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Annie Mole's, daily web log (blog) & “guide” to the London Underground
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on the London Underground.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween on the Tube

Tonight's the night on the London Underground to look out for people with colour drained from their faces, walking zombies and those who've lost the will to live (and no, I'm not referring to the people stuck on the Central Line this morning).  It's Halloween.

Zombies on the Tube

I spotted these very well kitted out Halloween party goers on Saturday afternoon, clearly getting into the spirit of things quite early. I liked how the guy on the right looked slightly like an old school ticket inspector, checking to see if the undead had still paid the right fares.

Look out for ghosts, ghouls and other Shaun of the Dead extras on your journey tonight and also for people studiously trying to ignore them.

You might also like
Scary Tube Books for All Hallow's Read
Tube Thriller Video

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, October 31, 2012 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, October 29, 2012

James Bond Street

Following on from the various "guerilla" London Underground stickers that have been spotted across the network, here's a less than subtle transformation.  Someone seems to have taken to heart, the fact that some of the new James Bond film is set on the Tube.

James Bond street by NViktor

N Vikor spotted this at Bond Street yesterday & uploaded to Londonist's Flickr Pool. It looks like it's an opportunist piece of work rather than some official promo for the film. Although I do wonder why the Bond Empire haven't done something around this station. If it was good enough for Sherlock Holmes, surely it's good enough for Mr Bond

Baker Street Tube was temporarily re-tiled last December for the 2nd Holmes film & previously a Robert Downey Jnr wax work model had its home at the station too.

You might also like:
Baker Street Tube gets "re-tiled" for new Sherlock Holmes Film
Should TfL allow rebranded Tube Stations?
Spoof London Underground Stickers "Craze"

; Posted by annie mole Monday, October 29, 2012 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Free Hangover on Board Badge

For those times when you feel a little delicate, some bright sparks - Johnny and Angus - have come up with a way to tell fellow commuters to treat you carefully.  They've released some free "
Hangover on Board" badges for London Underground travellers.

Hangover on Board Badge

I'm pretty certain they won't guarantee you a seat (not that the TfL's official Baby on Board badges actually do this either), but you never know they might stop those eternal optimistics who tell you to "cheer up, it might never happen". Rather than saying "it already has", you can scowl at them and point at your badge.

If there are people who are playing their iPods too loudly, you might also be able to glare at them and point at your badge.

Be warned that the "Hangover on Board" site is not actually to be looked at when you have a hangover, as there's some flashing moquette backgrounds on it which will make you want to click the button to get your free badge pretty sharpish.

You might also like
Baby on Board Badges - How big should they be?
Baby on Board inspired Tube Badges

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, October 24, 2012 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Friday, October 19, 2012

Tube Roundel Re-mixed

Look out for a new book by Art on the Underground & Art / Books to be published on 22nd October.  We've seen a number of "re-mixed" or "mashed up" Tube maps.  In
The Roundel: 100 Artists Remake a London Icon, the title reveals all as one hundred international artists have re-imagined the London Underground icon through photography, drawings, paintings, collage, sculpture and print.

The Roundel Poster at Holborn Tube

The new book has an introductory essay by design & architecture critic Jonathan Glancey who looks back to the formation of the Roundel & its typeface a century ago & considers why it's had such an impact not just in London but also globally across cities including Kuala Lumpur, Salt Lake City, Shanghai and Osaka

Variety of London Underground Logos and Roundels

Claire Dobbin, former curator at London Transport Museum, also discusses the artistic uses of the symbol in from earlier decades.  Created by calligrapher Edward Johnston and transport manager Frank Pick in 1908,
the ‘bar and the circle’ as the Roundel was originally known, was originally introduced to highlight station names on platform walls amidst the chaos of commercial advertising posters.

One of the artists Juneau Projects said of their roundel artwork, Cockades of the Revolutionaries: "The Roundel, for us, is a symbol of anticipation and relief, a silent travelling companion, whether outward or homeward bound. A travelcard becomes a canvas for daydreaming of moles and guitars impossibly torn from its surface."

