Welcome to the fun, "irreverent & informative", award-winning London Underground - Tube Blog.
Click here for other London Underground guidance. Contact me here

Going Underground's Blog
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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
on the London Underground.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

First Xmas "Joke" of the Year

Guns, innocent people being shot, police, rucksacks and Santa

Nick Miners just sent me the following which will no doubt be doing the rounds as quickly as the
spoof London Underground notice about how running on the tube with a a rucksack and looking a bit foreign isn't good for your safety.

Xmas Cancelled

Police Commissioner calls for public debate over shoot to kill policy

Although according to the BBC Iain Blair "was not sure what form the debate could take, because specific details about Operation Kratos - the policy which governs the use of firearms against suspects - could not be made public without threatening the police's effectiveness."

On the 29th September Jean Charles de Menezes family were shown the CCTV footage of their son before he was shot at in a London Underground carriage at Stockwell Tube station. They have not been allowed to talk about the footage, but their solicitor said "We have many more questions to ask.

"This was the first of a series of meetings. We were shown the only available CCTV from Stockwell Tube.

"It was very distressing to see how completely relaxed and normal Jean Charles appeared, particularly in the light of statements made immediately after his death."

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, September 29, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Time Out Underground London special this week

Great Tube pictures and subterranean tales

Many of you have probably seen these eyecatching posters for Time Out which went up on the London Underground earlier this week

Time Out Cover - Underground Special

Well if you buy this week's you won't be disappointed. There's some cool archived pictures of people sleeping on the underground in the 2nd World War and a picture of The Hole in the Wall station platform pub that I'd blogged about a month ago

Hole In the Wall Platform Pub in Time Out

Nice to see that themanwhofellasleep has a regular section now with his supposedly "overheard conversations on the tube" specially as I've been plugging him on my main site for years now.

Plus a very interesting article by Nicholas Royle about why we are drawn to the underground things including the tube. "the subterranean world is attractive because it is hidden. Eternally shut off from the light of day, it has the allure of mystery. The underworld - tube spaghetti, brick sewers, caverns, bunkers, and catacombs (all featured in detail in other parts of the magazine) - is an almost infinite labyrinth, like the mind. Going underground offers us an unrivalled opportunity to confront ourselves. Whose, after all, is the only face we may rightfully stare at while travelling through a tunnel underground? Our own, reflecting in the window across the carriage"

Time Out is out today in Greater London or can be downloaded online here £ 2.35 for the download of a single issue which is actually cheaper than the cover price of £ 2.50. (Download for PC's only)

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, September 29, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Waterloo and City Line to close for five months

Oh Great

Coming home on the Waterloo and City line this evening I took this picture as from next April I certainly wouldn't be seeing this scene for some time.

Waterloo & City Line train approaching

Yesterday we received the brilliant news that the Waterloo & City Line will be closed next year for five months. The Drain will be closed :"from 1 April 2006 for much-needed engineering improvements that will deliver increased reliability of services, an increase in capacity and improved journey times.....The Waterloo & City line is 107 years old and urgently needs upgrading."

Great, although this will add at least fifteen minutes to my journey into work as I'll have to change at Waterloo on the Jubilee Line, then go four stops to Canada Water, from there I will travel a further three stops on the East London Line to Shadwell. This is all instead of the Waterloo - one stop on the Waterloo and City Line to Bank and then one stop on the DLR to Shadwell. So that's seven stops plus long interchanges instead of two stops plus slightly less lenghty interchanges.

Accoding to the press release: "During the five-month closure, passengers travelling from Waterloo to Bank will be advised to take the Bakerloo or Northern lines to Embankment station, and then the District or Circle line to Monument station.

Detailed travel advice for passengers will be issued prior to the closure taking effect

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, September 29, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

My Favourite Tube Song Nominated for MTV Europe Music Award

Love on the Subway song nominated for Best Song

A while back I made
a post about how James Blunt's "You're Beautiful" is my favourite subway or tube song and it looks like it wowed the judges at the MTV Europe Music Awards as it's up for Best Song and he's also up for Best UK and Irish Act and Best New Act too. Good luck James - the results are out in November.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, September 28, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Metro Harrods Truly British Pub Quiz

A moments diversion

Metro Harrods Youngs Truly British Pub Quiz

I'm far more competitive than I originally thought I was - check out what I was doing last night with Geoff, Neil, Jason (from Justgiving) and Chris to find out more and if you want to do the picture round, you might want to leave your replies here.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, September 28, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

It's World Tourism Day - So how to confuse tourists on public transport

When did seafood become currency in the UK?

I really hate sloppy language and the London Underground and railway temporary signs seem to be masters at it.

Seen yesterday at my local station:

No Oysters (meaning Oystercards!)

Can you seriously see any outlet apart from possibly Rick Stein's restaurant in Padstow accepting oysters as currency? Are they Oystercards or Oysters? And we wonder why tourists look so clueless! Happy World Tourism Day! Nice to see London Transport doing their bit.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, September 27, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Stockwell Tube Shooting - more blunders revealed

Police knew within hours that Jean Charles de Menezes was not a Terrorist

Anyone getting the latest issue of The Evening Standard will see splashed across the front page the picture of Jean Charles de Menezes lying on a Tube carriage floor as it reports today that:

"A senior Scotland Yard source reportedly said that within hours of the shooting officers were fully aware they had made a mistake and that Mr De Menezes, who was shot seven times in the head and once in the shoulder, was not connected with terrorism.

"But it was only the following day that Sir Ian Blair admitted Mr de Menezes was innocent.......

"The whole surveillance operation also appears to have been bungled.

"The military officer keeping watch on a block of flats near Stockwell, which was used by terror suspects involved in the 21/7 bombings, was relieving himself behind a tree when Mr de Menezes emerged

Jean Charles's family arrived in London today and will visit Stockell London Underground station tomorrow to see where he was killed. Today the family are visiting lawyers to pursue a murder charge. "What else would you expect for a murder? All the officers to blame have disappeared the police think they are above the law that they can just take off." said Alessandro Pereira, Jean Charles's cousin.

