people trying to get back to fashionable north London on a Friday night, and lots of bored looking travellers with huge suitcases wondering why our tube system can sometimes be so crap.

So hats off to the SA (couldn't see his name badge, but was a dead ringer for Crystal Palace striker Andy Johnson), who kept everyone calm, and when he finally announced that the next stopping train was at Borough and would be here in two minutes, a suited businessman shouted "Hurrah!" quite loudly, the whole platform chuckled, and the SA commented that "It was nice to see that some people still had a sense of humour". Oh bless.

So I watched that train go through, then the next one, and then the next one by which time the platform was quite clear, and Andy Johnson started eyeing me suspiciously wondering why I hadn't got on a train yet, and so I scurried over to the southbound platform and went home ...

; Posted by Anonymous Saturday, February 12, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, February 11, 2005

Well it is Friday (part two)

Playing chicken with a train

It's not a tube train, and it's obviously really, really, really not to be advised but Friday's one of those days when you get sent emails where you go...."ouch"

Well this is one of them -
playing chicken with a train.

BTW (again) - don't enter the webaddress that's at the bottom of this movie into your address browser, as it's also full of porn (Neil - you have been warned again).

; Posted by annie mole Friday, February 11, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Oystercard (Even More)

Well it is Friday

Seeing as everyone's in an oystercard frenzy it's a shame that the 101 things to do with your Oystercard website never got beyond 8 things to do.

Brilliant that they managed to bag www.oystercard.co.uk before TFL. And the ideas hark back tot he days when you were supposed to be able to use your Oystercard by whacking your handbag or wallet on the reader, rather than having to slam it on the reader as you have to now.

BTW - DON'T click on the-london-tube.org.uk in this oystercard's site links as it's just full of porn.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, February 11, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Oystercard (More)

I got an email from Quin Parker (from
Guide to Zone 6) asking ME Oystercard questions too... but I don't have one (I live outside of Zone 6), so thought I would post it here.

He writes:

"I have a Zones 2-4 Oyster card, and travelled from East Putney to Swiss Cottage via Earls Court and Baker Street for a conference. Thinking it would charge me on PrePay for going through Zone 1, I decided to top it up, but when I got to Swiss Cottage, I was amazed to find it didn't. It was free. Gratis!"

"I've racked my brains about this, and I think that the Oyster system must have assumed that rather than taking the District line to Edgware Road, transferring for one stop to Baker Street, and then the Jubilee to Swiss Cottage (the normal person's way) it must have decided that instead I got off at West Brompton, took a Silverlink train to Willesden Junction, then took another Silverlink train to West Hampstead, walked about 300yds to the Jubilee line station, and took the tube south to Swiss Cottage. This way is obviously retarded, but doesn't involve going through Zone 1."

"So I think that there must be some code in the Oyster system that decides to be as kind as possible to you when pricing your journey on Pre Pay; even if that journey is utterly stupid. Is this something you've had experience of?"

; Posted by Anonymous Friday, February 11, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Oystercard Capping

A reason for the Oystercard not to be shoved up your a**ehole?????

I'm afraid I know close to nothing about Oystercards as I don't have one, but I've not heard wonderful things about them and after
Anthony Smith's rant yesterday in the comments the non prepay ones don't sound like the greatest things since sliced bread.

But Jon Allen today gave me news that will apparently please people: "who complained about the Oystercard being a rip off if you use pre-pay more than a couple of times in one day".

From the BBC's site we learn that "From 27 February capping on pre-pay cards will be introduced allowing passengers to pay the lowest daily fare once every journey has been assessed. The cap will apply at the appropriate one-day Travelcard or Bus Pass rate.

The London Transport Users' Committee (LTUC) has urged for capping to be introduced for a long time

Nothing on the LU website at the moment. So read more on the Beeb's.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, February 10, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Who would live in a lift like this?

Celebs earn extra cash on the Tube

I'm sure anyone who's got into the lift at Covent Garden Tube station has heard some familiar very, very rounded vowels telling people "turn left four Neeeeel Street and roight for the Piazza and of course one of my very favourite mooooseums, The London Transport Mooooseum". Moind the GapProbably cos I was travelling at the tail end of the rush hour last night, the lift wasn't full of tourists but people who were laughing about Loyd Grossman (for it was his voice, extolling the virtues of the London Transport Museum) and people were loudly wondering how much he got paid for doing that voice over.

I had thought that he was the only celebrity that does automated announcements on the Tube or has anyone heard any others? One of my colleagues thinks she's heard Joanna Lumley (ages ago) and John Cleese on the Jubilee Line.

I do remember that LU did some experiments once to try to see what type of voice was best for announcements, and bizarrely a breathy sounding Marilyn Monroe voice
scored really highly. Perhaps Emma Clarke will be out of a job soon.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, February 09, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Another hidden corridoor

Can anyone help?

