The Perfect Storm – London-style.

As if a tube strike wasn’t enough, a decidedly un-British monsoon and a power surge in New Southgate tunnel conspired to hamper my commute home. Having to walk to King’s Cross as there were no buses due for ages and you can imagine the crush when they eventually arrived/sailed straight past. So then waiting for the 6.44, at 6.44 there was no sign of the front 4 coaches that always arrive separately and join uncomfortably.

So very cleverly, avoiding the crush of the people waiting on Platform 9, I snuck round the top and back down a deserted Platform 8 and took this pic.

Vanishing Point

Vanishing Point

So then checking my National Rail app on my phone, I saw the platform had been announced for the 6.53 – Platform 7. I could walk to the ticket barrier end and round that way, but I had the brainwave of getting the lift up to the walkway and down. Easy. Except a few others had the same idea and when the 2 guys and their very muscular dog got in with us, the computer lady said we had to reduce the weight. It took a little for the 2 chaps with the dog to work out what this meant, but the penny dropped and they wandered off.

So we left nearly on time and we seemed to be home and (getting) dry. Then the main carriage lights went off and we were reduced to a crawl. The driver, bless him, used the tannoy to tell us a power surge in the tunnel had buggered the train. Luckily it seemed to get fixed and we carried on… Look no wonder I don’t post on this blog any more. So tedious! Yes I KNOW that was the point…

Underground bloggery.

…courtesy of Virgin Media’s wifi network at King’s Cross.

It’s my first post underground and it feels new, progressive, natural, liberating and at the same time slightly unnerving.

So there it is: another step forward into the omnipresent-data future.

We all know what it’s like to be without that link to the grid. It becomes like air. We miss it when it’s not there and often take it for granted.

But do we know enough about living in the cloud? Can our bodies withstand constant immersion in wifi microwaves (regardless of what we think we need)?

Well, for the short-term at least, it’s here and it’s free for the summer – is that a distant paywall I can hear coming down the tracks?

I shall enjoy it while it lasts or until it gives me something painfully terminal…


All change at King’s Cross.

I must confess, I got lost at King’s Cross this morning. I felt a bit like a tourist. The sort that stops suddenly in front of people and then turns 180 degrees, ploughing through the masses against the tide.

Why? Because they’ve just changed the layout and opened the new Northern ticket hall. They’ve been working on it for months and now they’ve drawn back the mysterious veil and, er… unveiled the new entrance to the Underground.

I give you... the Northern ticket hall.

They actually opened it all up on Sunday, but I hadn’t noticed until this morning. I probably doubled back on myself a tad but even so, it seemed like I had to walk MILES through brand new Star Wars-style labyrinths just to reach the Victoria Line. Just when I thought I was nearly there, I’d turn a corner and discover a new set

Death Star meets Transport for London.

So if anyone else has struggled with the new layout and your Google search has led you here, I have some good news – here’s a map to help you find your way:

Click to see a bigger version.

I’m going to experiment getting in and out using the new layout. I’ve already identified where I went wrong, so I’ve got some work to do. I need to make it as indoors as possible as the temperature has plummeted in recent days. ┬áStill, it looks like the end of being locked outside by TFL staff when it gets busy. Saints be┬ápraised.

The Britney of King’s Cross.

Occasionally I need to get to work at 8.30. It’s not too much of a hardship. But the last few times I’ve noticed a new character in my cast of fellow commuters: the Britney of King’s Cross.

The real Britney - before rehab/shaving/general loopiness.

The real Britney - before rehab/shaving/general loopiness.

Train timetables and habit collude to have me standing at exactly the same spot on the platform and at roughly the same time when aiming for an 8.30 start.

Amid the SuperDry jackets, the Diesel jeans, the pinstripe suits, the jean and jacket combos and the beauty clinic uniforms, one young woman stands apart. Or rather sits.

At precisely my spot on the platform, there she is, sitting and waiting. And dressed a bit like Britney 1.0 – you know, the pseudo-schoolgirl sort of look. Always the knee-high socks, short skirt and bright pink top, along with perilously bleached blonde hair.

I’m way past looking. I see her, but I’m not looking per se – though in a predominately grey/brown/black world, pink/white/flesh does tend to stand out.

But she’s there sitting on her own. I arrive, wait for a train and squeeze on board when space allows. And as it pulls away, there’s Britney, still sitting there. Waiting. For what, I wonder…

Sometimes it’s better not to know. The reason is no doubt extremely dull and unexciting. As with many things in life, the interest is in not knowing.

There. That was nearly deep wasn’t it. I’ll balance it out with another post about Duncan Norvelle soon, I promise.

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