Gotta love the Underground

29 January 2009

London Underground are, apparently, looking for love – stories of love. “Has someone on the Tube ever caught your eye? Did you take a chance on love and ask them out for a date? Did Cupid’s arrow strike and stick?”

Whether it’s a pre-valentines publicity stunt or a pre-redundancy love-in who knows, but some of the stories of Dave Hill’s blog have been particularly sweet, particularly the Guide Dog love story… (see comments section here – i have taken the liberty of copying the story below).

My favourite moment happened many years ago and would have been either the District Line or Hammersmith and City line as I got on at Aldgate East. There was a young blind woman seated with her guide dog in one of the seats that face each other. To the whole carriage’s delight a few stops further on a young blind man got on with his guide dog. We all watched with bated breath as the man’s guide dog made straight for the other guide dog, forgetting its professional deameanour in much waggy joy and forcing the blind man to sit opposite the woman who said ‘oh, is it another guide dog?’ and they started a conversation. There was a collective romantic sigh before the usual hustle and bustle started up again. But I like to think that a true romance or friendship blossomed from that meeting.

This slightly sickeningly-sweet story – much more so that Alan Hollighurst’s alternative ‘love’ on the Underground in The Swimming Pool Library(which I won’t go into detail on this blog but is far more lust than love, as you may be able to work out from the rather racey wikipedia entry linked above).

I’ve never had any such experiences myself, sadly. I guess the five- or ten-minute commute from central London to Camden town is not far enough to make lasting eye-contact and relationships on a crowded carriage, particularly when snugly nuzzled against the armpit of a businessman holding the grabrail above my head, as it often the case. But on a cramped underground railway carrying about three million people a day you can’t always help getting cosy with the person next to you – i guess the lesson is, if you possibly can, choose carefully who that may be…

Tales from the Tube

14 January 2009

Following my commitment to blog more I thought I’d make a decent start by linking to two other stories which I discovered about the tube.

I take the tube every working day of the week – sometimes more than twice and sometimes at weekends. Of course, living in Camden, I can avoid taking the tube at weekends more than most, instead option to travel above ground to most parts of London by bus, or train… The subterranean world always struck me as an odd place – tunnels where people are ferried from one place to another, particularly so in London where trains squeeze into tiny tunnels built, in some cases, over a century ago. It’s also a great leveller of society – morning rush hour with the businessman stood squashed in next to the cleaner, the drunk, the junkie, and the guy heading home from a hard nights clubbing who cannot stay awake and drunkenly knocks in to everyone around him.

Over the last 24 hours I’ve come across two different blog posts on the tube showing two completely seperate aspects but both looking at the human angle of the tunnels and trains.

The first, by Ben, about a woman on the Jubilee line and the ubiquitous Metro newspapers:

Well, I say read. It was more like her eyes just trickled randomly over its letters, failing to arrange them into anything more appealing before settling with a resigned frown upon Peter Mandelson’s nose. I took a few steps down the carriage and retrieved a thicker fold of newspaper, lifting back the cover to reveal the Metro and held it out to her. Her eyes lit up.

The second, linked to by my friend Caspar (via Google Reader and Friendfeed) about the night time on the Tube. People who complain about the tube not running 24-hours don’t seem to realise that it’s isn’t just shut down and the lights turned off between 12.30 and 5am… a whole army of people are at work (in particular ‘Fluffers’!)…

Both articles are well worth a read, and Time’s pictures are amazing… well worth a look and thought next time you’re down there…


11 January 2009

I had my lower right wisdom tooth out on Monday. It had been causing me a lot of pain since I had some dental work done on an adjacent tooth. But it’s still, nearly a week later, quite painful. I’m not sure whether it’s still painful because it’s healing, because some of the stitches haven’t yet disolved or because the surgery damaged the nerve. Needless to say that after a week of pain and being unable to eat anything substantially solid, i am really quite miserable.


Update: 1 hour later… internet answer, i think I have a dry socket(!)

Update 1 1/2 hours later… NHS Direct also think it’s a dry socket. I can most probably expect more pain and a longer healing process 😦

An apology

10 January 2009

It’s been a long time since I posted properly: sorry. I should have posted more often but a combination of how busy i have been and lethargy mostly!

