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Annie Mole's, daily web log (blog) & “guide” to the London Underground
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Friday, August 31, 2007

Chav Tube Map

Fashion Victims with a difference

Thanks to Chris from
qwghlm.co.uk, who pointed me in the direction of a chavtastic Burberry Tube Map designed by emvee.

Burberry Tube Map - click to enlarge

It's in the shape of a baseball cap (well, sort of, but you can see the Burberry check pretty clearly). There's also a handy key to the map in the bottom right hand corner.

Detail from Burberry Tube Map - click to enlarge

I wonder if there are statistics as to which stations are the worst for pickpockets? Even though we hear that crime on the Tube is decreasing (with robbery down by 21 per cent). I can't see London Underground wanting to develop this as a map though.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, August 31, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Tube ban Heelys

London Underground have been carrying out some selective footwear banning, as Balham Tube station have banished the kids' wheel-bottomed trainers from their platforms.

Tube ban Heelys

I can only imagine that Balham has problems with hoardes of kids zooming around. The sign at Balham doesn't explain exactly why they're banned, but Transport for London said they came to the decision after comments from commuters and because more children had used the station during the holidays.

A TfL spokeswoman has remained tight lipped about whether or not the ban would be imposed at other stations.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, August 30, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Facebook Group for pretend DLR Drivers

A good way to get in the news at the moment seems to be to build a Facebook Group and get over 1,000 members to join it. It doesn't really matter whether anyone actually does anything in a Facebook Group, allegiance seems to be enough. Anyway, Parliamentary researcher Kieron Merrett set up a
Facebook Group for people who like to secretly pretend they are driving the driverless Docklands Light Railway train. Bizarrely, Mr Merrett categorised this as "Extreme Sports" in Facebook.

DLR Driving Facebook Group

Prior to the article in the londonpaper there were 1,400 members and now this has bumped up to around 2,000.

Facebook Group for DLR 'Fantasy'About the people who like to pretend drive, a TfL spokesperson (rather strangely) said "I suppose this way you're living a bit of the dream".

Members of the group seem happy to know they're not the only people who "live the dream". Some people claim to rush for that front seat so they can have their fun and get narked when the real "driver" is there.

My favourite quote is from Sarah, who was clearly so excited she forgot how to spell "i did the exact same thing, my boyfriend thought i was strange, but it was soooooo forfilling!!! it wasnt until i read the local paper (canary news or summat) that i realised that i wasnt the only one who pretended to drive the train!!! yay!! apartently the govoner of london transport views this page everyday to see what were all talking about!! woo hoo!! so mr transport man, if you are reading this, please could you put some pretend levers and buttons on the front of the train so we can get the 'real' driving experience, that would be ace!!"

I must admit that I did imagine I might be driving, the very first time I managed to get in the front seat. But after a year of commuting on it the novelty wore off. It does mean that you can get some good "driver view" shots though.

Any other DLR pretend drivers are free to "out" themselves here. Otherwise, you have a spiritual home on Facebook.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, August 29, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tube ban Rampant Rabbit Ad

Rampant Rabbit ad banned on the TubeLighten up TfL. The ad on the left has been banned by Transport for London, even though the Advertising Standards Authority have cleared it. The Ann Summers ad for its vibrator would apparently be OK if the words "Rampant Rabbit" and any mention of pleasure were removed. Mmm, sort of defeats the object of the ad then.

A TfL spokesperson justified their position by saying: "Consumers purchasing magazines make a conscious choice to read a magazine. Millions of people travel on the London Underground each day and they have no choice but to view whatever ads are posted there. We have to take account of the full range of travellers and endeavour not to give offence in the adverts we display".

Obviously Anne Summers are up in arms (like the guy who used a Rampant Rabbit to rob a bank) about the decision. Their chief exec complained "I don't understand. There is nothing remotely offensive about it. This is censorship gone mad."

TfL do seem to be getting on their high horse about some ads though and last month banned an ad for Gay Times magazine because one of the men was in a "state of undress".