Last Thursday we all loads of hidden passages and rooms attached to the Tube in the horror film Creep. But there are loads of real hidden passages and closed down stations that really exist on the Tube.

Tim Moore read Geoff's entry about
a hidden passage at Notting Hill Gate and wondered if we could help with the following:

"When changing to the Piccadilly line from the Jubilee/Victoria (after that long long walk) at Green Park you go over the Westbound line before descending the stairs.

At that twist/turn, the passageway is blocked off by a grille. On two occasions, I've walked past and the lights are on in the passage (much like sometimes the maintenance lights are on in the train tunnels themselves). Despite this, I still can't see the end of the passage. It's at least 20 yards long if not longer. For a while I thought it would lead to another platform, maybe going to Aldwych.

But of course, the old tube maps say that branch line started at Holborn (where you can see the links to the old platforms). So what's down there?

Maybe your readers could satisfy my curiosity.

Can anyone????

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, February 09, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

New Victoria Line trains now being built!

Just seen on the TV news, and then looked it up
here on the BBC news website, that the first of the new batch of Victoria line trains are now being built.

Two trains should be in service (says the website) by 2009, but the TV news report I watched just now said 'by 2007' ! So take your pick.

Interestingly, I got wind from a friend yesterday that there appears to be a new campaign coming up to 'promote' the Vic line as the PR agency were looking for people's suggestions to straplines that could be used. Whether this is for the current system, or whether they're doing all their work 4 years in advance of the new trains being rolled out I'm not sure, but amongst my friends we managed to come up with the following gems:

There's a fine line between E17 and SW9
Your only way to hook up with Seven Sisters
Your fast track to the West End
Two Parks, a Circus and Seven Sisters. What else could you want?
The Queen, Kings Cross, a stones throw from Walthamstow.
Tottenham Hale, Oxford Street sale...
The thin blue line: Keeping you on the straight and narrow

And my favourite ('cause it's disparaging)

The Victoria Line : We are not amused

Any other offerings?

; Posted by Anonymous Tuesday, February 08, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Harry Beck's Map - updated for 21st century

It's about time we had another picture on this blog

Closed tube map

I spose it says it all really - found on the excellent man who fell asleep website by Jon Allen. More wacky tube maps on Geoff's website and my main Going Underground tube map page.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, February 08, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

In the Indie

We were in the Independent

I suppose I should have said this yesterday, but I only found out today (cheers
Liz), that we were among the Top 12 blogs in the Indie newspaper. (Note to self - look at blog stats more often).

As it means we're rubbing shoulders with Boris Johnson's blog, and the wonderful Boing Boing, I'm pretty chuffed.

Here's what they said:

"Written by: "Annie Mole", Tube lore expert

Completely unofficial, and so not quite the inside scoop you might wish for (as it's written by people who use the Tube, rather than any of its staff). But plenty of promise as it grows in popularity. "Things I'd like to see on the Tube: a penalty ticket inspector who isn't a sadist; a Photo-Me booth you can fit more than a mouse into; a District Line train that doesn't stop between every stop." Also full of "Tube rules" (how to sit, how to dress, how to ignore the weirdo in the carriage). Sprawling (so you'll need to wait for the page to load) and enjoyable, and written by someone who - gasp - is not afraid to ring up, say, the people who devised an advertising campaign based around the Underground and ask them why."

Check out the other 11 blogs here. And many thanks to the teccy journalist Charles Arthur for selecting us.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, February 08, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Interesting tube map project

Ambitious but useful

Dominic Sayers got in touch with me a few days ago with the idea for a collaborative tube resource inspired by Astrid Kirchner's art project
Living In A Tube Map which we blogged in December.

Basically he wants to try to bring together a user edited resource linked to a clickable tube map so you could find out a whole range of netty things based on or around a particular tube station.

He said: "It's a bit difficult to explain without HTML so I posted a bit more
detail here and I have made a rough start here

So each station would have piccies of or around the station, a webcam, streetmap link, bloggers who live nearby, search engine links to the station, the list could go on and on and include wikipedia entries, official TFL or tubeplanner.com info about the station etc etc. Personally I think it's a great idea (but very ambitious) and if anyone has any thoughts or would like to help out with the project please leave comments below or email Dominic directly.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, February 08, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Pissed on / Pissed off

I was gutted... sooo gutted & pissed off that I did not have my camera with me (for once) when going home last night to take a photo of what I'm about to describe.

I went via Richmond, which I don't normally do and was changing from the tube to the train there. As I got off, I noticed a tramp on the platform that started harrassing a suited city gent type for money.

