March 31, 2004
Of Cellphones and Fire

Glorious sunshine in London - feels like Summer is here already. A fire engine screams in the opposite direction to the bus on Wembley High Road. Every second counts: at the moment that I snapped the picture - the firefighter in the front passenger seat of the truck (right hand side of the truck) is pulling on his bright orange firefighting suit. Also notice the chap at the cash-machine ATM - completely oblivious to it all.

Fire Engine on emergency at Wembley High Road

And on a related note - this evening - I happened to be driving back home from a day’s business in the Buckinghamshire countryside - and got stuck in a traffic queue in the suburbs of North West London. And a mobile phone mast caught my eye. (I have a strange habit of looking out for these things.) It was mounted atop a fire station training “tower”. These towers are used to help train firefighters how to tackle multi-storey blazes - and are really set alight - burning flames etc. for training sessions. It amazed me that there was a cellular network radio mast on the top of one of these structures.

Mobile Phone Mast on top of fire station training tower

I subsequently spent the rest of the traffic queuing time wondering whether it was a “2G” mast - or a “3G” mast …

Posted by jag at 11:15 PM | Comments (3)
March 30, 2004
In-flight Entertainment

Sometime ago I mentioned that my London Bus Route 79 has some brand new buses. They come equipped with large flat-screen TVs on both the upper and lower decks. For a few weeks they were only screening commercials for local companies - but now they provide a very useful and informing alternative to staring out of the window or reading a book or newspaper. This is what I watched on the way to work this morning:

Come on - admit it - the renaissance has begun - and buses are now the most superior form of transport in London.

TV screen on the bus
(Also you can see another Route79 bus coming in the opposite direction.)

Posted by jag at 11:38 PM | Comments (14)
March 29, 2004
British Summer Time

Putting the clocks forward by an hour makes the journey home from work a little more interesting. Because the extra hour of daylight makes it all the more possible to focus the eye on more than just those things that are illuminated by the evening street lights when looking out of the bus window. There is also something psyhcologically “feel-good” about it. I stepped out of the house this morning - and it actually felt sunny, warm and - well - pleasant.

On the way home - as the bus stopped and started its way down Wembley High Road - I fixed my stare on a Police car in the traffic queue in the opposite direction. The silvery-grey BMW in Metropolitan Police livery looked quite impressive. Around a year ago - all the police cars in London used to be mostly white in colour. And then suddenly (almost as if overnight) they all turned silver. I’m not sure why they did that - presumably the silver is much more flourescent at night - and therefore more visible?

Pity I couldn’t test that hypothesis - as it was daylight on the way home tonight …

Wembley High Road - BMW Police Car

(Used the Gaussian blur and canvas texturiser in Photoshop.)

Posted by jag at 11:52 PM | Comments (8)
March 28, 2004
Mystic Last Bus

Tidying up my picture archive. Found one that I had forgotten all about. Taken from the front of the top deck of the bus. Late night journey home.

Reflections on a bus journey home.

The camera’s AF system seems to have targeted the graffiti scratches on the front window. But you can see the reflections of people on the bus. This isn’t quite the last Route 79 bus. The last one runs just after midnight.

I quickly knocked up a short video of me looking out for the last Route 79 bus as it passes through my neighbourhood on a really foggy Diwali night in October last year. The title of the video is “Mystic Last Bus” and the musical accompaniment is “Movin’ too Fast” by Artful Dodger.

Click here to download the video (Only 2 Mbytes).

Should only take 60 seconds on Broadband/Cable/ADSL.
Do a “right-click-and-Save-Target-As” to download the WMV file.
It is NOT meant for streaming.
Download it to a folder of your choice and double-click on it after it’s downloaded.

Be warned - this vid took only 5 minutes to produce - so don’t expect anything too exciting. In fact - it’s a bit “nerdy”. The music is probably the best thing about it.

Posted by jag at 02:08 PM | Comments (7)
March 27, 2004
Thinking Big

A fairly long stretch of my beloved London Bus Route 79 passes through the famous Ealing Road in Wembley. This place offers a feast of Indian sights and sounds (and smells) and is one of the best places in the London to shop for Indian-style jewellery and clothing. There are countless shops proclaiming to be purveyors of “haute couture” with expensive looking facades and large brightly-lit window displays showing off quirky-looking mannequins (with “wheatish” complexion of course) decked out in what are claimed to be the very latest in fashions.

