Print Story Crowd-surfing? Crowd-ploughing
By DullTrev (Tue Jun 12, 2007 at 02:36:43 PM EST) politics, london, rambling, fun loving cowwqas. (all tags)

Ah, London. Visiting you in high summer is such sweet sorrow.

Inside: London. Attractive young women.

So, then. London. As I mentioned last time, this new job takes me down to London every so often, and last week was one of those times. I was there from Wednesday to Sunday, and it just reminded me of the parts I hate, and the parts I think I need.

Getting from Euston to Victoria should be a relatively painless process. Sadly, this week was rather warm in London, which means descending to the Underground gives many people a religious epiphany, and they swear to lead better lives. Add in the fact that on certain lines (Victoria being one of them) I simply cannot stand up on a tube train, and you can see why I didn't enjoy being jam packed into said train along with my luggage.

Nevertheless, to the credit of the Underground, I got to where I needed to be quickly and efficiently. Very efficiently, considering the number of people they managed to transport in that one train.

Anyhow, I managed to get to the office. Which led me to overhear a conversation which was a perfect example of the next issue I have with London:

"I can't imagine having to work in Manchester, you know. I mean, the great thing about working here is that you're really where it's important, you know? It's being close to the action. And working in marketing here, in the public sector? It's great! You always know it's really important, and the media are actually wanting you to tell them things, instead of you trying to sell it. It's great being involved in such an important job.
"And another thing, in London you can, you know, be normal without being boring. I mean, if you do exciting and different things in London, it's not seen as that unusual, but if you tried to be exciting in the regions, well, you'd be looked on as weird. You'd be unusual. I don't think I could stand that."

Nuff said.

The final issue, I suppose, is the people. The sheer damn number of the sheep-like entities. Sitting in a pub jam packed with people - and this on a dull Thursday evening. Trying to make my way across Victoria station was a nightmare. When I started off with my normal vaguely genial expression on my face, people kept ambling into my path, or banging into my as they went past me in the other direction. Being the height I am, this isn't something I am used to... As my expression started to turn towards irritation and annoyance, people started to get out of my way. Some of them even started to apologise when they clipped me on the way past.

On top of that, this mass of people means that all the public transport is rammed solid. My sense of personal space appears to extend an awful lot further than that of most Londoners, meaning I am on edge most of the time. Bah, humbug. Just ignore the complaining provincial.

But, on the other hand... I was able to see some friends easily. Being able to go out to see a film, and get a damn good meal, at a late hour was unusual and pleasant for someone from the sticks. Transport was, on the whole, quick, and reliable (though the closing of the Circle line that weekend was a bit of a bugger), or at least there were numerous alternatives.

But I suppose the thing I needed was the conference I attended on Saturday.

The conference was for Compass. Compass, for those who do not know, styles itself as a "critical friend" of the Labour Party. They have been embarked over the last year or so on producing a vision and policy ideas for a more left-wing path.

Some of the conference was exciting, some inspiring, but all, somehow, depressing. I've been to a few of these things before, and I always seem to end up in badly ventilated halls, listening to the same speakers tell the same people that things will get better, honest. That people agree with us really, we just need to tell them. Feh.

Of course, Compass has been having some success recently. I could tell that in two ways: firstly, there were more people there, and more exhibitors. Secondly, the percentage of attractive young women was much greater than the last Compass conference I was at. I am firmly of the belief that you can tell how well any particular political party, organisation or event is doing on the basis of the attractive young women percentage. I can only assume that attractive young women are, in fact, the only true political experts out there.

I've noticed myself wanting to get more involved in politics since I started the contract. (I'm assuming that it's because I believe I've sold out...) I've been reading more widely, and trying not to get too worried about that fact it all makes me so angry. And the one thing London does offer is the chance to get closer to this sort of thing.

So, on the whole, I guess what really annoys me about London is that it sucks you in, and it reshapes you. From the behaviour as you walk along a street, to the view you have of the rest of the country, to the importance of the meetings and people there, you find yourself believing the view of itself that London presents. You start to believe this is the only natural way to behave in such a place, that this behaviour, these beliefs, are perfectly natural. I dislike London because, on the whole, it turns me into someone I dislike. Or, perhaps, it simply holds a mirror up to me, and I don't like what it exaggerates, and what it fails to hide.

