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Annie Mole's, daily web log (blog) & “guide” to the London Underground
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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tube Seat Etiquette

Well placed spoof sticker spotted by
Version-3-point-1 on priority seating:

187.365.2010 by version3point1

Last week, I offered my seat to a woman who was clearly pregnant. As well as saying thank you, she also loudly said "Isn't it funny how it's always women who offer up their seats". I imagine it was to shame the many other seated men who hadn't offered their seats & I muttered a rather embarrassed "Spose so".

A few stops further down the line the seat behind me became free. I was about to move myself into it, when a man, who seemed to fall into the "drunks less able to stand" category, plopped himself into the seat.

In London Underground seat chasing selfishness, this took the biscuit. Both me & pregnant lady gave him hard Paddington stares. His seated mate (who had ignored the pregnant woman earlier), said "Oi give that seat up, there's ladies standing". Thinking I was about to get a seat back, another woman behind me leapt at the opportunity & grabbed the seat when he got up.

Leaning against the pole in the middle of the carriage, I then had drunk man, closely behind me, reading The Standard, over my shoulder. I was in the middle of a crossword puzzle and have never been more tempted to write the words "IDIOT", "BUFFOON" and much ruder words on my paper for him to see.

I really felt like I'd been the victim of bad Tube Seat Etiquette. Ignoring the fact that I'd given up my seat in the first place - isn't there an unspoken rule that people who're on the train before you get first dibs at empty seats? Should the woman behind me, have said "No you first"? Shouldn't drunken seated mate have also got up and offered us both seats - rather than chastising his mate for sitting? Am I being super sensitive over this?

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, July 29, 2010 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tube Daydreaming turned into art

We all day dream on the London Underground. There's plenty of time when you're paper-less, book-less or iPod-less to stare into space. So, now
Art on the Underground have commissiond Daria Martin to produce some artworks based on the simple question "What have you been daydreaming about on the Tube?"

Tube people 4
Tube people 4 by Ben Hammersley

"Travelling underground, or spending any length of time there, is not a natural human inclination. Martin wanted to find out to what extent people travelling on the Tube use self imposed psychological tricks on themselves as a distraction from the reality of being under the ground. It seems that one thing people do is to mentally transport themselves elsewhere, into the realms of fantasy." said Art on the Underground.

Freud would probably have a field day with what goes on in people's minds when underground, so it's fitting that Martin has taken objects from his desk - whilst visiting the Freud museum - and combined them with the day dream responses to make posters. These will be on display across the Tube network from mid-August onwards.

"Daria Martin's daydream survey is an attempt to present these fleeting images 'en masse' as a way of revealing surprising, or critical, aspects of the way we live our city based lives and how we deal with everyday situations."

Some of the daydreams reported by travellers on the Jubilee line are represented here. You're invited to add yours to the collection or just see what's behind those "blank looks" on the Tube.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, July 27, 2010 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, July 26, 2010

Roundels not on the London Underground

The collection of Tube roundels not in their normal home continues to grow, as you've been kindly spotting them on your travels both in the UK and abroad.

Starting in Manchester and spotted by Richard & John

Grand Central by Richard & John

"It's the Grand Central complex in Stockport, Greater Manchester. It's a grotty, whiffy sort of low-intensity leisure & business area, and is supposed to be due for demolition so they can replace it with something even worse, but we love the roundel. The top semicircle has a representation of the railway viaduct over the River Mersey, and underneath is a bowling ball and wavy lines for the bowling alley and HIDEOUS swimming pool."

Then on their travels further afield:

Station Studio - Mallorca by Richard & John

Richard writes "This one's in Mallorca, about one-third of the way between Palma and Soller, on the railway. I haven't a clue what goes on in there, our train didn't stop there, but it was great to be surprised by a roundel while abroad!"

One much closer to home from Mark: "This one must have been around for a while 'cos I passed it yesterday but being without camera found it on Google StreetView. It says 'Finchley & Totteridge'."

Finchley and Totteridge by Mark

Moving further afield Anno Superstar spotted the roundel in a record shop in Stockholm
Record Store in Stockholm by Anno Superstar

Finally, thanks to Rebecca Caroe for spotting this in Dunedin New Zealand

Metro Bar - Dunedin, New Zealand by Rebecca Caroe

Many thanks to all for being so observant and if you have any pictures of roundels seen in odd places outside of the London Underground, please send them my way and I'll blog the best. Until next time the full collection of Tube roundels outside their home is here.