Of course - wherever you find pockets of fiercely competitive retail trade - you will often find shops claiming to be much bigger, better, cheaper and more fashionable than any other - but when you find pockets of Indian retail trade (like in Ealing Road) - you will often witness claims of association with the glamorous world of fashion - and the claims of the most authentic links to the very latest trends in India - as well as the fashion meccas of the rest of the world. Here it’s all about thinking BIG.

Salon De Couture: London, Paris, New York - and Mumbai

However, the Indian tendency towards practicality and functionality often has the ability to dominate right-brained traits like art and aesthetics. Or perhaps it’s the psyche of the trader at work: where it’s price that counts more than the elaborately laid out window display. Whatever, the Indian clothes shops on Ealing Road provide for a very rich and fascinating insight into how the cut-throat world of retail interacts with big-thinking and the glamour of high-fashion.

Ealing Road: Where street-market and high-fashion intersect.

Posted by jag at 04:09 PM | Comments (16)
March 26, 2004
Internet by the hour

Passing through my old “stomping” ground in Hammersmith in West London the other day as it was beginning to get dark, I saw a guy advertising an Internet cafe using a board - over his front and back. This reminded me that I have never used an Internet cafe - ever. This is despite the fact that the work I once did directly powered the creation of Europe’s very first Internet cafe - Cyberia. West End of London. Late 1993 or early 1994.

So - I tell I lie - I have been inside an Internet cafe - Europe’s first - but only to help followup on the install of a Cisco router and a 64k Internet connection. (64k - can you believe that?)

I used to live in South London in those days - a place called Clapham. In an apartment above a disused toy shop on Clapham High Street. In fact - it was number 7 Clapham High Street. This made it sound really glamorous - as Clapham was going through a bit of a renaissance at the time. It was a really desirable place to be. But those of you who know Clapham - will know that 7 Clapham High Street is on the bit of the High Street which is practically next door to Clapham North tube station. (Thanks to Nigel at Lazyllama for the picture of the platform at Clapham North.) This bit of the High Street should probably be referred to as “Stockwell South”. Stockwell is the place where all the stolen cars in London seemingly end up. When I used to live there I had my car broken into so many times - and would often find my window smashed and my entire music cassette collection strewn all over the road - I decided to not bother locking my car after parking it. This solved the problem of damaged windows - but I still regularly had to recover my music collection from the street several times in the mornings.

Back to the original topic …

What a mind-numbing job.

The thing that has always put me off using Internet cafes is the cost. And I guess that’s only because I am never too far away from an Internet fix when I need one - e.g. home, office, mobile phone, pda etc. So when I saw that bloke standing there in the freezing cold close to the busy Hammersmith Broadway junction advertising Internet at £1 an hour - I was less interested in the rip-off price being advertised - and more concerned with the fact that presumably he had been standing there all day? What a mind-numbing job that must be.

Posted by jag at 11:49 PM | Comments (5)
March 24, 2004
Bollywood loves Dilbert

I have been long time fan of Dilbert. This loveable, but immensely witty character has many a time provided a well-earned laugh in the office over the years.

I am also a long time fan of Aishwarya Rai - who is a megastar of Indian Cinema (Bollywood) - and someone with massive potential to stun Western cinema audiences - e.g. Hollywood etc.

So I thought to myself - wouldn’t it be great if Dilbert could meet Aishwarya?

Well - on the Internet, anything’s possible!

Click on the big red button in the shockwave flash object below (once it’s loaded - only less than 700k) to witness Aishwarya singing and dancing for Dilbert in the latest Route79 production: “Bollywood loves Dilbert”. (Make sure you turn up the volume!)

Bollywood loves Dilbert - featuring Aishwarya Rai

Posted by jag at 01:02 AM | Comments (16)
March 23, 2004
Mirch Masala

Got carried away with the camera in the kitchen last night - here is the latest addition to the food section:

Mirch Masala (Green Pepper Sabzi)

Click here to learn how to make this.

Posted by jag at 05:33 PM | Comments (14)
March 21, 2004
Brent Cross Mannequins

Brent Cross Shopping mall is just a few minutes from where we live. It seems that a million of people descend on this place every weekend. Whenever I’m there - I usually spend most of the time in the WHSmith bookshop - or the Sony store - or the home electronics section of the John Lewis department store.

Only this time - the preponderance of mannequins in the world of apparel got my attention.

For example: Headless at Next:

Headless at Next.

And faceless at French Connection UK:

French Connection UK (FCUK)

Or cool baseball caps at Base:

Looking very “street” at Base.

And finally: ethnically correct at Miss Selfridge:

Miss Selfridge.

Posted by jag at 11:09 PM | Comments (6)
March 20, 2004
Heavenly Daal

Ever wondered how to cook daal? (Spicy split lentil.)