Tsk. This is rambling. But frankly, I need to sleep, so I'm going to post it.

< Tick tick... | BBC White season: 'Rivers of Blood' >
Crowd-surfing? Crowd-ploughing | 44 comments (44 topical, 0 hidden)
I think you should pursue... by Metatone (4.00 / 2) #1 Tue Jun 12, 2007 at 10:10:38 PM EST
the path of associating yourself with conferences filled with attractive young women. It's the only right thing to do.

London by Phage (2.00 / 0) #2 Tue Jun 12, 2007 at 11:52:01 PM EST
Is like any other city. You don't just plod along admiring the view. If you're going to amble, get out of the feckin way !. Your height is an advantage in the open concourses. Use it to spy out the path of least resistance, and to intimidate the feckless.

Heh - You listened to some marketing droid. That's 10 IQ points you'll never get back.

Labour - Shmabour, they'll all too busy drinking their lattes and thinking up new ways to pass another slightly more restrictive law. For your own good of course. Bastards are worse than Thatcher, in that they do as much harm but they do it insidiously, and with a smarmy grin for your own good. No wonder you're depressed.
Vote 1 Breaker and the Rational Party.

+1 inappropriate cleavage poll.

no such thing by clover kicker (4.00 / 2) #3 Wed Jun 13, 2007 at 12:38:54 AM EST
as inappropriate cleavage...

[ Parent ]
An Essex builders by Phage (4.00 / 2) #5 Wed Jun 13, 2007 at 01:30:24 AM EST
Errrr. Bicycle parking ?

[ Parent ]
Bah by DullTrev (2.00 / 0) #12 Wed Jun 13, 2007 at 04:30:59 AM EST

I'm just not good at intimidating people. It's rude...

I'm thinking of demanding you all vote for me, instead. I mean, we could put together enough for a deposit for a few of us in various constituencies...

[ Parent ]
As I've said to Breaker by Phage (2.00 / 0) #14 Wed Jun 13, 2007 at 04:38:24 AM EST
I am semi-serious about setting up a new party. I have no faith in any of the cuurent lot.

[ Parent ]
You visited Londinium by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #4 Wed Jun 13, 2007 at 01:04:46 AM EST
And didn't even call us out for a pint?

For shame, Sir!

Also, if you're going to be down here a bit, get used to the busses you need - far more comfortable than the Tube.  Not as quick, but nowhere near as savage.

I am always surprised by Phage (4.00 / 2) #6 Wed Jun 13, 2007 at 01:36:03 AM EST
At how nice it can be to walk the streets. It can be surprisingly fast. Also frippet-o-rama.

Did you see the walking tube map ?

[ Parent ]
Oh yes. by Breaker (4.00 / 1) #7 Wed Jun 13, 2007 at 01:48:45 AM EST
I avoid the tube as much as I can.

A really good site to use is Walkit

[ Parent ]
That's pretty cool by Phage (2.00 / 0) #8 Wed Jun 13, 2007 at 02:05:54 AM EST

[ Parent ]
Fat lot of good *that* did. by ammoniacal (4.00 / 2) #27 Wed Jun 13, 2007 at 10:40:54 AM EST

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
Heheh! by Breaker (4.00 / 1) #33 Thu Jun 14, 2007 at 12:50:00 AM EST
That's pretty much what the Canuckistanis did when they were over...

[ Parent ]
No comment. by ambrosen (4.00 / 2) #41 Thu Jun 14, 2007 at 05:11:13 AM EST

[ Parent ]
Brilliant map by motty (2.00 / 0) #13 Wed Jun 13, 2007 at 04:36:14 AM EST
No Tuberide

I amd itn ecaptiaghle of drinking sthis d dar - Dr T
[ Parent ]
London by jump the ladder (4.00 / 1) #9 Wed Jun 13, 2007 at 02:47:29 AM EST
Dunno why you provincials have such a love/hate awe struck relationship with it. Yes you have to change your feelings on personal space because the overcrowding on public transport and walk a bit faster in the busy areas.