In October I found out I had been accepted for a new job – this coming week is the last in my current job – so I have been working very hard trying to make sure all the loose ends are tied up. I’ll probably have to work this weekend to make sure there’s not too much unfinished when I leave. I’ve also been using my remaiing holiday with trips to Stockholm, Dublin and Munich as well as home to the parents for Christmas and Manchester for new year. And, finally, I have been in agony for the last week after having a wisdom tooth removed – well not quite agony but at least getting woken up by shooting pains in the middle of the night!

I didn’t make a new years resolution – I rarely do, because they never work. But if I did it would be to post more and/or regularly. Let’s just say that on this blog (and, when I can eat my chrisandjasonate blog) I’m gonna try!

The Importance of Empathy

3 November 2008

Over the last week the crazy story around Russel Brand and Jonathan Ross’s [rather inappropriate] prank calls to Andrew Sachs has been raging. I won’t link to all the articles but you can see more here and here for latest.

Now I’m not here to defend them, and I’m not here to slate them. There has been much written about the history of how this came to be top of the headlines when the Congo’s falling into chaos, the global economic system continues to disintegrate and America could be about to elect it’s first black president (Cosmodaddy appears to have the whole history in the middle of his post), but in summary: two complaints when broadcast, Daily Mail picks up the story leading to thousands of complaints, reporting in less biased media leads to comments even from the Prime Minister…

But it did get me thinking…

Last week I went to see Now or Later at the Royal Court Theatre. Essentially a story about how to spin a story it revolves around the son of the soon-to-be President Elect of the United States and an out-of-context internet-rumour about him with a photograph to boot. The debates are fascinating and raise points on whether freedom of speech would be constrained by apologising for something which, to some people, would appear to be highly insulting.

I started to contemplate the obvious connections between the two. The play was esentially based around an out of context, hyped up internet-fuelled press-spun story of an how an inappropriate action could have offended, or been seen to offend, people who do not have the same fundamental beliefs. And there are undoubtedly similarities to the recent BBC debacle (despite the Brand/Ross debate being far less considerate/intellectual and, most damagingly, bullying of a person).

This led me to a conclusion – that actually what is needed is empathy (sadly after all of this thinking the Guardian beat me to posting a similar view on the issue) and there’s a fundamental lesson for us all:

In a fast-paced world based on an [some may say ‘Thatcher-capitalism’]  ‘every man for himself’ attitude it’s easy to be blinkered to how your actions may be seen (especially in a world where free speech can be so easily taken out of context). What we all (myself included) need to do is contemplate how other people may see our actions (out of context or not), and how it will make other people feel. In a fast-paced world where we communicate through keyboards, microphones, telephones, text and computer screens it is easy to be blinkered to the emotional implications of what we say or do. It harder – but important – not to.

seeking inspiration and parties

9 August 2008

It’s odd… since my return from holiday I have been less inspired to blog – not because i can’t be bothered, not even because I don’t have time, but mainly because there’s not a lot interesting going on that’s made me want to write. There’s plenty I see which has irritated me – plenty of long rants I could post about… but nothing’s made me really itchy, irritable and immediately wanting to write. My brain is full of little things, not big things…

Last weekend we went to Brighton Pride. Brighton’s always the funnest of the Prides I attend – with a fun parade (even though it starts early in the morning) and lots of entertainment in Preston Park after that. Pride London’s bigger and – although fun – doesn’t have quite the same feel. Then again Brighton turns into London-on-Sea for Pride which, for me, is not a bad thing!

However, in going, I missed this year’s Europride in Stockholm. Stockholm and Brighton Prides are very similar in lots of ways (although less dancing in Stockholm and more stage acts). They’re both quite community driven, there’ a lot of visitors from outside the city, and there’s a lot going on – in Stockholm a whole week of seminars, parties and other events – oh and Stockholm Pride is massive!

After a busy week this week I’m off to a party tonight and Gutterslut after that! I’ve also realised my next few weekends are almost totally full with plans! Surely I must have more blogspiration (errr, did that work? it was meant to merge blog and inspiration, not blog and perspiration) soon!

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