If you look at them extremely enough, any advertisement could cause offence to someone else. I could take offence at the following hair conditioner ad, as it assumes that all men are commitment phobics, yet that wasn't banned.

Long Term Commitment Ad

What are your thoughts, do you think TfL have gone "censorship mad" with Ann Summers?

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, August 28, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

TfL services takeover bid

Transport for London said it had lodged a "
formal Expression of Interest" in taking over Metronet's two PPP maintenance contracts, which cover three-quarters of the Tube network.

It follows the announcement of a series of London Underground strikes over job losses faced by Metronet staff. Metronet planned to invest £17 billion in the Tube but went into administration due to serious financial problems.

TSSA general secretary Gerry Doherty said: "Returning Tube maintenance to TfL could ultimately deliver a stable, economic and efficient structure that is better able to meet the needs of Londoners than that delivered by the failing private sector under the PPP arrangements."

RMT leader Bob Crow appeared to welcome the move and said: "It is the RMT's view that tube maintenance should be back in the public sector under the direct control of London Underground. If this is to be a serious bid it will obviously be a welcome step in the right direction."

A TfL spokesman said it would submit its formal application to run Metronet's Tube maintenance service at the end of September.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, August 28, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, August 24, 2007

Tube Delay Generator

Inspired by the fab
marketing speak generator and by yesterday morning's delays on all the lines I was travelling on, I put together a London Underground Tube Delay Excuse Generator

Tube Delay Excuse Generator - opens in new window

I'm not a programmer, so it's pretty basic. I also couldn't work out how to get it to play within this blog post itself, so when you click the image above, it will open up in a new window.

You might also remember Reggie Perrin's late train excuses that he gave to his secretary, so this owes a nod and a wink to him too. However, I've tried to keep it as 21st century Tube Speak as possible.

If you've a driver, or train operator or customer service platform assistant or whatever - you might be able to send me some more delay excuses, sorry perfectly rational reasons that I can drop in over time.


; Posted by annie mole Friday, August 24, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Three day Tube Strike planned

We've not had that many threats of strike action this year (possibly because the summer's been so bad, there's no point in extra days off). However we now have the possiblity of some industrial action on the Tube next month.

Members of the Unite and Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) unions will hold 72-hour strikes on 3 and 10 September. A 48-hour strike by the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA) will begin on 4 September.

Tube Strikes on the Way

The planned action is over job losses faced by Metronet staff. TfL reckon that they are addressing all the issues.

They said "there is no reason whatsoever why the lives of millions of Londoners should be disrupted by industrial action. Threatening Londoners with two three-day strikes on the tube when no action is being taken to disadvantage any employees is wrong." So we'll have to wait and see.

For more on this check out The Guardian.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, August 24, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

London Underground Fashion Victims

Fashion Victims on the Tube

It's a Friday, so the Tube Fashion Victims or TFV's are back. The completely rubbish weather means that our TFV's are really not out in all their summer glory so we have a fairly autumnal view.

Super Furry Uggs

These girls were really going all out for TFV mode. We have the gold strappy gladiator sandals and of course the ubiquitous Uggs making an entrance. Their poor little arms are fairly laden down with some oversized handbags:

Pink Uggs

As if the Uggs weren't bad enough she also appears to have sat down on a load of bleach.

Male Crocs

The first man I've seen wearing Crocs on the Tube

Male Crocs

I suppose we can be thankful they're not orange or pink and that his not wearing giblets, sorry jibbitz in them.

Micro skirts at Glamoursmith

Hammersmith is not called Glamoursmith for nothing. And if you're under twenty you probably don't care about how cold it is at the moment as you still have the opportunity to wear or almost wear skirts.

Micro skirts

I love the way the gaggle of girls are in matching sandals and all look as though they've consulted each other on the exact length of their clothes. Shame they didn't go down to the tanning shop to get a St Tropez, as they're all looking a tad pasty.