It was quite a hardcore down-and-out sort of guy, he had a long tangled messy beard, his clothes were all just filthy, he was carrying what once used to be a white duvet over his shoulder, and he smelt quite disgusting as I walked past even at quite a distance so as to avoid him.

Oh, and he was drunk and was clutching the almost obligatory can of super-tennants in one hand.

I walked past, ignored him, forgot about it, but was still up in the concourse area (checking out train times) a few minutes later when I heard a commotion back down on the District platforms.

The drunk/tramp in question was now merrily taking a piss, standing on the edge of platform and weeing merrily down onto the tracks.

My first thought was "He'd better be a good aim, or he's gonna get 400V shooting up through a senstive part of his body", my second thought was "That's going to annoy the driver of this train coming in now, isn't it?"

And indeed ... a train was attempting to pull into the platfrom where the chap was having his leak. So the driver edged the train up really slowly to where the guy was, leaned out of his window, and offered some suggestful advice that the guy might like to cease from peeing on the track, or he'd have him removed from the station.

But the tramp had other ideas, and so stuck two fingers up at the driver who had to sit and wait a few more seconds until he'd finished his business and went back and collapsed on the bench on the platform.

The driver brought the train in, and I watched him as he spoke to the station supervisor to go about getting security down to turf the guy out of the station. Whilst he's doing this, I notice the tramp pick up his grubby belongings and stagger onto the now empty train that the driver's just brought in.

The driver comes walking back throgh the concourse towards his train. "Er.. you might like to know he just got on the third carriage down mate", I say to him

"He's not staying on my bloody train!" he replied and walks down to the carriage in question to go and find him.

It takes a moment for the security people to wander down too, and I'm just pointing them in the right direction of where to go as they get to me when we all hear "Fight! fight! fight!" - and we all turn and look at a bunch of guys (passengers) on the platform, pointing and waving at the third carriage down.

We all run down, and catch the tail end of what I suspect was the drunk taking a swing at the driver, and in a blur, the security guys storm the train, ping the drunk down and drag him off the train as he's yelling and screaming at them. The driver chips in with a few more verbal suggestions of his own, dusts himself down and walks back to the front and gets in the cab.

"This would never happen back home!" offers up one of the three who'd seen it - a bunch of New Zealand guys, who I then got chatting to and who seemed quite amused by the whole episode.

"That's because you don't have super tennants" I said, and with the smell still lingering in the air of tramp who was now being carried through the barriers by the two brave security guys of Richmond station, I scurried off to catch my train home.

Who'd want to be a driver eh?

Cartoon by Ralf Zeigermann from One Stop Shrot of Barking

; Posted by Anonymous Saturday, February 05, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, February 04, 2005

'cause I'm (still) a creep

So we had mini 'bloggers' meetup and film night last night then as in our official capacity, as "tubies" (or something) we checked out new 'horror' film Creep that is in the cinemas at the moment, which we couldn't really not go and see - considering that most of it is based on the tube and filmed in places like Aldwych and the old Jubilee line platforms at Charing Cross.

So is it any good?

Well... to be honest it was "ok". I've seen a lot better films - but I've also seen ones which were a lot worse as well, but I could have course just been enjoying it from the anorak value of trying to work if it really was Down Street where some of the filming happened (it wasn't).

No suprises for guessing quite early on that the young, attractive and blond main character in the film ends up surviving the adventure (just), whilst lots of other people get killed in rather gruesome ways along the way...

There were too many holes to pick about technical inaccuracies, or things that were just physically wrong, but that would just be petty, and you should accept the film for the entertainment it offers - even if the most scary moment (for me) was when the dog first appears! Right, I'll shush now and not spoil the plot anymore.

Afterwards thought, I went home via the Jubilee and changed at a rather empty platform at Bond Steet, and stood up on end with no-one else about and it was a bit spooky!

Just don't fall asleep on a platform though whilst waiting for the last train home after a big night out tonight, you never know what may be lurking in the tunnels...


My PC has finally been fixed so I can start blogging from home again, but just wanted to say a quick thanks to all the bloggers who came along to see Creep last night - You may want to read their reviews of Creep which are in brackets -
Pixeldiva, Helene - Stroppycow (Helene's Creep Review) Tom from Random Reality, Adrian from Chaotique (Adrian's Creep review), Charles from Purely for Self Amusement Purposes (Chz's Creep Review) and of course Geoff n Neil (Neil's review - She should have waited for a taxi).

Coincidentally Diamond Geezer also went to see Creep last night and has his own review here.