"All the guilty people have vanished but we will track them down because we are in the right here."

For the full story visit
this site.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, September 27, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Google's beta blog search engine

What do you reckon - better or worse than Technorati?

Everyone knows how blogging is the biggest thing to come out of the internet in recent years. So it was only a matter of time before the major search engines turned their attention to it and actually started working on search engines just for blogs. Some of you may know that Google launched a beta version of a
blog search engine on the 14th September. So far I have had very traffic from it. I get loads of traffic from my position in Google, Yahoo! and other major search engines. I get the odd bit of traffic from Technorati - but in the scheme of things, not a lot.

If you go to Google's blog search and type in London Underground - there's this blog right at the top and also in the first few entries on the page, which is brill. Also with tube - right at the top as a featured blog but no entries in the main listings on the front page.

Compare with Technorati - Technorati's search by tag is rubbish - it claims I last updated my blog 24 days ago - see search by "london underground" tag. Technorati is lots better when you search without the tag - see "london underground" search - at the time of typing it has indexed the latest entry on my blog and not one from 24 days ago!!

However, most of my Technorati traffic comes from its beta blog search category "blog finder" - with "london" and "travel" being where I get most traffic from.

It will be interesting to see how the blog search engine wars pan out when Google's comes out of beta and also when Yahoo! get in on the action too. To read more about Google's blog search , Technorati's blog finder and rumours of Yahoo! taking on Technorati in the blog search market.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, September 27, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, September 26, 2005

London Bombings Victim story in The Guardian

Martine Wright speaks to The Guardian

On Saturday and continuing today - Martine Wright, who lost both her legs in the bombing attack at Aldgate London Underground station, writes about her horrific ordeal and how she is struggling to get compensation.

Saturday's account here and

Read Monday's here.

"But Martine and other victims have yet to receive a penny from the government's criminal injuries compensation scheme and face a delay of up to two years before awards are given out.

Payouts are capped at £ 500,000, a level which was set in 1996.

So far she has been paid £ 6,000 by the London Bombings Relief Fund, which has raised £ 8.77m from public donations

"We can't sue anyone so we have to rely on the criminal injuries compensation. When I first heard it was capped at £ 500,000 I thought that's a lot. But it isn't. I was on £ 40,000 a year and that's 10 years of my earnings. I am only 32 years old.

"We have the criminal injuries and we have the London Bombings Relief Fund. But I don't understand why this fund isn't paying out substantial grants now.

"It is simple maths. They need to see how many people were injured, look at those injuries and say we've got £ 8m here, lets give it all out

Sadly Martine does not know how charities work and it is not at all as simple as that. Even more sadly though is why it's taking two years for the government's criminal injury scheme to pay out.

Thanks to Ian for bringing the Guardian's articles to my attention and I'm pleased were were able to do our bit in raising money for the fund through Tuberelief.

; Posted by annie mole Monday, September 26, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Big in Holland - London Underground Blog hits Computer Idee

So that's where all the traffic came from

Ahh, I did a brief interview with a Dutch Magazine
Computer Idee which is sort of like a Dutch version of Computer Active (even published by vnu too) and it looks like it came out in the shops last week on the day I got a surge in traffic from a non-website source. I spose because people seemed to be visiting from countries all over the place and not just Holland, it didn't click.

Anyway the very nice people at Computer Idee sent me a couple of copies of the magazine which I received this morning. It won't surprise you to learn that I can't speak Dutch and therefore have little idea how the interview came out.

London Underground Blog on Dutch magazine Computer Idee

If anyone can - Arno, where are you? It would be good to know exactly what it says. I know that "Leeftjid: Ouder dan de meeste denken" is "Age: Older than most people think" and that "Op 7 juli, de dag dat bommen in de metro afgingen, was ik toevallig thuis en kon ik elk half uur met nieuwe updates komen" - is "On 7 July, the day that bombs in the subway went down, was I by chance at home and could I each half hour with new updates come" - well you get the gist from an online translation thingie.

Nice to see other UK blogs mentioned in passing too such as Zoe's "My Boyfriend is a Twat" and the always mentioned Plastic Bag.

Many thanks to the publishers and welcome again if you came from Computer Idee.

; Posted by annie mole Monday, September 26, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Sunday, September 25, 2005

My Seven Whatever Tag

Seven answers to random questions

Yesterday, I discovered that
Jon Choo had tagged me to give seven answers to the following questions:

Seven things you plan to do before you die

Seven things I could do

Seven Celebrity crushes

Seven often repeated words

Seven traits I look for in the opposite sex
: (like Jon I have changed this to traits, rather than the original "physical traits")

And the first answer to the first question was the only one that involved the tube or a subway:

"1. Visit America properly - (one night in Houston and looking at it from the Canadian side of the Niagara Falls doesn't count) and travel on the New York subway"

If you want to see my answers to the other questions check out my non tube blog and if you fancy having a go at this yourself, feel free and leave answers in the comments here or let me know if you've done so on your own blogs.

; Posted by annie mole Sunday, September 25, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Saturday, September 24, 2005

On this day about 40 years ago......

Annie Mole was born

Other people who share my birthday - writer, F Scott Fitzgerald, muppet maker, Jim Henson, Paul McCartney's first wife - Linda, American gymnasts the Hamm twins.

Cat in the Hat writer Dr Suesss also died on my birthday in 1991, as did French writer Francoise Sagan last year.

So far today online, I've received a birthday email from jazzfm (now
smoothfm) by favourite radio station, an e-card from a webmail account care2, and e-cards from a variety of mates. Surprisingly few emails from the countless other online things that I sign up for who insist on asking for my date of birth and yet can't even be arsed to send me an e-card.

Today, will be a relatively quiet day mooching around shops and stuff with my boyfriend, comedy club in the evening and then there's a party tomorrow.

More tube related stuff may follow later today.....

UPDATE - Comedy Club jokes

Sorry more tube stuff didn't follow but thought you might like to have a few jokes from the excellent set at the Bearcat Comedy Club - Including outstanding headline acts Jeff Green, Junior Simpson and brilliant Stuart Hudson and a mad Canadian guy - Phil Nichol. Plus two other good short acts and one mediocre one.