That's it for now. The previous victims can be found here and the complete picture gallery can be seen on the following Flickr set.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, August 24, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Would you stop a Tube thug?

A case for bringing back Guardian Angels?

Perhaps we need Guardian Angels Back - Picture from BBCI'd like to think that we all haven't been there. Witnessing a nasty scene on the Tube where someone is getting attacked or harrassed and deciding what to do. BBC Radio 2 presenter Jeremy Vine was interviewed by Radio 4 about how he witnessed a man getting beaten up on the London Underground and he and fellow passengers did nothing:

He said: "I was sitting in a Tube carriage next to an attractive young woman who was reading a magazine. There was a guy sitting opposite me, who was kind of Neanderthal. He had obviously taken an interest in this woman" After all the usual, 'come on darlin' give us a smile' rubbish, he started tapping her on the knee. Eventually he got off the Tube and the carriage collectively gave a sigh of relief. One passenger also gave him a V sign when the doors closed and unluckily for the passenger the doors decided to re-open.

"The thug runs back in. He's six foot three, his muscles are so big they're flexing against the Tube glass, and he just starts beating seven bells out of this fellow.

"And I did nothing. The carriage was pretty full. But none of us did anything. It was terrible...... It wasn't fight or flight, it was fight or sit there and watch. And I chose to sit there and watch. And I've replayed it many many times. I'm very unhappy that I did that, and I now have sort of resolved that if I see a similar kind of situation where I see someone being attacked like that, I will intervene with unmitigated ferocity.

"I was sitting there and I had a biography of Oscar Wilde and it's about 700 pages. I reckoned that this biography would have made a serious dent in his skull and also that it would have been a classy way to bring this guy down to the Tube floor, but of course as I have all these thoughts it's already too late. In fact the moment you think about it, it's too late."

I'm not too surprised that no one did anything. The closest I've been to this situation since blogging, is when I was getting hassled by some drunk on a Tube and most of the people sitting near me chose to get off at the next stop. Fortunately, I sat it out through bloody mindedness and I was lucky that he wasn't violent. I've no idea what I would do if the boot were on the other foot though. I certainly wouldn't have left the carriage as just a physical show of numbers can help.

But in the case of someone getting physically attacked, I'd like to think I'd intervene or at least shout at the person. I'm sure most people hope that someone else will be brave enough to do something (it's almost like giving up seats to people who need them - although they doesn't require bravery). As Vine says by doing nothing we're giving trouble makers permission to continue. He later found out on a bus journey that if one person stands up, others will usually follow suit.

Has anyone else been in a similar situation on the Tube or public transport? Or do you have any advice on what you could do to defuse a situation like this?

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, August 21, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Online Tube Map Jigsaw Puzzle

If you feel like driving yourself mad or have very good eyesight try this
online London Underground Jigsaw puzzle

By clicking on the "change cut" link, you can go for the traditional approach pictured below (240 piece classic) Be warned averages completion time is over 71 minutes. Or you can make it easy for yourself (like I did) with the 12 piece.

Tube Map Jigsaw

If you want to go international there's a US state version

Tube Map Jigsaw US State Version

Or try the rather freaky 91 piece lizard version which apparently has an average completion time of 24 minutes.

Tube Map Jigsaw Lizard Version

I should say thanks to Jon J for bringing this to my attention although it's a maddening time waster. It's worth having a go at it in good time though in case TfL's lawyers find some way of taking it off the interweb. Have errr... fun.

; Posted by annie mole Sunday, August 19, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, August 17, 2007

Tube Photo of the Week

It's not often that you can capture a picture on the Tube which is spontaneous but everything just fits together.
Meg Pickard did this on the Piccadilly Line from Heathrow.

I discovered this through b3ta who were writing about a blog with "optical illusions" where people have deliberately set up pictures where real people look as thought they are part of a magazine or book. It a shame they included Meg's as it's not set up, but at the same time, I'm glad they did as I probably wouldn't have discovered it otherwise!