But it doesn't change your basic personality unless you are very malleable anyway. If you want to hang around with cocksuckers like the guys you mentioned (obvious out towners and provincial wannabes btw) then do go ahead and change it.

It's all in your mind and your pre-existing neuroses and stereotypes of the big smoke.

love/hate awestruck by DullTrev (2.00 / 0) #11 Wed Jun 13, 2007 at 04:27:19 AM EST

It's because we're secretly all jealous of you.

It all depends on what you class as your basic personality... To me, part of who I am is being (perhaps excessively) polite, and seeing people being so devastatingly rude to each other all the time annoys me. Granted, this is possibly down to some deep-seated psychological flaw with myself, but I can't help but feel that a city which appears to turn people into rude, self-obsessed, arrogant wankers probably has some problems.

Maybe I just need to hang around people who aren't

  • civil servants
  • involved in politics
  • involved in politics and the media
  • or in marketing
I can imagine that helping quite a bit, actually...

[ Parent ]
Shrug by jump the ladder (2.00 / 0) #15 Wed Jun 13, 2007 at 04:40:29 AM EST
London's just a place. Just that you seemed to exhibiting love/hate awestruckness which I was commenting on.

Rudeness, I've lived in Manchester and I didn't find it particularly friendly or polite. Maybe a bit less hectic and bit more laid back but still a large British city like London. 

Think as you said it's your choice of career/interests that's the problem rather than London itself.

[ Parent ]
It's just a middle-class socialist thing by R Mutt (4.00 / 4) #16 Wed Jun 13, 2007 at 04:50:31 AM EST
Being committed to the masses shouldn't mean he has to ride in the same Tube...

[ Parent ]
Aiiieeeeee by Phage (4.00 / 3) #17 Wed Jun 13, 2007 at 05:11:14 AM EST
He's thrown a soul crushing spell +4 !

civil servants
involved in politics
involved in politics and the media
or in marketing

[ Parent ]
WIPO by Dr H0ffm4n (2.00 / 0) #10 Wed Jun 13, 2007 at 03:53:48 AM EST

(Comment Deleted) by yicky yacky (4.00 / 1) #18 Wed Jun 13, 2007 at 05:16:18 AM EST

This comment has been deleted by yicky yacky

It is notable by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #20 Wed Jun 13, 2007 at 05:59:25 AM EST
that you left my own city, England's second largest, out of that list. I suspect it was unintentional, though. ;)

[ Parent ]
(Comment Deleted) by yicky yacky (4.00 / 2) #21 Wed Jun 13, 2007 at 06:23:34 AM EST

This comment has been deleted by yicky yacky

[ Parent ]
Heh by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #22 Wed Jun 13, 2007 at 07:15:09 AM EST
I said hometown, not current residence, didn't I? And if it's the Midlands conurbation, why didn't you mention South Lancashire or Merseyside for accuracy.

Anyway, IHBT, but willingly so.

[ Parent ]
WIPO by G1itch (2.00 / 0) #19 Wed Jun 13, 2007 at 05:26:03 AM EST
Raining and full of people.

London folks by MillMan (4.00 / 2) #23 Wed Jun 13, 2007 at 08:21:05 AM EST
A lot like New Yorkers only fussier.

Among all the English peeps I met during my week long visit, I liked the Northerners almost exclusively more than the locals.

When I'm imprisoned as an enemy combatant, will you blog about it?

I like London by Merekat (4.00 / 3) #24 Wed Jun 13, 2007 at 08:40:26 AM EST
It is the only city I've found so far where the general speed of people walking matches mine.

Spending taxes on marketing in the Public Sector-- by ammoniacal (4.00 / 2) #25 Wed Jun 13, 2007 at 10:17:52 AM EST

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

"Communications" by DullTrev (4.00 / 1) #26 Wed Jun 13, 2007 at 10:39:15 AM EST

To make sure we all know our rights.

Not to tell everyone how great the top executives are. At all.

[ Parent ]
That would be a first by Phage (2.00 / 0) #28 Wed Jun 13, 2007 at 10:40:46 PM EST
Can you point out some examples ?