Stuart Hudson"Beyonce - she should get married to Roy Castle"

St Margarets (near Twickenham, where the comedy was - called "working class posh") - "It's so posh here I bet you get The Big Issue delivered."

"I came out of St Margarets station and a Big Issue vendor was carrying a sign saying "Hungry and second homeless"

Stuart Hudson - quite a large scruffy looking guy - look at his picture
- first line when he came on stage "I know what you're thinking - that Daniel Bedingfield's let himself go".

UPDATE - Birthday party photos

; Posted by annie mole Saturday, September 24, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, September 22, 2005

How to get arrested on the London Underground

Front page of today's GuardianReuters journalist arrested for carrying rucksack and using a laptop

You all know how I feel about Freedom bags and transparent rucksacks and I'm sure that they wouldn't have stopped this particular situation, but Ian has just sent me a link to an article on the front page of today's Guardian (see highlighted section on the left) where a French Reuter's journalist was arrested and handcuffed for suspicious behaviour and being a public nuisance.

Horrifying and fascinating read, specially after my stupid incident with the police while I was taking pictures of them weeks ago.

This is just such a shocking story and I'm glad it's made the front page of The Guardian and hope it gets a lot wider coverage. The guy in question looks white and so there were no ethnic issues here, but he had a French accent so therefore must be automatically suspicious!!!!

Comments most welcome.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, September 22, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

London Underground Bomb Suspect returning to Britain

Hussain Osman has just left Italy

"One of the men suspected of the failed 21 July London bombings has left prison in Italy and is due to be flown to Britain after an extradition request. Hussain Osman, 27, who was arrested in Rome a week after the attacks, is accused of trying to blow up a Tube train at Shepherd's Bush, west London." said the

"His Italian lawyer, Antonietta Sonnessa, appealed against his being sent back to Britain saying he would not get a fair trial.

The case is being seen as a test case for the new European Arrest Warrant, which is intended to speed up extradition in such cases

"The other three suspected bombers - Ibrahim Muktar Said, 27, Yassin Hassan Omar, 24, and Ramzi Mohamed, 23, are currently being held at the same south-east London prison.......All four are due before a judge at the Old Bailey on 14 November."

Apparently Hussain will go straight to a high security detainee centre in Paddington Green when he first arrives in the UK.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, September 22, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

The Metropolitan Line Murder - listen on BBC7

Scarlet Pimpernel Author's Tube Short Story on BBC7

The Old Man in the CornerMany thanks to eagle-eared Jon Justice yet again for bringing to my attention the fact that The Metropolitan Line Murder by Baroness Emmuska Orczy was on BBC7 yesterday but for the next week, you can listen to it again here.

Baroness Orczy is better known for writing The Scarlet Pimpernel but she also wrote a series of detective stories which first appeared in the Royal Magazine in 1901 based on "The Old Man in the Corner", an armchair detective who solved crimes from the comfort of the corner of a London tea shop, using only the clues provided in the newspaper, with the assistance of an enthusiastic female young reporter, Polly Burton, who was also trying to solve the crimes.

Baroness Orczy received the large amount of 60 pounds when the first one was published and they became immediately popular, with the public clamouring for more.

Two of these stories feature murders on the London Underground - "The Mysterious Death on the Underground Railway" and the one which BBC7 dramatized and broadcast yesterday "The Metropolitan Line Murder". It's a bit slow going at first but certainly gets into its stride - even has a bit of tube sex - well a "raunchy" romantic discussion on the tube with the husband and wife - this was written in the early 1900's remember. "Are you trying to make love to me John?" "Well, yes, I suppose I am", replies John, with train noises in the background.

"The Mysterious Death on the Underground Railway" was on TV in the 1970's and starred Coronation Street actor John Savident, better known as Fred "I say Ashley, I say Ashley" Elliott. I can just imagine him as the fat detective sitting in corner of a tea shop lazily solving crimes.

You can download the stories through an e-book in amazon here. Enjoy!

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, September 22, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Curious to know - How did you come across my site?

Is my blog in a paper or something?

If this is your first time visiting the blog I'd be grateful to know how you heard about it. It's just that there seems to have been a bit of a surge in traffic since yesterday, and it must be from a printed publication or something as my referral stats are showing that a lot of you are just typing the address into the browser (ie it's not from another website link)

If you could leave a comment below that would be great (or
email me), otherwise I'll be curious for ever. Many thanks, welcome to the blog .......and now back to the usual stuff below!

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, September 21, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Art on the London Underground

Tube Installations

On the way to my Book Group last night I got off at Piccadilly Circus and as I was early (for once) decided to have a look at the art in the station. As part of the London Underground's
Platform for Art there are always some "interesting" modern art installations at that station and it must be a great way for artists to get seen by the millions of people passing through it over the months.

However, I simply could not for the life of me work out what this piece by Divyesh Bhanderi was about:

Divyesh Bhanderi at Piccadilly Circus

I love the way the tourists are pointing at the map next to it and looking puzzled as I was much more confused by Divyesh's art. Does anyone have any ideas what it's about?

However an interesting art project that makes more sense to me is Richard Wentworth's "If London Looked in the Mirror" project.

If London Looked in The Mirror Project

He's taken an outline of places in London and reversed them so that the West of London has moved East and the East of London has moved West (this also effects positions of places in the North and South). It's been made into a poster which I've seen around at tube stations a lot but at Piccadilly Circus there were posters of the piece which had been made into leaflets for people to take away.

Wentworth says rather "artily" "When is a Londoner not a Londoner? When does a long term visitor become a Londoner? What makes people into Londoners? What must you know to be a Londoner? How long does it last?" (a lot this was in the "How to tell if you're a Londoner" quiz blogger earlier)

".....It is common to know small pieces of London intimately, and a few other parts perhaps associated with work and friendships. These are sometimes described as false proximities joined up by lines of desire.......