; Posted by annie mole Friday, August 17, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Wired Underground

Thanks to Jon J for giving me the heads up that commuters in Seoul will have fun and games on their subway, at least until the 19th August

The generous folk at Samsung and Korea Telecoms have fitted two cars from Seoul's number 2 line train with some WiBro-enabled Samsung Q45 laptops and Q1 Ultra UMPCs. Apparently they're free to use from 11am till 5pm every day.

There's a fairly errr interesting translation of the story
here, or check out Engadget for their take.

Playing backgammon on the Tube

That's really 21st century subway entertainment, as we can just about manage a snatched game of backgammon on the Tube though.

Wonder if Ken will set aside some carriages on the Tube for sponsored games? I'm sure he'd get a lot of fans if he did.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, August 14, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, August 13, 2007

Copywriting Tube Ads

You may have seen the series of advertisements for Nintendo DS games on the Tube. Apart from making the worrying statement that on average we spend three years of our lives commuting, they attempt to make some word plays with their games and Tube station names or lines.

They start off reasonably well with getting a "bullseye" on the Circle Line:

Ninetendo Circle Line Ad

Then they use Baker Street for their detective game:

Nintendo Baker Street

But after that they sadly run out of steam.

Surely they could have come up with "walk your dog at Barking", rather than "walk your dog underground"?

Nintendo Dog Walking

The others were fairly uninspiring and they went down the alliteration route. I've blanked out the lines or station names, so if you think you can do better or suggest what they actually used, feel free.

Nintendo Brain Academy

I wonder if they'd have been allowed to slot in any station on the Northern Line on this last one?

Nintendo Brain Training

; Posted by annie mole Monday, August 13, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, August 10, 2007

You never know who you're sitting next to

It still amazes me that people who use mobiles on the Tube seem to think they're in a vacuum and that no one is listening to their conversations. I can't be the only person who listens to mobile calls when there's nothing better to do (or even when there is). Specially when the conversation revolves around a soap.

On the Sadistic Line I was in a fairly empty carriage and the woman next to me was talking about an actress friend who had got back in touch with her after a long absence. I learnt that the actress was called Kate and the major story she was part of meant she was working all hours. "You know what it's like with soaps", the woman said. At this point I gave up reading my paper. The actress had been through the mill, had counselling, gone to The Priory but had now recovered. She had a new bloke and everything was wonderful.

Jeez - if only I knew what soap she was in, I could be the concerned "friend" and sell my story to The Sun. Her motor mouth friend actually revealed the soap in her next breath. I spent ages thinking who it could possibly be and after watching one of my favourites on Monday, I think I've narrowed it down to the right person (that's assuming she's gone back to the soap).

I'm not going to reveal who I think it is as I could be wrong, but if I had been a Sun or News of the World journalist I'd be having a field day right now. I wonder how many "exclusives" or "real life stories" make their debut through someone blabbing on the Tube? Or how many office secrets are revealed by rushed PowerPoint reading on the way into work?

Do you have any goss or juicy stories you've overheard on the Tube?

; Posted by annie mole Friday, August 10, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Crocs stop Escalators

Should Crocs be banned on the Tube?

Well obviously on the
grounds of taste Crocs should be banned, but it appears that they play havoc with escalators too.

Croc escalator sign in Jakarta by satya.w

There have been increasing stories about people travelling on escalators getting their footwear trapped and mangled in escalator teeth. Escalators on Washington's Metro have been put out of action as a result

"Twenty-five objects were stuck in escalators last month, most of them "shoe entrapments," officials said. "We've had an alarming increase of incidents of those types of shoes being stuck in the escalator," said Dave Lacosse, who oversees Metro's 588 escalators"

Sadly the Metro aren't considering a ban, even though a broken escalator can be non functioning for half a day depending on the level of shoe entrapment. However Croc wearers don't seem to care and just want their beloved items back:

"Even when their shoes get mauled, most riders are too attached to them to let go. Some even ask for retrieved ones to be left with station managers so they can get them the next day.

