Posts Tagged Subway
It’s been eight months since I last shared a reason to hate the Tube. In that time, the mechanical behemoth has continued to plod along; left stations with doors open, closed large portions of the network and struggled to cope with mosquito swarms. At least it wasn’t looted.
Anyway, Rain. We don’t get a lot in England and us Brits certainly don’t talk about the weather a lot. Summer 2011 has been a scorcher – a spectacular display of su…
Oh, who are we kidding? It’s been pants and in particular, the extremely damp kind. Why is rain particularly bad for the Tube? Surely being in an enclosed carriage, metres beneath the earth makes the whole issue of rain defunct, right?
Wrong. People stop walking. Tourists in particular are renowned for their ant-like behaviour – back to the safety of the hill! It only takes a single drop to overload the Tube with soggy armpits. It’s hot in the tunnels, and having dripping businessmen rub up against you is hardly the most enjoyable of situations.
Not only that, everyone runs around with gigantic umbrellas – the branded, golf kind that shout “I went to an Insurance trade show and all I got was this lousy umbrella”. They’re massive – you could do a pole-vault with them, they’re so big. They’re particularly adept at poking people’s legs and eyes still coated in the acid rain that London inevitably produces.
So in a moving greenhouse that’s the Circle Line, rain above ground is the last thing you want in August. Everyone’s jetted off to whatever poolside retreat suits them – it should be a clear run. The commute should take 40 minutes as opposed to over an hour. Everyone has a seat. August is nice on the Tube, even with the 63 degree heat and the swarms of families standing in doorways and on the right.
Except it’s not. It keeps raining and people keep catching the Tube from Leicester Square to Covert Garden. Climate change – what a washout theory.
Despite my love of the Underground and photography, I rarely mix both together. Last Friday when I was heading home on a late train (around 11PM), I got the camera out. I often read about ways to improve your photography and challenge your conventions. Obviously picking a niche and honing your craft is a good way to do it (I think I’m slowly getting there).
Sticking to a single focal length, area, lens or photography type are other ways. So constrained to a Tube carriage I tried to look at different angles, shapes and things in the train to come up with some work. Not my most impressive work, but still pretty cool – that bee was gigantic by the way, it was scaring what little passengers were on the train.
All work is under copyright.
3.4 billion. That’s right; you read correctly, that’s billion not million. That’s how many yearly journeys take place on the London Underground and bus network. 4 million people get the tube a day. The amount yearly is equivalent to the entire UK overland rail network. It’s proof that while the rest of the country continues to struggle to pull itself out of recession, the capital still remains the powerhouse it’s always been.
You might hate the Tube, there are plenty reasons why you should, but negativity is counterproductive. This is a rail network built in the 1830s and it’s the lifeline of so many Londoners. Chugging away, despite the best efforts of strikes, signal failures and broken trains, it marches on.
Investment, which is on its way, is crucial as its capacity is already at maximum and numbers are continuing to rise. It’s the busiest network in the world by a mile – an astonishing achievement for such a small country. New York lags behinds while Paris’ figures are pitiful.
So here’s to London Underground and its continued success. The fun has only begun, especially with the Olympics on the way in 2012. Regular commuters may be used to the daily pain, but showcasing London’s prowess to the world means the network upgrades have to be completed by then.
TFL may have already won the silver, now they just need to go for the gold.
So it turns out I’m a psychic. Earlier this week I continued the ‘Reasons To Hate The Tube’ blog series and talked about the pettiness that accompanies armrests. Yesterday I had a mild encounter with a woman who asked me to shunt off one. Granted she only had access to one, but with the other to my right already taken, I was already comfortable.
These things happen. I wasn’t imposing on her personal space and there was plenty of space left for her to position her arm. Still, it’s never that easy and she wanted the whole thing. I impolitely told her it was only an armrest and to shove it. You could tell it was coming – when she got on the tube she looked down at my longer-than-most legs with utter disgust as if I was imposing upon her royal highness’ being.
I have a novel idea for another blog series to go hand in hand with the usual posts. It’ll be a paragraph accompaniment with the aim of getting the wonderful people on Twitter involved. I’m going to highlight once a day why an individual is worth following.
It may as well be a chronological account that’ll hopefully replace the redundant Follow Friday.
Expect a couple photo One A Day entries coming up. Contrary to what was written, I’m really enjoying OAD at the moment and am going to try to go for the whole stretch. Japan will be difficult, as will Italy in the summer where there isn’t any WiFi.
Source: IanVisits Flickr
Having proclaimed that my favourite 2010 game was Red Dead: Redemption, I’ve come to the conclusion that it wasn’t. That illustrious award deserves to be handed to little known classic, The Armrest. For those who are unaware of the ‘Kinect compatible’ title, all you need to play The Armrest is a London Underground train, preferably filled to the brim with commuters, and your own body.
Whatever your combat style, the uneven number of armrests on a Northern line train guarantees all sort of arm-based conflict. Picture the scene. Relaxed and comfortable having claimed a seat – a thing rarer that Bigfoot and ET’s lovechild – you’re doing your very best to avoid eye contact.
A single bullet might have sparked the First World War, but you can bet good money that more conflict has been caused by the humble armrest. They’re the TFL equivalent of a country’s borders, and like its real world counterpart, often subject to vicious battles concerned with who owns what.
Let’s look at the top two fighting styles:
1. The Bulldozer – Drifting in and out of consciousness, wrapped in the warm embrace of the regurgitated air that wafts staley through the carriages, you’re awoken by an artillery strike of businessman. Black Coat, gigantic umbrella, huffy sigh. He collapses in the seat next to you.
He’s the worst of the worst – a rhinosaurus with a temper. He doesnt care that youre taking up a mere inch of the rest, he wants it all. His sheer size is enough reason to move, the glancing looks empty enough to chill you to the bone.
With such a large size behind him, the best solution is to play the brains card. Sarcastically say, loud enough so the entire carriage hears, “Oh, did you want the armrest, I’m happy to give it to you if you’d just ask politely.” Not only will he yield to your words, he’ll also look like a petty man and instantly become coy in response the judgemental stares that will be heading his way.
2. The Nudger - These are less obvious and they’re a more difficult beast to deal with. They sit down, often silently and sit with their arms on their laps. They’ll then pull out their paper which signals, “I need room to turn these gigantic sized pages.” They’ll then lightly nudge your arm, rhythmically increasing the pressure they’re exerting. They’ll pretend they don’t know they’re doing it, but they know. They always know.
The best way to combat the subtlety of their attack is to take a counter-loud punch to their subversive efforts. Turn to them, look them dead in the eye and shout: “DO YOU MIND!” That’ll quickly put them in their place.
Players generally fall into the above two categories, often using a combination of the two approaches to go for the win. Give it a go sometimes, it works – especially on a Monday morning.