The book will also have a launch event with a panel discussion on Tuesday 30th October at 7pm at the Hochhauser Auditorium, Sackler Centre, V&A Museum.  Chaired by Jonathan Glancey, several artists who contributed to the book will be on hand to answer questions and throw light on the inspiration for their work. Find out more on Art on the Underground's site.

You might also like

Tracey Emin designs Tube Map Cover for Olympic Games period

; Posted by annie mole Friday, October 19, 2012 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Poppy Wrapped Tubes & Announcements for Remembrance Day

Look out for Poppy wrapped London Underground Circle Line trains this year as proposals have been put forward to acknowledge Remembrance Day across the transport network.

Central line 92 stock with Red Poppy
Photo by Julian Gajewski

In addition to the Circle line train wrapping, an Overground train and up to two buses will be covered with poppy livery. Normally I've only seen people selling poppies at Tube stations but this year there will also be "announcements to recognise the invaluable contribution of service men and women in London have made to the protection of Greater London and its inhabitants, communicating this to Londoners and others using the transport network who may not ordinarily be aware of the sacrifices made."

It looks as though 50 Tube stations will carry announcements by Barbara Windsor and ads will be displayed at Westminister Tube promoting TfL’s war veterans’ fares concession.  There are also plans for poppies to be displayed on the front and side of every Tube, DLR and London Overground train.

TfL will bear the cost (approximately £210,000) for the activities & advertising which will run up until 30th November 2012.  Full details are on
Greater London Authority's website.

<Caledonian Tube Artist Kim for Remembrance Day
I thought the justification in the GLA's memo for doing this was interesting, "With the passage of time and with the prominence of other matters, be it the state of the global economy, house prices or the alledged activities of the press, it is easy for Londoners to forget the invaluable contribution service men and women have made to and for the protection of London, Londoners and to the way of life to which we have become accustomed".

Although I wonder why this is the first year (correct me if I'm wrong) that this has happened?

Related posts
Cally Road Tube artist for Remembrance Day
Jubilee Wrapped Tube Trains launched for Diamond Jubilee

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, October 16, 2012 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Spoof London Underground Stickers "Craze"

Welcome if you arrived to my blog from the BBC's article on the
Guerilla Sticker Craze on the Tube and thanks to Andy Dangerfield for interviewing me about it.  As I said in the article, these stickers have actually been around on the London for many years in some shape or form, but recently they have become much more inventive.

They've moved from the subtle No Talking, No Eye Contact and No Sitting (I first saw these back in 2004)

No sitting 

To more imaginative ways of displaying our frustration with not being able to get seats on the Tube

Peak Hours may mean lap sitting by Whatleydude
Spotted by @Whateleydude in 2008

My favourites are the non graphical ones as they actually do blend into the commute more. 

Emergency Tube Margarita taken by Stuart Clary
Spotted by Stuart Clary in 2004

However, the inventiveness of the Stickers on the Central Line series which first started appearing last year took things to a new level with an accompanying blog and commentary

From Stickers on the Central Line

I love the explanation for Lille: "It is a little known fact that between Woodford and Buckhurst Hill there is a lightly used tunnel which provides London Underground commuters direct access to the Paris Metro. Providing you’re not in a hurry, you can just sit back (if you can find a seat), relax and simply show your passport when the border guards pass through the train."

The stickers have also made their way onto other trains in London such as the Gatwick Express

Spotted on the Gatwick Express

As Andy points out in his article there are some websites around that are selling the stickers, and now that the "craze" has been published in The Sun today & on Mashable in the US, one can only imagine there will be even more interest and even more inventiveness in the creations.

If you spot any more on your journeys, let me know.