"What, for example, if the city had grown in its mirror image, if north were south, or suppose, the East End and West End swapped places? Would we swap their activities or only their names? (Could they be disconnected and how long would it take?)

The art also explores a lot of other ideas about widening the Thames and also gives a list of places in London and suggests that they might be twinned with their "mirror image" - "to ensure that their inhabitants become thoroughly familarised with previously unknown areas". My town of Richmond would be twinned with Erith, a place I hadn't even heard of.

Anyway, if you want to see the poster in a larger format click here, alternatively I'm sure tube stations other than Piccadilly Circus will be carrying the leaflets. But it's a really interesting concept and I'm now thinking about what it would be like to be an East Ender rather than the West Londoner that I've been for most of my life.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, September 21, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Update from Tami our New Orleans Tube Cop

Another Hurricane (Rita) may be on the way

Here's another update from our favourite New Orleans, Police Captain,
Tami Brisset, who was "stranded" in the UK while Hurricane Katrina was blowing her city apart, after taking part in the Tube Relief charity challenge for the victims of London's attacks:

"I am now stationed at the Emergency Operations Center with the department and we are in the recovery mode and now we have to worry about another hurricane RITA that may be heading our way. What else can happen? The city is still not operational but peace and order is maintained. I made it to my home and had a tree in the roof, some water, plenty of downed trees, and some other damage but it can be fixed. Now I worry about this next one. My officers are all accounted for and we are living on a cruise ship. It is cramped but managable. No activities on this ship and no entertainment but we call it home. The destruction here is indescribable and the thesaurus has no words for what we have seen. God has helped up get through this and will continue to do so.

Everyday I reflect on the week we spent together and the fun we had for a good cause. THAT is what keeps me going. I have so much I would like to say but time is so short and some many tasks to organize. I will keep in touch with ya'll and let you know what is going on. I never did find my tube map and need to get another one. Shucks!

Love T

Keep strong Tami, it's not much for me to say and the idea of another hurricane heading over must be simply unbearable. As always, our thoughts are with you.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, September 20, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tube Relief Tube Map Auction

Bid for signed London Underground Map on Ebay

Speaking of Tube Maps, Geoff has now put on
ebay another map that all the participants who took part in Tube Relief have signed.

You can make your bids here and all of the money raised will go to the London Bombings Relief Charitable Fund.

I must get an updated figure on what we have raised to date, but it is at least £11,000 from the amounts raised online through their justgiving webpages alone and I know that a lot of people are still collecting money from more traditional methods.

It's good to know as well that that amount will support one of the dependants of the London attacks, as the London Bombings Relief Charitable Fund announced today, a similar amount will be given to each dependant.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, September 20, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Answer to Monday's Teaser

Is below - sorry I couldn't update it at midnight as promised, blame Teleworst for giving me no internet last night or this morning, so I came into work early, just to post it for you. Also reminded me why I don't start work till 10am - Waterloo and City Line at 8.45am is a nightmare!!!

And thank Christ I can stop talking like a pirate now!!

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, September 20, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, September 19, 2005

Quote Unquote quotes Tube Driver's Announcements

London Underground Announcements on BBC Radio 4 Show

Many thanks to
Ian for sending me the following note:

"I don't know if you were listening to quote-unquote on Radio 4 this evening, but if you were, about 15 minutes in you would have heard some of your tube driver announcements used... the sardines one amongst them".

Enjoy - as Ian says scroll about 15 minutes into the recording and you'll come to it.

; Posted by annie mole Monday, September 19, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Shiver me timbers it's a Monday teaser

Tell me this me hearties - what London Underground station be this?

In honour of "
International Talk Like a Pirate Day"! I'm going to pose today's teezer in, using my pirate language.

This ere poster was spied on the Londoninium's tube last week. If you strain ur eyes, you will spy, in the poster for the fine mystery tome below, a station from one of this fair City's finest underground system.

Vanishing Point poster featuring a tube station

But which one be it? Submit your answer in the comments below, me hearties. You are allowed one guess only (apologies to the Geezer of the Diamond who uses this rule for his fine teezers).

Shiver your timbers!

UPDATE - 20th September - Station Revealed

Westminster Station used on the cover of Vanishing Point

Well, all of you who said Westminster give yourselves a massive pat on the back.

Like Mecca and Rob, I originally thought it was Canary Wharf myself and to be perfectly honest when I posted it I didn't know the correct answer. As so many of you were guessing Westminster, I thought "Well it's got to be that hasn't it?". So I nipped off to Westminster on the way home last night and tried to take a picture (above) from pretty much the same spot. The giveaway I think is the markings on the column and if you look at the closeup from the cover that Rob found you'll see they match the ones above.

So well done all, I might do another one of those teasers in the future as there are loads of generic tube scenes featured in ads and it would be interesting to locate them exactly!

; Posted by annie mole Monday, September 19, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Commuters get into discounted entry to London's sights

Isn't it great being a Londoner at the moment?

Well we've just had the fantastic
London Open House weekend of which the Circle Line Charity Hike (see post below) was part of and from today Ken Livingstone has launched a new campaign to boost London's economy after the attacks:

"Tube and bus passengers are being offered discounts at top attractions as part of a campaign to tempt visitors back after the 7 July London bombings." said the BBC and I've just also heard this on the radio too. Discounted attractions across 50 venues include the London Eye and London Zoo, plus discounts to musicals and apparently all you have to do is show a Tube or bus ticket!

"Funding for the campaign, run by the mayor's tourist organisation Visit London and Transport for London, is coming from the mayor's budget and some private companies.

It is distributing more than a million copies of a mini-guide listing the city's attractions and events

; Posted by annie mole Monday, September 19, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Circle Line Charity Hike

Metro Life Hike - 17 Miles, 27 stations, all Overnight - We finished!

Exhausted - my legs still feel like jelly. My feet are killing me, my sleep patterns are totally screwed, I have blisters but we made it. (see
this entry for why I wanted to do it)

My favourite sight of the day was this, just after we passed Liverpool Street at about 7am - "No stations to go"

No Stations to Go

Other good pictures were getting to Ken's House - The City Hall at about 5.30am and going out onto the balcony to watch the sunrise. Simply magical and almost worth the pain.

