Londonisation: Tube-ulant Travel Titbits

I’m loathe to say “titbits”, but I did…. so deal with it. Someone like Pagey (good on ya mate) will probably point out another, equally alliterative, term I could have used that sounded more… heterosexual. And for that I can only re-enforce the scarcity of resources available to my entire voluntary editorial staff of one. And for that I won’t, nor will I ever, apologise. Sorry…. aaaarrgghhh, damnit.

Anyhow, without further ado (much of which is about “nothing”) I thought I’d start rambling on about life in London through the eyes of… well, MY eyes. Some of y’all will nod agreeably, maybe even take a moment to holler “amen to that sister!”, while some of you may be flippant in your disagreement and whinge about possible unfair treatment in my digressive vernacular (Boom! Thank you synonyms finder), in which case you may well be too experienced in London life and most likely have adopted the tendency to jump at the slightest chance to have a good old whinge (It is definitely a stereotype of mother-land natives that is well-founded and anecdotally documented). For the rest of you (who have yet to experience London living) it may prove mildly interesting and maybe even slightly informative…

The Tube (or Underground) is revered as a phenomenal engineering success by many Londoners. That’s discounting the ongoing “signal issues”, which result in delays or temporary closures, and the line “upgrades” & “maintenance” which occur most weekends. This leads me to believe that whatever engineering genius that founded the first subterranean train – way back when “gay” meant happy – didn’t quite build the bulletproof machine that they intended (In stark contrast, Londoners, depending on their mood or the weather [which are directly correlated] are also quick to whinge about these malfunctions). But, in light of New Zealand’s piss-poor public transport system, it’s fair to say that having the ability to get anywhere easily, within greater London, and without crawling through traffic thicker than a North English accent, in a privately-owned vehicle, is pretty darned handy. Even if it involves forfeiting the cost of a good night out.

The newbie novelty factor of navigating this never-ending network lasts all of a few trips. Then, once the leisurely nature of your initial, touristy ventures are replaced by work-related rides of necessity, the monotony of cramming in with a thousand others (even the proverbial sardines would joke about being able to “swing a cat” or “land a 747″… not that any self-respecting sardine would joke about cats…) for the purpose of getting somewhere you’d rather not go (E.g. Top Shop) gets… old. As a side note, it’s not an exaggeration to state that the amount of unidentifiable black stuff that comes out of my nasal passage, after having ridden the Tube for all of 20 minutes, would make any health professional cringe.

The lighter side of all of this is the convenience and the regularity of services. Most Tube lines run every 1-5 minutes, anticipated closures are broadcast well ahead of time and I have actually seen evidence of new paintwork following one of the aforementioned “maintenance”-related stoppages. There is also the huge range of commuters that participate in this daily, underground migration – corporate types suited up in thousands of ££’s worth of business attire, tourists touting “Primark”, “Top Shop” and “H&M” shopping bags, grandmas gingerly stepping off and on (minding the “gap”) the platform, over-protective boyfriends protecting their attractive girlfriends with menacing stares, entire Indian (I’m not being racist… this is fact) families piling into carriages complete with a months worth of groceries (some crammed into whatever part of the accompanying pram that is not filled with baby/toddler/grandma)… not to mention the tap-dancing homeless people, the fresh-from-an-Arsenal-win football fans…..

“This is a Picadilly Line to Cockfosters“… snigger

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