You might also like
Spoof Stickers on the Central Line
Cheer up the Tube stickers in the Wild
Emergency Margaritas on the Tube
Subway Advisory Notices
A Wish for the Tube
Sitting not allowed - Penalty £200 

; Posted by annie mole Thursday, October 11, 2012 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Folding Tube Maps

Here's something to pass away the time on a London Underground journey.  Matt Scroggs has taken up the task of
folding Tube maps into interesting geometric shapes with some nice results.

He said "after re-reading chapter two of Alex's Adventures in Numberland (where Alex learns to fold business cards into tetrahedrons, cubes and octohedrons) on the tube, I folded two tube maps into a tetrahedron"

Sometimes in pubs I used to spend time folding empty crisp packets into shapes (don't judge me!), so I can see how Tube map folding could become rather addictive.  Perhaps it will take on & we'll see people folding maps with the same intensity as being invovled in a Sudoku puzzle.

Matt has moved on from one map to using a number of maps, which you can see on his blog. He is also spreading the joy by leaving the folded creations on the map holder at the end of his journey

"Each time I take the Tube, I am going to fold a tetrahedron from two maps and leave it on the maps when I leave the tube. I started this yesterday, leaving a tetrahedron on the maps at South Harrow. In the evening, it was still there.  How often do you think I will return to find a tetrahedron still there? I will be keeping a tetrahedron diary so we can find out the answer to these most important questions...:

Hat tip to IanVisits who found Matt's blog

; Posted by annie mole Tuesday, October 09, 2012 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Oxford Circus Central Line Interchange Changes?

Can anyone help with the strange interchanges at Oxford Circus London Underground or the Direct Access to Central Line Conundrum.
London Lass sent me an email about some puzzling goings on at the station last night.  She wrote: 

"Why I am putting fingers to my keyboard, is I was hoping you might be able to shed some light about what's going on at Oxford Circus Tube Station. 

Photo by mattbuck4950
On arriving at the station last night I was greeted by a blocked off accessway (that usually takes you to a little escalator which whisks you down on to the Central Line platforms) covered with a plethora of construction and planning notices. 

An LUL member of staff was standing next to the blocked off accessway so I asked him what was going on? He replied, dont worry, the Central Line was still working. Ok so why has the usual accessway been blocked off?, I chirruped back. He replied that it was nothing for me to worry about. Oh, well is it works being carried out?, I chirruped further. Escalator, he chimed back, follow the notices on the way for alternative route to the Central Line. 

And do you want to know how long it takes to use their `alternative' route (esp. in the middle of rush hour)? Another 5-10 minutes on your journey (depending on how fast you walk) as it takes you to another bank of escalators, on to the southbound Bakerloo Line platform, which you then have to walk down, exit, walk on further, round and round, and then walk up and down steps, until you finally manage to come full circle to reach the Central Line platforms. 

Aside from the odd disgruntled comment on Twitter I havent been able to find any reference to these works on-line (not even on LU's website) and wondered if you might have any information on how long this accessway/escalator will be closed down for?"

If anyone knows what this is about or how long it's going on for please let us know.

Update - Just heard from TfL's Press Office who said "Due to planned escalator maintenance work, the single escalator that leads down to the Central line platforms will be out of service to passengers. Customers wanting to use the Central line from Oxford Circus will be directed to alternate routes around the station by staff and signage that is up at the station. The works which commenced this week are due to be completed by early November. We apologise to customers for any disruption this may cause to their journeys."  So now we know.

; Posted by annie mole Wednesday, October 03, 2012 Permalink COMMENT HERE

Monday, October 01, 2012

70 Tube Stations in One Picture Quiz

How many London Underground stations can you find in the picture below?  Someone has made an excellent montage of a street scene filled with puns of Tube station names.  Apparently there are 70 in total!

The full image is in the link here, and should keep you busy for a while!  Many thanks to @NewburyNewbie (who originally found this on News of the Unreal) for sending this my way. The answers may (at some stage) be revealed at the #lookforlonger site & a number of people have seen this as a poster at Tube stations too.

You might also like

; Posted by annie mole Monday, October 01, 2012 Permalink COMMENT HERE