Thursday, May 04, 2006
The London Underground system has begun to talk to me. Drivers make continual announcements to the passengers. One launched an attack on the Evening Standard as the train paused at a station, Oxford Circus I recall. With him on that. In the lift at Covent Garden, a cheery voice welcomed me to the fresh air and fun to be had above. The Tube even talks to my phone. At Bank, you can Bluetooth-connect to a Nokia ad to get a map of the area. As Gram Parsons so presciently sang, the man on the radio won't leave me alone. This is strange. A large percentage of the passengers can't hear any of this as their ears are stopped by the white buds of iPod. And the rest don't know whether to look at each other and laugh or pretend to have heard nothing. Silence is plainly no longer an option for anybody. I suppose if you can hear things you're not dead and not alone. But The Tube used to be a place of consoling alienation, of wonderful anxieties when the train stopped a little too long between stations. I'm beginning to miss that.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 6:14 am