Tower Bridge from City Hall

Tower Bridge from City Hall

Sunrise over Tower Bridge from City Hall

Many others will have already blogged (including Ann's excellent mobile phone blogging on route) and Helene and doubtless Neil will. I've started this post early Sunday morning and then went back to bed. Now I'm up for some breakfast, then a quiet, chilled out day and now a final late night blog.

Just noticed that Geoff has already blogged the most surreal moment of the day:

"I didn't go along (I was busy, enjoying an evening of having all my spelling mistakes pointed out to me) and was thus on the last, late train home when Neil calls me up, saying "Guess what! We've just seen you on TV!". Indeed ... as the 1,000 or so people who were taking part all trooped past some office block on the Euston Road, they could see inside the reception area a big widescreen TV, which had been left tuned into Sky Travel overnight, who were at that exact moment repeating for the umm-teenth time the episode of 'The Tube' from 2003 with me in it! "It was like you were with us, but not actually with us" said Neil. Ah bless, I think he missed me."

This all took place just as we were coming up to Great Portland Street and past the pub - The Green Man, where I'd first met Helene at the funjunkie Xmas Bloggers party in 2003.

Here's the face of Channel 4 News Jon Snow at the opening of the hike. We were just behind him for quite a bit of the walk and he's a very languid and cool looking walker as you might imagine:

Channel 4's Jon Snow Speaking at the beginning of the Hike

Big Ben at 4.25am!

Big Ben at 4.25am

St Paul's Cathedral at about 5am!

St Paul's Cathedral at 5am!!!

I was amazed at how cold it was when the sun was rising. I expected it to be colder at 3am or 4am, but I suppose as we were at City Hall for a long time too whereas on the other times were walking "reasonably" briskly hoping to get the bulk of the walk over with.

Sunrise over Canary Wharf

I put on a pair of gloves and scarf at City Hall when we saw daylight again and lent Neil my spare bright blue fleece:

Neil looking cold & grumpy at 6.30am

Here's a shot of some of our team, in our "gorgeous" green T shirts:

Group Shot at Guildhall before leaving

But the colour of the T shirts was the only downer with the organisation of the whole event. Maggie's Centre staff and volunteers were simply, simply brilliant. There were a huge amount of free snacks and drinks at the stops as well as a great opening pasta party and a champagne breakfast at the end, with medals and goody bags for everyone taking part. It was also good that a cancer survivor gave an inspiring talk at the start, to show how Maggie's Centres can really help to provide fantastic support and a unique positive environment that will have a special effect on people's will, morale and spirit.

Speaking of spirit I must thank Neil for keeping me going throughout the walk. The part between the stop at Whiteleys at Bayswater and the next stop at the Treasury near Westminster was a walk of around five miles and we did that between about 3.30am and 4am. Many a time during that stretch, I felt like giving up as I was so knackered and grumpy and must have been shit company. I must have tripped up and stubbed my toes about 10 times in that stretch and Neil's pretty constant chatter and concern really kept me going!

I'd also like to thank everyone who has sponsored me so far and please keep your sponsorship and donations coming in to mine and Mecca's page.

; Posted by annie mole Sunday, September 18, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Saturday, September 17, 2005

A tenners worth of PrePay for free - Get in quick!

LU/Oyster have just launched
a new 'Auto top-up' feature on all prepay Oyster cards, where you can now set up a credit card to be charged automatically an amount of your choice whenever your pre-pay balance falls below five pounds.

Handy in itself, as it means you'll never have to queue up at a ticket machine ever again, but if you get in quick - NOW - they're also giving a £10 discount to the first 10,000 to sign up with this new feature of Oyster... I've just done mine! I suggest you do the same...

; Posted by Anonymous Saturday, September 17, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, September 16, 2005

Film projections on subway Tunnels

Would anyone would be able to do this in London?

Many thanks to our favourite
ambulance driving blogger, Tom Reynolds who just send me the following email:

"I came across this QT video on Rocketboom today. In it an artist attaches a projector to the side of a subway train, so that it projects little movies on the tunnel walls.

The link is here http://www.rocketboom.com/vlog/archives/2005/09/rb_05_sep_16.html

Still from Quick Time Movie showing film projections on subway tunnels

How long before some bright spark thinks this is a good way to advertise?

However, I am surprised that the fella who stuck the box to the train didn't get shot by jumpy coppers

; Posted by annie mole Friday, September 16, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, September 15, 2005

We meet the man behind the transparent Freedom Bags

Transparent Rucksack Company - Well meaning but not well thought out

Regular readers may remember that Bob Fitzjohn, the man behind the transparent Freedom bags got in touch with me recently (
2nd September) to arrange a meeting as "most of what you are saying about us is in fact incorrect and I would very much like the opportunity to talk to you and explain my reasons for the bags and where you have been mis-informed."

How can one resist an invitation like that?

So me, and Geoff, as moral support and "my bodyguard" went along this evening to Bob's offices in the Docklands near the London Arena.

When someone who introduces themselves with "I'm a Virgo and that explains a lot about me" you know you're going to be in for an interesting meeting. What Bob meant by that is that he's a perfectionist but a bit of a butterfly, flitting from project to project and having a strong identification of self through their work.

He joked "Now I'd be described as an entrepreneur, but that was before I knew how to spell it!"

Bob explained that the bags were an idea that came out of a drink in the pub, after the London attacks, the police's stop and search policy and the uncomfortableness his Asian staff he also runs an call centre who intrestingly deliberately employ a lot of actors - I liked that!) experienced when travelling on the Tube with a rucksack.

The idea went into production reasonably quickly after conception. Some prototype bags were produced and just over a week after the initial idea the bags were ready to go out. Bob built a quick and dirty website himself and that was that. "I didn't even like the name Freedom bags", Bob said, "but we decided to go for it." One could ask why? But hey-ho.