; Posted by Anonymous Friday, February 04, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, February 03, 2005

London Underground Song - 1,000 downloads a day

More London Underground Song News

I will stop blogging about this eventually, but the spoof Tube song based on The Jam's classic Going Underground is just so brilliant, I find myself singing every day on the Drain. Anyway, the latest news (kindly brought to me by Marc Mentzer in Saskatchewan, Canada - why does it take someone from Canada to point you to your local newspaper?) is that yesterday
The Evening Standard have finally picked up on the song and spoke to one of the writers - Dr Adam Kay.

"More than 50,000 copies of the doctors' version, protesting against strikes and delays, have been downloaded from their website and they are getting around 1,000 emails a day asking for a copy."

This figure obviously doesn't include the thousands copies that were flying around the net days (including Geoff's copy here - blogged on the 11th January) before we discovered who actually wrote it. Plus the many downloads of the flash movie of the song which we blogged on 31st January.

Adam continues: "Having lived in London all my 24 years you get used to the Tube service,

"Once in a while you are three hours late after what should have been a 20-minute journey. It has struck a chord with people. They also like the swear words, they seem to get people going."

After exposure in The Standard it's just going to get bigger and bigger. Nice work guys.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, February 03, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Dust Masks on the Tube

Dust anyone? No... Dust? Dust?

This is going to disappoint
Marjorie Dawes and the Fat Fighters Club from Little Britain who loves dust because it is low in calories, but this entry is about the nastier side of dust and how to avoid it on the tube.

People who read the comments would have noticed commenting regular Anthony Smith with his one man campaign to promote the wearing of dust masks on the Tube. Recently he asked me why we never blogged it and although I think I have blogged about dust levels on the Tube in the past, I said, I'd never seen anyone wearing a dust mask on the Tube, but if he would like to send in a picture of himself wearing one, that I would blog it.

Anthony in dusk mask on the Piccadilly LineSooooooo, no sooner said than done, we have the brill picture of Anthony resplendant in 3M dust mask reading a copy of Tuesday's Metro which featured a picture of a woman wearing a dust mask.

I'm sure people will now prove me wrong by saying they have seen loads of people wearing dust masks on the Tube. I'm not sure seeing a Japanese person in a mask counts, because don't they wear masks if they have colds to prevent themselves spreading germs? correct me on this, I'm not a doctor or an expert in Japanese culture.

Anyway, Anthony also went a step further and supplied a picture of a new mask next to one which has several days/hours/minutes????? use on the Tube.

Not in the news that recently, but I do remember reading something about travelling on the Tube being the equivalent of smoking 10 fags a day (or some such figure) and in the past people have sent me delightful emails describing the contents of their handkerchiefs after they've blown their nose after a morning's commute.

Anthony has now produced a webpage with some more information on the masks which he'll be updating over the weeks to come.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, February 03, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

A request.....Any tube sounds for an art installation?

Does anyone have any underground noises?

I had a request from an artist in Chicago whose oil painting of a tube map has been selected to as an entrant in a Winter Art Festival in Chicago, and the picture wil be displayed in their gallery on 11 - 13th February.

Used with the permission of the artist Alan NazerianHe wondered if I knew of anywhere where he could get some background sounds of the Tube, to use as background "music" to add to the effect of his installation (more pictures here).

"Sounds of the roaring trains, their brakes, the crowd on the platform and in the trains, various buskers, dogs, and especially the lady's voice saying things like, 'please stand clear of the doors,' or 'this is a Bakerloo Line train to Elephant & Castle,' and all the other wonderful things she says. Even that man who shouts out so loud over and over about the Gap, why not."

I directed him to the two usual suspects that I know although the former are just official pre-recorded announcements and the latter toward the bottom of the page has some more "in situ" announcements with accompanying Tube train noises. I even sent him a recording of some Tube buskers singing Going Underground (not the spoof one).

If anyone knows of any other places that have Tube sounds Alan Nazerian would love to hear or even if you fancy going out and recording some for him, you know that people in an art gallery in Chicago may well be listening to them. His contact details are at the bottom of his webpage.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, February 02, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Escalator Etiquette

Escalator Blues

From a 1920's LT ad campaign & featured in One Stop Short of BarkingYesterday when I was coming up on the escalator at Waterloo, I remembered that another thing that makes tourists stand out a mile is how they stand on escalators. Not just the annoying way they will stand two abreast or stand on the right even when there are loads and loads of signs saying "stand to the left" (Freudian Slip right). But it's when they stand right behind you. Everyone knows that you're supposed to leave a step in between you and the person in front of you. Or maybe this has happened because they've been doing the annoying two abreast thing and then someone has made them realsie the error of their ways and they've moved into titcy one step space remaining.

Also on the subject of escalators Rob from the Londonist reminded me today that there's a cool song by a band called Florida about finding love on an escalator. The song is a duet between a bloke who pines for a woman who passes him on an escalator and a hypothetical version of the girl in question. You can download it here.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, February 01, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE