The packed tube look

If circumstances inform and inspire my stand-up comedy, then it follows that with change, that my routines might become obsolete. I used to have a very successful routine on fax machines which would mean nothing now and certainly garner few laughs.

Similarly, I used to have a routine that I called the ‘packed tube look’.  It was based on the premise that there is no such thing as a tube train that is so busy that another person cannot squeeze themselves in. As the doors open, the people standing by the doors will all adopt facial expressions of discomfort (the packed tube look) in the hope to dissuade others from getting on. But it never worked because there was always more space and people would duly budge up and the train would continue on its journey.

Not now however. Those days are over. Those were the halcyon days of commuter life in and out of London. Because now the underground is a living hell – a hell that I am lucky enough to mostly avoid. No show biz meetings ever start before 10am and even then anything before 10.30am is considered not very reasonable. But yesterday at Moorgate station I experience an entirely different level of congestion that comes with a packed city and a Victorian underground system. The ‘packed tube look’ has now been replaced by a look that can best be described as ‘fuck you pal – there is no way you or anyone else is getting on this fucking train’.

Three trains came and went before I could squeeze on and stand almost upright. I say stand – when in fact I could easily have taken a load off and been kept aloft by the forces of others pressing around me – and I recalled the announcement that rang out as I descended the escalator and it grated on my every fibre. So this is what they call ‘a good service on all London Underground lines’ is it?

Or maybe it is a good service – and if so, then London is well and truly full – and all entry points by road, rail and air, we should operate a system used by multi-storey car parks. FULL. And people are only let in as others leave.


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