; Posted by annie mole Monday, July 26, 2010 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Grey hair is a sign of greatness on the Tube

Occasionally I'm greeted by proverbs of the day at my London Underground station. I'm assuming the person who wrote this one has more than a few grey hairs himself.

Kew Gardens Tube - Proverb of the Day  by Annie Mole

Little piece of advice too - check your spelling before putting up messages about being wise. Otherwise nice thoughts and I'm sure it will keep those of us with grey hair happy.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, July 22, 2010 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tube Photo of the Week - Angel Tube Cat

Not only is this a lovely shot of a cat outside a London Underground station, it's also a lovely story. I'll let the photographer,
Stuff n Nonsense, explain:

The Big Issue Cat by Suff n Nonsense
The Big Issue Cat by Stuff n Nonsense

"There's a Big Issue seller who has a pitch in the afternoons outside Angel Tube station.

A while ago, he found a stray cat with a badly bust up leg, so being a kindly soul, he took the cat along to an animal shelter to get it sorted out. He wasn't expecting them to tell him when the cat was healed, he was to take the cat back with him - but that's what they said and that's what happened.

The cat became incredibly attatched to its rescuer and would try to follow the man whenever he went out. Realising that cats do what they want, the man gave up trying to get the cat to stay home and allowed it to come with him and these days the cat will be sat outside the station as the man sells copies of the magazine, calmly guarding the takings and
posing for photos.

I don't think you could meet a more calm tempered cat if you tried

He or she is certainly the closest I've seen to a contender for Japan's station master cat, who's also happy to pose for photos & brings in huge revenue for the station.

Great spot by Stuff n Nonsense and thanks to him for finding out & sharing the backstory.

Update - The cat's called Bob and Alexey Kovalev interviewed his owner outside Angel Tube in the video below, where you can see Bob posing happily for pictures and learn what happens when he wants a loo break!

Update 4th August 2011
- Bob has a Book Deal

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, July 20, 2010 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, July 19, 2010

Super hero uses elbows to cool Tube

Following on from last week's announcement that the budget to cool Tube carriages on the London Underground has been
slashed by £10m, a drinks company, have decided to make a stunt around this by creating FanMan.

Emmi FanMan cools down a woman on the tube - Photo David Parry/PA
Photo: David Parry

It might look like FanMan is about elbow the woman in the face, but apparently he has cooling equipment in his sleeves.

Apparently the Emmi FanMan, is a six-foot fan-wielding super-hero, using "state of the art technology to blast those around him with a refreshing jet of cool air" . Look out for him on the Tube in the next few days.

Emmi FanMan said "I’m just someone who wanted to make a difference. In a world where heat exhaustion, dehydration and profuse sweating are rife I knew I couldn’t just stand by and watch any longer. Commuting is an exhausting business but coupled with the crippling heat of a packed tube carriage it becomes unbearable. I’m there for people in their time of need."

FanMan’s helpers will also be handing out cold Emmi Caffe Latte at several Tube station entrances.

Let's hope they focus on the Piccadilly, Northern, Central, Bakerloo and Waterloo and City lines, as these lines are marked as high risk on a LU "Passenger heat strain" map. They're the lines that are the highest risk to people should they become stuck on a stalled train.

; Posted by annie mole Monday, July 19, 2010 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, July 16, 2010

Daily Mail as Tube Map

Ever wondered what subjects for Daily Mail articles would look like as a London Underground map? Probably not, but the guys from
PokeHQ have and it makes for a fun read. Follow the link here for map in full and names of the lines, such as PC Gone Mad, Medical Scares and Arch Enemies.

click to see full map from Poke

They said: "Speculation that The Daily Mail's success was down to a top secret formula started in the late eighties, but it was dismissed as Fleet Street legend along with the real parentage of the Hitchens brothers and that thing Una Stubbs is into. Though such explicit mapping of the newspaper’s friends and enemies have set tongues wagging, the main surprise seems to have been the bizarre use of the underground system. Reports that The Daily Star’s secret formula is based on the number 10 bus route remain unconfirmed."

Hat tip to the ever wonderful b3ta for finding this.