Used to be that the damaged shoes were brought to Lacosse's office, where he kept them as mementos. Alas, these days
, "most of the customers want their shoe back," he said."

Croc decorationsThere have also been reports of children losing their toes as a result of Crocs and Croc pretenders getting stuck in escalator teeth. Of course the manufacturers of Crocs swear that their footwear is safe and imply the problem is with the escalators. A spokeswoman from the company (which manufacture 6 million pairs a month - God help us) said "The popularity of our shoes has helped draw attention to a long-existing issue that we think is very important -- escalator safety,"

Crocs were in discussion with the Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation and apparently agreed to design a tag inside its shoes and set up kiosks in shopping malls to inform people about escalator safety. But it never happened.

CrocsDC'ist are all for an out and out ban of Crocs on the subway: "Why can't we prohibit what people wear? We already prohibit behavior on Metro, like eating and drinking, solely for the sake of cleanliness — requiring riders to abandon their Crocs for the sake of saving us from having to look at those ugly-ass shoes safety seems all the more rational. We often shake our fingers at Nannyism on the part of the D.C. Council, but if this isn't a cause worthy of that legislative body's penchant for keeping us safe through telling us how to live our lives, we don't know what is. Ban Crocs Today!"

I'm not sure if the sign above from Jakarta is real or photo-shopped but it's a cracking idea and Boris or Ken would get my vote next year if they could stamp out Croc wearing on the London Underground.

Big thanks to Martin Deutsch for giving me the heads up on this story. There must be some Croc wearers out there who can come to the defence of the Croc (Fimb where are you?!!). Although perhaps after hearing this tale you might think twice about Tube Croc wearing.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, August 08, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Tube Photo of the Week

Subterranean Post It Blues

The eagle eyed Chutney Bannister was celebrating his
photographic exhibition at Freud cafe bar gallery last night, when he caught one of the best Tube nutters I've seen.

Photo by Chutney Bannister

I take my hat off to Chutney here as I've seen this bloke a number of times at Leicester Square but whenever I've tried to surreptitiously take a picture of him he does the same - takes his hat off. Or a least turns away very sharply so I can't take a picture.

God alone knows why this man thinks Veronica Wadley (editor of the Evening Standard) is the only person who gives you the rights to look like lunatic. I'm sure she's got better things to do with her time than granting "approval" for you to stick notices in your woolly hat. Also I don't think she'd approve of her underwear preferences being broadcast to late night commuters.

I'd love to see our man at Leicester Square's new notices. There's definitely more to come as you can see he's sporting what looks like an enlarged Post-It notepad. Perhaps he's going to restyle himself on Bob Dylan (a la Subterranean Homesick Blues) and we'll see him busking one day, ripping off notes to accompany the lyrics to a song.

If you manage to spot him on your journey and he keeps his hat on for you, please send the photo my way.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, August 07, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Subway Map 2.0

Many thanks to
Tami Brisset (our favourite New Orleans cop) for giving me heads up to a map based on Tokyo's subway map which attempts to chart the interconnected-ness and relative popularity of the internet's top 200 websites

Detail from Information Architect's Web 2.0 Subway Map

It's produced by Information Architects and you can see the map in its full glory on their site together with downloads in various sizes and a clickable online version with links to all the sites.

This is their second version of the map, and if you know the Tokyo subway map there's a number of in-jokes relating to the lines. For example "Google has moved from Shibuya, a humming place for young people, to Shinjuku, a suspicious, messy, Yakuza-controlled, but still a pretty cool place to hang out (Golden Gaya)..... Yahoo is in Ueno, a nice place but nothing going on there......Skype has conquered a place that doesn’t exist."

The six-month weather forecast is based on whether outlook is looking bright or stormy for the companies. Look out for a updated map due in December 2007.