After a few days someone found the site. The day after the BBC contacted Bob for more info as they wanted to run a feature on it. So Bob got a PR company involved to write a press release and the rest, as they say, is history.

Once the bags were on the BBC's site hundreds of other news outlets covered the story around the world and Bob was amazed at the media interest.

"So how many have you sold?" I asked. Bob didn't feel at liberty to tell us, which was perfectly fair. "But" said Bob, "I can say that there have been orders from around the UK and around the world - although interestingly fewest orders from London".

To me this came as no surprise. I have not seen one person carrying these on the tube and from the comments many of you made from my initial post on the Freedom Bags, I don't think that Londoners are going to be rushing to Bob's site in droves to buy them.

Londoners have been getting on with it. We have to use the London Underground to travel into work and play "You two didn't get the Tube in?" said Bob half jokingly. Me and Geoff looked at each other and laughed, how on earth were we supposed to get there otherwise?

Also we've all been putting up with the initial stop and search policing, which unlike Bob, we know isn't just directed at Asian men and (looking pointedly in my direction) Jamaican people!

"But don't you think we've got to a sad state of affairs where Asian men feel that they have to carry transparent bags? I hate it" said Bob.

"Yes, so do I. But I would hate it so much that I wouldn't be selling bags like yours in the first place." I replied.

Bob went to some lengths to explain the background to his many businesses and in particular the not for profit business The Assist Safety Project which is funded by sales from the Freedom Bags and some of Bob's other projects. Bob and his colleague Jenny explained the project in great detail. Essentially - "The Assist Safety Project launched The Safer Computers Campaign and provides workshops in schools for parents to help teach them about the threats and dangers posed by computers. The campaign has been extended and throughout the Summer of 2005 we are running a roadshow which is visiting Shopping Centres around the UK to help pass on the message." Bob's company Assist Ltd provide PC virus checking, anti spyware software and parental control software to parents and offers them the software packages with free installation on their PC's.

Without going into too much more detail (this is a long post already) I do believe that Bob is well meaning in his approach to his businesses and clearly respects his staff and his call centre had a good feel and very good staff facilities.

However, I still have a problem with his website - which STILL does not have the terms and conditions on it (although Bob says it will be updated in the next few days).

On Bob's site it says "For every bag sold by The Assist Safety Project 10% will go to the London Bombings Relief Charitable Fund"

We had a strange discussion about charities where Bob seemed to think The Red Cross wouldn't accept donations from him and he asked how we were able to fundraise for Tube Relief. "Very easily" I replied, "but we're not actually selling anything and offering to give a percentage to the charity, we are simply fundraising, that's it".

London Underground Diversity Poster at Canary Wharf on the way back from Bob'sI also still have a problem with products that rely on fear - as I said to Bob, I'm happy with fire alarms, burglar alarms, rape alarms and the like, but not happy with products that play upon the fears of something whose statisical likeliness of happening is extremely low. Particularly, when those products can not be proven to prevent one from getting stopped and searched or be an answer to "making travel safe again".

Interestingly, the BBC interviewed Bob for a BBC3 programme called Travels with my Beard, where a bearded Asian guy sets off around the UK with a rucksack and records reactions to him. How mad is that? Bob is not sure how he and his bags will be portrayed in the programme and I can only wait with baited breath!

Finally, I asked Bob if I could actually see one of the clear rucksacks. He believed he had one in his car (as the fulfilment of the bags was done from other premises in the Docklands). Sadly, Bob returned empty handed as he was mistaken, so I wasn't able to see them.

However, I would like to thank Bob and Jenny for their kind hospitality to myself and Geoff and for showing us around his call centre. As you can tell by this post I'm still highly sceptical about the whole clear bag thing (despite Bob's assertions that some supermarket chains are interested in stocking them), but well done to Bob for trying to address my earlier assumptions.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, September 15, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Variation on The Great Bear

Worldwide "Tube" Maps

The ever ranting Jon Justice kindly sent me a link to
the following site, saying that I couldn't have seen it.

He was right, I hadn't although am not exactly sure what it is:

World Tube Map

Well it seems to be an art project similar to Simon Patterson's Great Bear.

Detail from European MapThe digital arts site - Gallerisation says: "Humans have always made connections. This ability is one of the corner stones of our success as a species. Underground explores various aspects of our world and how we associate with it."

So we have various views of the world map but drawn as a London Underground Tube map. Each variation is centred around a particular continent and the "station" or country names reflect this.

Get yours now on stretched canvas for the bargain price of £345 - still I spose they are cheaper than the original price of The Great Bear.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, September 15, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Jerry Hall banned Tube poster on South West Trains

SWT not as prudish as the Tube

Saw this poster (which was
pulled by the London Underground) about 101 times on South West Trains today

Banned London Underground Poster on South West Trains

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, September 15, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Logo fun

This is fun ... go and make your own before LU get sniffy about it though, and demand for it to be taken down.

First, click on

To see what it does without any options, but then, try:


Where you can replace station_name with anything you like, and width_in_pixels with a number (e.g. 300) to make it a lot bigger, and you can then have hours (well ok - minutes_ of fun ...)

; Posted by Anonymous Wednesday, September 14, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Sleeping on the London Underground - part 2

I can't get no sleep

This line from
Faithless's Insomnia is particularly appropriate, as I've just got in from a party celebrating Faithless's Live at Alexandra Palace DVD - party blogged here. On the way home though I spotted the following sleeping beauties, both trying to make themselves as comfortable as possible.

Man Sleeping on the District Line

The other guy was more considerate and didn't feel the need to take up three seats:

Man asleep on the District Line

Correct ways of sleeping on the London Underground were blogged earlier.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, September 14, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Guardian Angels on The London Underground

They're back

Guardian Angels Back on the London Underground from the BBC siteI don't know how many of you remember The Guardian Angels a sort of red bereted voluntary group who used to patrol the tube in the late eighties with the aim of keeping people safe. Well, co-blogger Geoff, just emailed me to ask whether I'd seen this from the BBC's site as it looks like they're back.