; Posted by annie mole Friday, July 16, 2010 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tour of abandoned Tube Station

Wonderful footage in this short film by the BBC where the London Underground's David Leboff, shows us
St Mary's Tube station in East London. The station was closed in 1938 and used as an air raid shelter in the 2nd World War, and rarely visited since.

Rare tour inside St Mary's abandoned Tube Station

The film is part of the Radio 4 London season and featured in The London Nobody Knows programme. It's going to fuel the interest of anyone fascinated by abandoned Tube stations. This is a hot topic at the moment as Ajit Chambers continues in his quest or re-opening disused Tube stations.

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, July 15, 2010 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Star Wars Subway Car

So people on the Tube ignore herds of
cows in suits, guys dancing to Michael Jackson and other stunts that we've seen on the London Underground over the years. How would they react to seeing Darth Vader? The crazy team who bought No Pants/Trousers Subway Day to the world, Improv Everywhere, decided to re-enact the first Princess Leia / Darth Vader scene from Star Wars in a New York City subway car.

Like them, I was amazed at how many people got out their camera phones and actually paid attention to this.

They said "One thing we learned is that almost every human will immediately take out their camera when they see Darth Vader. We've done lots of crazy missions on the subway over the years, but I have never seen so many people taking photographs of our performance. How can you not take a photo of Darth Vader? It's impossible to resist!"

Hat tip to @manima for spotting this. Will someone in London put ImprovEverywhere's thesis to the test? Can we rely on Tube commuters to studiously ignore Darth & Co?

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, July 14, 2010 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Cows on the Tube

Bringing a whole new meaning to cattle-class travel, commuters found themselves squashed against cows on the London Underground this morning.

moovement_022 by friendsoftheearth

A herd were seen gathering outside Euston station at 6.30am, who then ‘coMOOted’ on the Tube.

Moovement_013 by friendsoftheearth
Picture credits - Friends of the Earth

It was a stunt by Friends of the Earth volunteers to highlight the hidden chain linking meat and dairy to wildlife and rainforest destruction in South America. More information can be found at their site. A full set of pictures including the cows with copies of Moo'tro are on Flickr.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, July 13, 2010 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, July 12, 2010

Tube Photo of the Week - Free Hugs

Spotted at Waterloo London Underground station last week. "Free Hugs Here. Please ask a member of staff".

Seen at Waterloo Station by Wanyee

Wonder how many people took them up on their offer?

Thanks to Wanyee who apologises for the blurriness of the shot taken on his camera phone. It would have been just as blurry if I'd taken it, as I think I'd have been doing a double take & giggling from having seen it in the first place.

; Posted by annie mole Monday, July 12, 2010 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, July 09, 2010

Have you heard of West Ashfield Tube?

Yesterday, some London bloggers & Tube enthusiasts visited a fake London Underground station used for training. Both
IanVisits and London Reconnections have two great blog posts on the visit organised by The Institution of Engineering and Technology.

West Ashfield Tube by London Reconnections

London Reconnections kindly let me use the picture above and said:

"It would be easy to think that West Ashfield station was simply a visual gimic - something to enliven training sessions - but this is not the case. West Ashfield isn't just a decorated corridor, its a micro-station environment with a very clear purpose. It may contain a number of rooms and facilities that your average station doesn't (more on those later), but it also places trainees, when appropriate, in an atmosphere that is as similar as possible to that in which they may find themselves working."

Ianvisits told how they were "let loose on the system and told to basically run the the network, getting trains into platforms, slidings etc without causing traffic jams and the like.

The true purpose of the model train set though is to train staff on dealing with problems, and a simple flick of a switch can simulate any sort of network failure you care to imagine. It was here that we leant why it can sometimes take ages to get trains out of tunnels when things go wrong

Thanks to both for providing fascinating posts & photos!

; Posted by annie mole Friday, July 09, 2010 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Signs of Summer on the Tube

Could someone tell this guy it's meant to be London's hottest day of the year so far? Michelle spotted him this morning on the London Overground and he's clearly missed the memo. Perhaps he was feeling the air conditioning on these overground trains a little too much.

The girl on the left seemingly noted how hot it's going to get today. Where's the guy on the right been?!

Michelle said "The girl on the left seemingly noted how hot it's going to get today. Where's the guy on the right been?!".

