I’m in shock. I nearly murdered someone on the Underground today
and I feel no remorse. I know London Underground has had a difficult
time, what with privatisation and fittings for new uniforms, but it is
having a laugh now.
I seem to spend every Monday morning standing outside the entrance to
the Underground while an officious-looking station attendant, complete
with ridiculous Philip Treacy-designed hat, stops commuters entering
while an alarm signal whines overhead and flashes ’Do Not Enter’.
I find it hard to believe that Chernobyl was better protected. Three
hundred commuters could easily overpower a humble station attendant, but
why are we so polite about it? I could understand if the warning sign
was stopping us from plunging into a forest fire or stumbling into an
earthquake situation, but it’s only trying to prevent a few people from
clogging up the escalator on the Victoria Line.
When you do get near to your platform, you have to negotiate your way
past commuters with the navigational skills of lemmings.
And it happens on every Tube line. I know London is a big tourist spot,
but can’t we find a way of stopping them using public transport? When
we’re putting together our tourism advertising, we should be saying:
’Don’t come to London, it’s too expensive as you’re not allowed to use
the Tube’ or ’Come to London, but just stay in your hotel.’
It’s not that I’m xenophobic. It’s just that, well, I don’t honestly
believe I behave like London tourists do when I’m in a different
I get out of the way of people going to work. If I’m not sure where I’m
going, I don’t ask people who are listening to Walkmans. And I try my
utmost to avoid smacking people in the face with my rucksack. If only
tourists here gave us the same consideration.
But London Underground has got a lot to answer for. Instead of spending
so much money on designing poncey outfits and building extensions to the
Central Line, they should be ensuring people don’t have to wait ten
minutes to get from Hyde Park Corner to Green Park. If they made the
Tube system enjoyable for those who have to use it, then they can let
those who want to use it do so