Excellent find and if only someone would do the same based on London's Tube Map - you could have some new movers and shakers such as twitter, moo and joost appearing on the new DLR extension and see if they move to the Central Line next year.

; Posted by annie mole Saturday, August 04, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, August 03, 2007

London Underground Fashion Victims

Fashion Victims on the Tube

Friday and time for another glance at the Tube Fashion Victims, TFV's or commuters spotted on the Underground where Trinny & Susannah would be having a field day.

Paris on the Tube

These girls were really going all out for TFV mode. We have the gold strappy gladiator sandals and of course the ubiquitous Uggs making an entrance. Their poor little arms are fairly laden down with some oversized handbags:

Micro Dog

But if you look closely at the girl on the left with the gold sandals, you'll see she's carrying a micro furry friend.

Paris' pooch on the Tube

I managed to zoom in on the Paris look-a-like when we got to platform level and then we can see the little pooch in all their glory. He or she is the perfect accessory for Tube Fashion Victim and also helps you to obey the Tube rule on escalators that "Dogs Must be Carried".

Croc Decorations

The Croc (the bastard love child of the wellington and the sandal) is definitely this year's Ugg, but this is the first time I've ever seen decorations for them.

Croc decorations

Is someone really making a business out of adornments for Crocs, or did this woman find some plastic flowers & butterflies and think it would be good idea to use up some of the holes in her Crocs?

That's it for now. The previous victims can be found here and the complete picture gallery can be seen on the following Flickr set.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, August 03, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Tube Pub Crawl takes Five Years

and test your Tube Pub skills

On this blog you've read about many Tube challenges where people travel round
all 275 London Underground stations as quickly as possible. It may be just stations in zone 1 or stations that follow the alphabet, but now three guys (a professional poker player, a risk analyst & a web designer) have completed their quest to have a drink in the nearest pub to every tube station but it's taken them five years to complete!

They finished their pub crawl at North Ealing just before midnight on last Thursday, slightly bleary eyed as they completed 16 stations in that day alone.

Professional poker player Ian Taylor said: "About five years ago we did the Victoria Line for a laugh, but we enjoyed it so much we decided to try and carry it on.

"We have had some really big days where we have done 18 stations, but the minimum we do is four and all of us have to be there for it to count

He continued "The furthest we had to walk to a pub was at Cannons Park, it took us 30 minutes and by that time we were almost at Edgware Road."

Ian was joined by Matt Slade and Ringo Greenwich.

Ian said: "I don't know what we're going to do now, it's going to leave a big hole in our lives."

Personally I think they should have made it more of a challenge and done it a bit faster. The circle line pub crawls (a couple are outlined here and here) involve visiting a pub nearest to each of the 27 stations on the line in one day. Technically if you can do 27 stations in one day - it should only take just over 10 days of serious drinking to do all 275. Perhaps something that takes five years, shouldn't really be classified as a "pub crawl" more like a "pub meander".

I'm probably being a bit churlish so in honour of the lads, here's a quick pub quiz based on the tube and drinking houses:

1. Name a Tube station that used to have a pub on its platform?

2. Who wrote a book where the main character regularly had a drink in Tube station pub before going home?

3. Give the name of ONE Tube station that shares its name with a pub? (there are at least five - don't show off and give all five)

4. Which pub is currently closest to a Tube station? (measured by pub entrance to station entrance)

5. One (or maybe even more than one) of the following pubs are NOT in an area covered by the Tube map - The Ferret & Trouserleg, The Queen's Head & Artichoke, The Frog & Nightgown, The Five Bells & Blade Bone or The World Turned Upside Down - which is it (or are they)?

There's a "Mind the Gap" beer spillage mat for the person who gets most answers correct and in the event of a tie - the winner will be randomly selected. Give your answers in the comments below.

Mind the Gap Spillage Beer Mat

You have until Sunday 5th August 11.59pm (UK Time) to make your guesses. Please leave an email address or website/blog so I can contact the winner for their address.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, August 02, 2007 Permalink COMMENT HERE