The Glass Man of Stevenage.

Rather unkindly, some people refer to people who wear Google Glass as ‘Glassholes’. But then you don’t see many about.
But I see one one. Most mornings. We share a train (with a few hundred other people).
There he is on the platform as we wait for the train. And every day he’s wearing his Glass.
Google Glass

Look how much fun it is to wear them/it.

I don’t pay him close attention but I’ve never actually seen him using them. They just sit on his face, so to speak.
Why does he wear them/it?
Force of habit? Will he need them later on and if he doesn’t wear them he’ll forget them?
I’m not going to judge him. It’s his right to wear them. Personally, I wouldn’t choose to sport them every day – and certainly not if I wasn’t going to use them
The other week I got off the tube at Victoria and to my surprise he hopped out of the driver’s cab. So no doubt he works for TfL and cadged a lift with a mate.
So does he drive Tube trains and film the tunnels as he goes? I know SNCF were trialing Google Glass to speed up ticket checking – a good idea in principle – but this is a conundrum that baffles me every morning.
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East Coast goes Virginal.

The first hint of this came last night on the way home. Not a paint job but the wifi login page. Still the familiar East Coast logo, but hello – someone’s slung a Virgin logo on the front.

And this morning the effect is complete with a brand new bright red livery.

So what does it mean for us commuters? Fares going up, usually…

A ‘hustle alarm’ is a thing.

Unfortunately this alarm does not signal a highly sophisticated scam conducted by a gang of lovable, wise-cracking transatlantic con artists on an unsuspecting but unsympathetic ‘mark’.

On your marks...

On your marks…

It is in fact the alarm that sounds a few seconds before the doors shut so that staff can laugh at travellers weighed down with kids and luggage as they make a last ditch attempt to board the train before they become one with the doors as they close slowly and determinedly on them.

Sadly, I’m unable to attach a photo of this sound at present.

The big reveal: set for March 19, 2012.

Hot off the Twitter press, the powers that be are saying the hoardings come down on March 19.

Very exciting for everyone, not just us commuters that get diverted a slightly different way every day as they lay the flooring bit by bit.

And what does this vision of the future look like? A bit like this:

It's all hover boards and retina scans from here on in.

I especially like the woman on the far right wiping dog shit off her shoe – click to enlarge it and you’ll see what I mean.

Craving more info? Click below for the lowdown, including this bombshell, “…the current concourse will be demolished revealing for the first time in decades the Grade I listed Victorian façade which has been fully restored to its former glory.”

King’s Cross official announcement >

King’s Cross passengers offered a glimpse into the future >

Want more piccies? here you go:

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Platform 3 in all its panoramic glory.

It was a nice day. I had a panoramic app on my phone. Put the two together and hey presto…

Click it to get the full effect.

Fatality Friday.

I’ll have the militant passenger groups up in arms when I say this, but by and large, the trains  are pretty reliable.

Last week was a bad one, but even though it impacts on my life and affects whether I get to see my kids before bedtime, I can still sympathise.

Monday was a little tenuous. It was too hot – the wrong kind of heat, or perhaps a ‘temperature-related incident’ to use the public announcement vernacular.

Tuesday was unfortunate. Lighting struck overhead lines and caused havoc on trains in and out of King’s Cross.

I witnessed an interesting exchange between 2 commuters. One had obviously had a shit day, the other, not quite so bad. The former insisted that this sort of delay occurred every day, quoting his annual rail card cost for us all to compare with our own.

The other guy insisted that this was the first delay he’d encountered this year. Both were astounded by their counterpart’s argument – though it didn’t escalate from incredulity to abuse or fisticuffs.

The truth lay somewhere in between but neither was in the mood to concede any ground.

Wednesday and Thursday: no problems to report.

So, Friday. When you arrive at King’s Cross you expect to see a scrum on the concourse, but you have a benchmark size in your head and the size of Friday’s scrum was a sure sign that something was awry.

