Monday, 10 December 2007

Going Underground

I was in London last week, feeling rather bad for intruding on TV producers I admire just after they’d been to Verity Lambert’s funeral.
On the Wednesday morning I was feeling particularly bad having been forced to drink lots of beer in a pub by a Celtic fan and a surprisingly supportive Rangers following mate of his, while we watched two football games simultaneously the night before.

It was thus in a slightly befuddled state I got on the tube at the dog end of rush hour on Wednesday morning, which as you may know always turns into a particularly uncomfortable, sweaty summer’s day however cold it might be outside. Rammed up against the yellow line of death by a wall of bodies behind I waited for a pair of tube train doors to open near enough me that I could mince myself up sufficiently to fit in the remaining gaps inside.

It took four goes, all under the baleful eye of a St Trinian’s poster which made the whole place seem uncomfortably sexualised for such close contact with strangers (I thought the Tube had rules about sexual imagery in advertising- maybe grown women in pinafores with their stocking tops too low doesn’t count as sexual imagery? Probably not. There always seems to be posters of someone from Chicago covered only in thin mesh, black lingerie and lots of old chewing gum on the tube when I get on, which is fairly perverse even without the face full of Wrigleys).

Anyhow, on the third go a man started shouting “I’ve got to get on! I’ve got to get on!” and forcing his way through the crowds, committing the cardinal sin of not waiting for the passengers to alight before attempting to fill their air space. An older chap by him said “We all have,” quite politely.
The first man replied “Yeah, you’ve got to get to work- my mother’s dying! I’ve got to get to hospital!” and rammed himself in the gap by the door where you have to bend backwards like Rigsby to avoid being caught when the train moves off.
As the doors shut a glowering minute or so after, he called out to the man on the platform “I hope you get the sack!” in a rather pathetic, and, I thought, petty way, but maybe just kind of forgivable in the state he was in.
I hope he got to his mum in time because otherwise that venom is probably lingering in him still. The whole experience was pretty troubling.

Some people must live with that much every day.
I got off at Tottenham Court Road, and slowly got back to a kind of safe feeling body temperature and social distance walking into Soho where I met up with a producer who restored some of my faith in the capital and nearly forget about that man’s rage underground.
Back down there again tomorrow, fingers crossed for more of the fun bits..

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