"Conceived in New York, the Guardian Angels' unique brand of law enforcement never really caught on among London's reserved commuters and volunteer numbers have dwindled. But will the London bombings help finally endear them to us?" wrote William Brierley from the BBC.

"Sedleigh "Shaft" Adams signals his red-bereted patrol to move on to the Tube. Once in position he scans the carriage until, eventually, he catches a mistimed glance.

"Never smile at a Guardian Angel," he says. "That means you have a pulse, and if you have a pulse then you get a leaflet."

Sweeping through the carriage he then hands out leaflets to the bemused commuters headed: "SOMEBODY REALLY SHOULD DO SOMETHING ABOUT VIOLENT STREET CRIME!!

Apparently "Everywhere they go the patrol is well received by London Underground staff and an intrigued public, albeit at times with thinly-concealed amusement.

"I think they're mental," comments one passer-by. "I grew up in New York in the 80s and haven't really thought about them since then."

But "the boys in the berets have a less than harmonious relationship" with our own boys in blue - "the police, who resolutely refuse to recognise the organisation. After the 7 July bombings in London, Adams admits they had to consider whether they were a "help or a hindrance" during heightened security.

However, he says the public greeted their patrols with a "heightened response" and were "increasingly pleased to see us

Personally, I really appreciated seeing them in the late eighties as there used to be a lot of them around Earl's Court and if I was on my own late at night I would feel reassured. It is certainly interesting to see that they are back (or perhaps never went away) and I wonder if we will be seeing more of them in the future?

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, September 13, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

My London Underground Journey and The Ashes

Commuting and Cricket

Well unless you live on Mars you'll know that England re-gained
The Ashes after 18 years, and amazingly this affected my commute into work this morning. Firstly, Metro was simply covered with reports of our win, there were also some really cool and well timed ads.

One from the Australian Tourist Board, with a shot of the England team and the headline "The only tourists not welcome in Austalia" The ad continued - "... we'll extend a warm Australian welcome to everyone....well, almost everyone"

Australian Tourist Board Ad in Metro

In the sports section there was an ad from Budweiser with text written in the shape of The Ashes trophy "explaining" the rules of cricket. At the end it said "And so England won, right?" with the strapline of "You do the cricket, we'll do the beer"

Budweiser Ad Celebrating England winning The Ashes

However, what was more noticeable was that once again the London Underground was literally swarming with police. I think I'd made reference in one of the comments earlier about how I had noticed fewer police around lately. Well today they were back in force and I spose that it would be quite something for terrorists to attack when England and London were celebrating one of our greatest sporting victories in 18 years. There is a victory bus ride and parade with the team coming through central London and culminating in Trafalgar Square at lunchtime.

Anyway, well done boys, you did us proud!!

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, September 13, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, September 12, 2005

More tube tunes

I know we've plugged this before, but today I got an email from one of the guys that runs this site telling me that he's added/uploaded some new tunes.

What am I talking about? It's the 'Project Adorno' A to Z of the London Underground, where a musical comedy duo visiting 26 stations - one for each letter of the alphabet, went round tube stations and then wrote songs about them all, all done in an amusing manner.

Previously, only the songs on Page 1 were uploaded, but click through to Page 2 now and gems such as "Tooting Bingo Song" and "White City Blues" are now available, and they're all really good. Honest.

; Posted by Anonymous Monday, September 12, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Update from Tami our New Orleans Tube Cop

Tami Brissett back in the thick of it in New Orleans

Some of you may be wondering what happened to
Tami Brisset the New Orleans police captain who took part in Tube Relief a few days before Hurricane Katrina struck her home town and left her "stranded" in London with no idea where her son and sister were. Fortunately all of Tami's family have been found - blogged here

Well the latest is that Tami is back with her police squad and she send this message to us all:

"I am now in the Emergency Operations Center for the NOPD. This is the Command Center for the New Orleans Police Department. Everything pretty much goes thru here. I am doing fine. This is a life changing experience for sure. I slept in a garage on the concrete for a while and now I have a cot. The city is so eerie looking with all the destruction. The water is still high in most parts and I can't even imagine what it will look like when it is all drained.

The heat is still in the 90's and the smell is something that you want to forget. People are still be rescued from their homes and many have died but they believe that the toll may not be as high. Thank God for that at least. I feel so bad for those who have missing family members because I was in their shoes just a sort time ago.

The city is full of military assistance and we are trying to get supplies in to live. Over 80% of the department has lost their homes and many have only the clothes on their back. We are police officers attired in shorts, jeans, t shirts, etc. Whatever we can find.

We are in the process of finding accomodation for our police officers and it appears as though we will have residence in a cruise ship which will be docked on the river. This will house police and their families. I won't house my family there because Joshua is in Florida going to school and Fred is still in Texas. My family is doing fine and my niece is about to have her baby. She has no electricity but uses a generator when they can.

I miss the most simple things such as cold milk, salad, a real bathtub, a hot home cooked meal on glass plates, and music. It is so weird not having the creature comforts. However, we have it much better than some of those poor people who have nothing.

I don't know how long we will be living like this. I work 24 hours a day and only leave this compound for a shower. I get to sleep a few hours during the night when I don't have a call. I hope to get into a regular routine soon. (Whatever routine is now.)

If you get a chance go to nola.com or wwltv.com and you can check out some of the photos. They are heart wrenching.

Jenny signs Tami's mapI wanted to let you know that the airport must have removed my tube map from the PVC in my suitcase. I didn't have it and also I had someone check with my friend and it was not with him. What a loss! I will now have to do the tube challenge all over again! LOL. I miss you guys and read the blogs as much as I can to catch up. I devour everything I can get to get my mind and heart back there where I felt safe. It is funny how people were concerned about me coming to London because of the bombings and little did they realize that I would almost escape our own horrors.

Tami at the end of the Tube Challenge at UpminsterPlease keep in touch and thanks for the prayers and support. I told my husband that if I get money for insurance I would just rather come back and stay in the UK. Maybe I could get a job on the underground!!!