So I sat on a train for nearly an hour without going anywhere. Only after 45 minutes was there any information as to why we weren’t moving – a person struck by a train.

In that moment we’re all wrapped up in our own issues: I’m going to be late. And if you give it any thought at all, the optimist in us all hopes for the best. They didn’t say ‘fatality’ but if you think about it for any length of time, not many people get hit by a train and live to tell the tale.

Alexandra Palace.

So with a combination of crawling and stopping completely, we made it as far as Alexandra Palace. And there it was next to the 20 or so police in hi-vis vests on the platform, the body bag. Occupied.

I looked around the carriage to see if anyone else had noticed. Some were reading the paper, others were following Andy Murray’s semi-final defeat to Nadal. Nobody, it seemed, had the look of someone who’d just seen a corpse in a zip-loc bag.

I saw a dead cat by the side of the road this morning. I hope these things don’t come in threes.

A paucity of posts.

It’s been pointed out to me and I’ve noticed it too: I can leave it a little long between posts. I don’t have an excuse but I do have 2 reasons:

– Angry Birds
– A shiny new netbook

I thought it was me and solitaire (Klondike™) on my iPod forever. When that game counter ticked passed 1000 (and it did) who’d have thought something new would come along to take its place?

Well, hats off to the Angry Birds crew. If ever there was a game that made you think ‘just one more go’ EVERY time you play it, this is it. And there’s just no escape. They keep updating it with seasonal specials and extra levels. And it’s all FREE! What’s not to love?

Angry Birds yesterday.

The new netbook? That’s for me to write my Oscar-winning screenplay on the train to and from work every day. Isn’t it? It turns out it’s very god at playing other people’s movies, so I end up watching those in 20-minute bursts between Stevenage and King’s Cross and Stevenage again.

The netbook. For films. And occasionally other stuff.

One day, eh – if I’m not updating this old thing with the latest happenings in my playground of car parks…

Oh why, oh why, oh wi-fi.

East Coast. Very nice trains. And on my line at least, very punctual. Swanky interiors. ‘In-flight’ magazine. Free wi-fi. Scratch that. What used to be free wi-fi is now 15 minutes of free wi-fi. If you want longer you have to pay. Or go First Class.

Elaine Holt, head of East Coast and a bit of a train (right).

Excuse me, East Coast, I think you’re going in the wrong direction. Everyone else seems to be offering free wi-fi – from the likes of O2 to independent coffee shops. The days of paying for it are dying out. Now, I know times are tight and if you can charge for something you will – and from where I’m sitting your monopoly is absolute – but in the name of offering passengers something called ‘service’, would it kill you to let us have wi-fi without the catch? I pay thousands of pounds a year for the privilege of using your trains and the price certainly ain’t coming down any time soon.

Don’t go all Ryanair on us, please.

Poppy sale.

image

Today is November 12. Yesterday was Remembrance Day. But that little detail hasn’t deterred one plucky poppy seller from turning out at Stevenage station this morning.

Bless him, I didn’t have the heart to take a pic of him – after all, he’s doing a super job, going above and beyond, etc. But it did make me wonder. Is this going to be a year-round thing? I thought it was just a seasonal thing like Cadbury’s Creme Eggs and er… poppies.

And if it’s not, are they offering them at a discount now like fireworks on November 6? The thing is, there’s no official price, so do you give half a donation? And would it be mean to buy a job lot now ready for next year. My mum does that with Christmas cards you know.

Do not feed the platform.

image

Is this the start of an asphalt zoo? Possibly not. These are sitting at the north end of Platform 1 (I’m sounding like a station announcer now).

Presumably someone in a hi-vis vest will come along and free these slabs and make them part of the existing platform.

It’s not like there are slabs that are crumbling. There are a few older ones dotted about but that helps me position myself corredtly so I’m right in front of the doors when the train stops. Two steps to the left of the two brown slabs to be precise.

Come Monday I won’t know where I am…

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