Have you noticed any other appropriate or inappropriate hot weather clothing on the London Underground recently? How have you seen people dealing with the heat on the Tube

; Posted by annie mole Friday, July 09, 2010 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

July 7th - Five years on

Today you are going to see & hear much from a variety of news sources, blogs and websites about July the 7th. It's hard to know what to say right now, as so much was felt and reported at the time. This time five years ago, I was
blogging virtually every half an hour trying to keep people informed. Then for about a month or so following the horrible day, virtually every day's post was about the aftermath as the London Underground & travelling on it had changed so much.

Monument to the Victims of the London Bombings on July 7 by The Londoneer

However, we got on. We stopped looking suspiciously at people with rucksacks, or beards, or men of a particular race. We stopped being anxious every time a train got stuck in a tunnel. We stopped seeing pictures of people in Florida wearing "We're not afraid" T-Shirts. We began to travel on the Tube with the same "freedom" and in the same numbers that we did in the past.

July 7th 2005 changed me in a variety of ways, but fortunately I am still alive to be able to think and talk about those changes. Hopefully, this blog is able to make people think a little more about the Tube journeys they share with 3 million other people every day - the good things & the bad.

Today, many people will remember the 52 people who were killed. The permanent memorial in Hyde Park will probably be the focus. Floral tributes will be placed by relatives and friends of the dead at the five sites of the bombings.

Let's hope that today will mainly be a day without blame, or finger pointing. A day to remember those who lost their lives and also a day to support all those who were seriously injured, both physically & mentally. Ordinary commuters whose everyday Tube or bus journey turned into a nightmare. Please take some time out to think about them and their families.

I would love to hear your memories of Tube travel at the time, or if you have any personal thoughts on July 7th that you'd like to share.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, July 07, 2010 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

"New South London Line"

What do people actually call the new
East London Line? Officially it's all still London Overground. However, in a very jovial speech last night at City Hall, Boris Johnson addressed community groups in Lambeth, Southwark, Merton and Wandsworth and said that East London Line Phase 2 – will now to be referred to as the ‘New South London line'.

From the mood he was in, it was difficult to tell whether he was just playing to the South London audience or if the new part of the line would be called this.

SE1 recorded his speech and he starts talking about transport & the London Underground about six minutes in.

Plans for extension to Northern Line at Battersea Power Station Tour by Tiki Chris
Plans for extension to Northern Line at Battersea Power Station Tour by Tiki Chris

He acknowledged the lack of Tube services South of the river and said: "We have a vision to remedy the gap in provision on the Underground in South London, so we want to extend the Northern Line to Battersea, in fact, we want two new stations for Battersea". He claims this will be paid for by tax increment financing: "We go to the treasury and you allow us to finance this, against the future increment in the business taxes, in taxes that will come into the government as a result in the boom in the business that will be produced in Battersea."

He also mentioned extending the Bakerloo Line to South East London. He's been promising this for quite some time now and the idea was originally mooted in the 1940s. Many Londoners are sceptical as to whether it will ever happen and in his enthusiasm, Boris made no mention as to how this would be financed.

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, July 06, 2010 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Written in Tube Moquette

London Underground launched some new posters by kind of playing Magic Eye with words in Tube seats! There's a series of questions relating to "amazing and unusual things that have happened on the network over the last 150 years".

Spiral Escalator

Walford East

Tube nerds like me will know the answers to the questions, but it's nice to see some of the more weirder things about the system being promoted.


Roman Walls

If you want to know the answers and also see which lines the upholstery came from (I certainly didn't recognise all of the moquettes) visit http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tubeorfalse.

Speaking of moquette, Londonstuff went along to the Transforming the Tube exhibition at Aldgate on Monday, took some pictures & videos and saw some eye poppingly bright seats.

Moquette by londonstuf
Moquette by londonstuff

He said "A sign on the top said this is going to be fitted out on the Central Line and then across the entire fleet :("

Seriously?! These would be bad enough on the Central Line alone, but across the whole of the system? I love how each of the lines are distinguished by features like moquette and handrail colours. Is it a cost saving exercise? Wonder if we'll see more design uniformity now that the LU has ownership of all the London Underground Lines?

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, July 01, 2010 Permalink COMMENT HERE