If you thought I looked like "faeces" in the photos before you should see me now

As usual Tami keeps up her incredible spirit, strength and sense of humour. She's an inspiring lady!

; Posted by annie mole Monday, September 12, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Booker Prize Nominee slags off Tube Commuters

Londoner Zadie Smith hates how we glare at each other on the London Underground

Would you glare at Zadie Smith?We've been having lots of
London Underground and book related discussions lately, so it was kind of weird that I found out through Londonist that Booker 2005 shortlisted author Zadie Smith, who lives in North London, just gave an interview to New York magazine where she really slagged off the UK and then back-tracked or clarified her points on the BBC's Women's Hour on Friday.

She said in New York magazine:

"When I talk about England now I just think about the England that I loved," she says, "and it's just gone. It's the way people look at each other on the train; just general stupidity, madness, vulgarity, stupid TV shows, aspirational arseholes, money everywhere. It's just a disgusting place. It's terrifying. Maybe I'm just getting old."

She's 29!

Then according to a BBC report on Radio 4's Women's Hour she said:

"I love England but the things that I don't love about it are those things - I don't love trash TV and I'm sad when I see people glaring at each other on the Tube," Smith said.

"Those things upset me, but they only upset you when you love your country so much that you're sad when you feel a bit of it to be in decline."

Personally, I don't think that people glaring at each other on the Tube is a sign of the decline of the UK. People have been glaring at each other on the Tube for years before Zadie Smith was born. For someone who made her name by writing an excellent novel about growing up in multi-cultural London (White Teeth), the whole thing seems rather strange. One minute the UK is a "disgusting place" and "terrifying" and the next "a bit of it is in decline".

Make your mind up Zadie!

; Posted by annie mole Monday, September 12, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Houses near the London Underground - part two

Leinster Gardens on TV

Speaking of houses near London Underground tracks, in May,
Geoff blogged the following popular tube fact/bit of geeky tube trivia:

"in many a tube-history book, I always kept reading about where the District & Circle line has been built in-between Bayswater & Paddington, there had been a cutting made underneath some houses, and during construction, two houses had been taken down to allow the cut & cover tunnel to be built beneath, and to this day - a false house front had been put back in its place so as to disguise it.

"The houses in question are at numbers 23 and 24 Leinster Gardens, in the cute back streets of Bayswater, but having made all the effort to go there to get a photo of it - it's quite disappointing.

"I think I was having visions of being able to look through a crack or gap and see down onto the tracks, but instead everything is sealed nicely and painted over

Well thanks to Jon Justice, I learnt that TV historian and general annoying know all, Adam Hart Davies, went to do exactly the same thing as Geoff as part of the "How London Was Built" TV series. In episode 5, we see him going up to the false front doors at Leinster Gardens, or as Jon says with the screen grabs he sent me "AHD (God, I hope his middle name is David) being baffled by a fake door. "But there's no door handle! Mummy, I'm scared."

Adam Hart-Davies at Leinster Gardens false front door

Geoff's picture at Leinster GardensAlso like Geoff, AHD went round a corner to see if there was any more signs of the trains. Geoff said "as I was passing this innocuous looking wall here, I heard the distinctive rattle of a C-stock type train from somewhere down below." Geoff is 6 foot 3 so managed to peep over the wall and get a picture of the train going past.

Here we see AHD leaning over a similar wall spotting a train or as Jon says: "AHD demonstrating the skills for which his is justly famous: Looking like Rolf Harris, wearing god-awful shirts that make his children hate him and pretend they don't know him and pointing in a rather limp-wristed, camp manner"

Adam Hart-Davies spots the train at Leinster Gardens

And here's what he saw:

Train at Leinster Gardens

The series was on ITV1 and finished last week, but if you have The History Channel in the UK - check out the Tunnels and Trains episode - this will be repeated from September 29th - October 2nd and focusses on the history of tunnelling in the capital including Marc Kingdom Brunel's Rotherhithe Tunnel Project.

; Posted by annie mole Sunday, September 11, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thames Tunnel Tour

Wapping Tunnel Tour Repeated

And speaking of Brunel's Tunnel, as part of the
London Open House series next weekend (17th and 18th September) the brilliant Robert Hulse from the Brunel Engine House Museum will be repeating the innuendo filled Thames Tunnel Tour every hour on the hour from 11am to 4pm, from Rotherhithe London Underground Station.

Robert in action from June's tourHe said: "Hello Annie

Open House Shafting 17/18 September!

For readers who missed the summer shafting in June, we are doing an autumn one! Visit Open House website for details. Entry to the Museum is free, but shafters are invited to make donations to help run the Brunel charity's community events.

In the interest of keeping up a good innuendo, I should point out that visitors now have the chance to see the Iron Duke. Its pistons were hammered in the local forge and the local vicar named the locomotive. For the historians, this is Nick the Vic who blessed the shaft at the Fancy Fair... in 2002

Robert rocks!! The tour which a group of us went to in June is well worth every penny!

; Posted by annie mole Sunday, September 11, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, September 09, 2005

London Underground Olympics

Tube Olympics - part two

Last month I did a post on some Olympic sports that Tube travellers would excel in (to celebrate our 2012 Olympic bid win). Part two is a not a popular sport but certainly one that at least two London Underground travellers have tried

Bob Sledding or rather Escalator Sliding

However I think that the few Tube travellers who do this would probably be disqualified as it's likely they are under the influence of drugs, if not they are usually fairly well pissed.

originally sent to b3ta

This particular stirling effort was captured on film:

Man sliding down escalator"Recently me and my mates attended a posh dinner thing at the Tower of London," writes Elliott Ingram, "It ended early so we were up for a bit of pissing around on the Tube. I filmed it all on my phone."

Basically a guy slides down the central bit of a really long escalator. And at the end falls off.

Enjoy the film it rocks! There's a bit of language in it, as you might imagine, so don't have your office speakers turned up too loudly.

Jon Justice had also sent me a photo of someone else doing the same so we know there's at least two Olympic Escalator Sliding competitors out there!

; Posted by annie mole Friday, September 09, 2005 Permalink COMMENT HERE