[ Parent ]
To be serious for a moment... by DullTrev (2.00 / 0) #29 Thu Jun 14, 2007 at 12:01:01 AM EST

Tax credits tv ads.

[ Parent ]
Fair enough by Phage (2.00 / 0) #30 Thu Jun 14, 2007 at 12:05:00 AM EST
Should we looking for some tall genial bloke on the small screen then ?

[ Parent ]
Good lord by DullTrev (4.00 / 1) #31 Thu Jun 14, 2007 at 12:21:39 AM EST

I just sit near these people, don't ever make the mistake of thinking I am one of them.

I feel all dirty at the thought.

[ Parent ]
<grin> by Phage (4.00 / 1) #32 Thu Jun 14, 2007 at 12:24:41 AM EST
Damned by association.
So where are based normally then ?

[ Parent ]
Normally? by DullTrev (2.00 / 0) #34 Thu Jun 14, 2007 at 12:53:58 AM EST


Abnormally, Victoria Street.

[ Parent ]
I still think you should tell us by Phage (2.00 / 0) #35 Thu Jun 14, 2007 at 01:10:03 AM EST
When you come down. Wwe could organise a coffee if a beer doesn't appeal.

[ Parent ]
I would by DullTrev (2.00 / 0) #36 Thu Jun 14, 2007 at 01:19:43 AM EST

But none of you exist. You're all names on a computer screen, figments of my imagination.

Though I have voted in your LHusi poll...

[ Parent ]
That's OK by Phage (4.00 / 1) #37 Thu Jun 14, 2007 at 01:36:04 AM EST
the beverages are also completely virtual. As is the cash you'll be using to buy your round.

[ Parent ]
But it's a dry heat! by Cloaked User (2.00 / 0) #38 Thu Jun 14, 2007 at 03:10:21 AM EST
That's the one (1) good thing about the company having moved to Hammersmith - I no longer have to use the Devil's own Tube line (the Central Line - it's even red!).

This is not a psychotic episode. It is a cleansing moment of clarity.
That's another thing by DullTrev (2.00 / 0) #39 Thu Jun 14, 2007 at 03:15:58 AM EST

On the way back to Euston on the Sunday, they kept announcing that they recommended you carry a bottle of water with you, and what to do if someone collapsed. I can't help but feel that's a bad sign in a transport system...

[ Parent ]
Less of a transport system by Phage (4.00 / 2) #40 Thu Jun 14, 2007 at 04:03:55 AM EST
More of an illegal gambling device. You pay your money, and see where you end up. Rather like roulette really.

[ Parent ]
Indeed by Cloaked User (2.00 / 0) #42 Thu Jun 14, 2007 at 06:20:24 AM EST
Apparently part of the problem is that it's not possible to install air conditioning on the "deep" lines, such as the Central Line. No explanation as provided as to why it's not possible, or if (as I suspect) it's just too expensive as they'd have to dig/drill (more) ventilation shafts, or air condition the network rather than the trains, etc.

So what we get is some vague talk of them working hard to alleviate the problem, and useless advice about carrying water and getting off if you start to feel unwell. Meanwhile the problem gets worse as passenger numbers slowly creep up... (Not to mention paying more for the privilege as fares go up every year, but that's another rant entirely)

See, I'm not entirely being a soft southern pansy when I moan about the state of the Tubes.

This is not a psychotic episode. It is a cleansing moment of clarity.

[ Parent ]
Soft southern pansy by DullTrev (4.00 / 2) #43 Thu Jun 14, 2007 at 06:57:17 AM EST

Complaining about the Tube is just one symptom amongst many.

[ Parent ]
Something about London by nebbish (2.00 / 0) #44 Mon Jun 18, 2007 at 01:27:44 AM EST
I think it's the anonymity and freedom it gives you, that makes you get on with stuff - whether that's art, or writing, or getting involved with a political party, etc.

I felt quite claustrophobic in Leeds and didn't really feel that I could go and push myself, but it's different in London. I feel guilty if I'm not.

It's political correctness gone mad!

Crowd-surfing? Crowd-ploughing | 44 comments (44 topical, 0 hidden)