Friday, January 04, 2008

To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive

It's that time of year when a pall of hangover seems to envelop the world. The holidays are over, but many people are yet to return to work, and travelling on public transport in London is a relatively painless way to spend your time (the odd closure due to drunken engineers aside). Strange how all those signal failures and the like seem to be absent at the same time as all those people. Maybe there's some kind of collectivist disease that overcomes the system when it's in its usual overcrowded state that sets off a mechanical nervous breakdown. It's certainly an odd realisation, standing on the Central Line platform and being able to board the train without pushing, that this is the level of capacity the tube was actually built to cope with, and it works when it's like this.

I spend my tube journeys reading Will Self's Psychogeography, which chimes with my own feelings about travelling round on my bike: the sense of place that you don't get underground, rushing about at the commuters' pace. The other London, hidden beneath roads and rails, on towpaths and riverbanks.


Sarsparilla said...

Ah, the other London, a favourite remiscence of mine. The London that isn't found in an office, or on a tube, or in a hip nightclub, or paying 8 pounds a pop for a jelly shot, or in Borough market. I miss that London. It's never on blogs, and you can't get a flavour of it from here. Sigh.

petemaskreplica said...

I guess you have to read a bit between the lines to see any sign of that London on blogs. A bit like the place itself. You don't really go there, you just sometimes find yourself being there.