Yellow daal. (Split lentil.)

Click here to learn how to cook this most heavenly of Indian/Asian dishes.

Posted by jag at 10:37 PM | Comments (28)
Slough Steady Crew

In my spare time I am the producer for a British Indian/Asian pop-band called Slough Steady Crew. The band features J Singh Eglesias (who is an Indian nephew of Julio Eglesias), Jaswinder, Yasmeen and a special guest singer - the Indian superstar actress: Aishwarya Rai - who some of you may remember is one of my best friends.

Slough Steady Crew’s most current hit is a spoof of a song called “Pyar Aya” from the recent Bollywood hit movie “Plan”. They sing about their pleasurable experience of relocating their workplace from their funky offices in Hammersmith in West London - to more “corporate” offices in Slough. The song is titled “Powerpoint Heaven”.

Click here to watch and listen to Slough Steady Crew
singing Powerpoint Heaven. (In Hindi - with English subtitles.)

Turn up volume and enjoy!

Posted by jag at 08:17 AM | Comments (8)
March 19, 2004
Back of the bus

Whenever I ride the bus - I always go to the upper deck and sit right at the back. I used to only do that in the mornings on the way to work. But now I do it in the evenings on the way home too. Why? I’m not sure. I guess that sitting at the back of the upper deck gives a feeling of power - of control. Almost as if I “own” the bus - and I am in charge. Like the bus us my domain.

On most days there are usually a bunch of teenagers at the back of the upper deck of the bus. Teenagers have a habit of gravitating to that spot - right at the back. But I always go sit amongst them. And often, this makes them feel slightly uncomfortable. It’s almost as if the back of the bus belongs to them - and them alone. Like I’m some kind of “alien” that has invaded their space.

But I always ignore their stares of disapproval - for this is my bus. And after a while - the very act of confidently sitting there and ignoring them usually wins their respect. I am accepted.

Back of the bus.

Posted by jag at 09:28 PM | Comments (5)
March 17, 2004
Skip Alert

Whenever a homeowner in the neighbourhood has some building work done on their house (e.g. new roof - or a home extension) - a large container called a “skip” is usually hired to collect all the debris. Why it’s called a “skip” beats me - but the skip is usually delivered to the house by a truck that’s specifically designed to transport skips (see picture when you click on the link above) - and is usually left on the street in front of the house that hired it. A week or so later - the same truck comes back to pick the skip up - and dispose of the unwanted construction debris at an appropriate municipal dumping place.

However, and I think this a peculiarly British thing, whenever a skip appears in front of a house - it seems to be invitation for other homeowners in the neighbourhood to take advantage of it - and dump some of their own, typically bulky, unwanted rubbish in it. This cheeky act is usually done very discretely - and almost always at night under the cover of darkness. This can be really annoying for the homeowner who hired the skip in the first place - for obvious reasons. For example - a few years ago - my next-door neighbour had his roof re-done - and a skip was duly delivered to the outside of his house the evening before the work on his roof was supposed to start. The next morning - the skip was filled with an old three-seater sofa, an old 36-inch television set, and a couple of king-size bed matresses. Needless to say he wasn’t happy - because the skip was full - and of other people’s rubbish!

It seems that the culprits are never people in your own street - they are typically people from nearby streets - or a few streets away. You see, word travels fast when there’s a skip in the neighbourhood. These days it’s common to see skips covered with tarpaulin - securely tied down at night to deter this sort of behaviour.

I smiled as I walked past a skip on the way to the bus stop this morning.


Posted by jag at 08:22 AM | Comments (4)
March 16, 2004
Suburban Textures

Well - although it’s a few days from the official start of the Spring season it felt like a pleasant Summer’s morning on the way out this morning. There’s nothing nicer first thing on a sunny morning than the sights and sounds of the walk to the bus stop. A quiet interlude between waking up to the depressing radio news and the semi-spirited daily commute to work on the buses, tubes and trains.

I always make a point of not wiring my senses up to the MP3 player until I’m on the bus - preferring to spend a few minutes marvelling at the textures of suburban London whilst I can.

A Royal Mail letter box - dating from the reign of King George V - 1910-1936
(These are absolutely everywhere in the suburbs.)

The short walk to the bus stop takes me past a couple of residential street corners. It’s at these corners that you will often find anonymous-looking dark green “boxes” planted on the side of the pavement near the kerb of the road. These boxes belong to the local cable TV company. And local youths like to break them open at night - so that they expose all of the electrical innards to the world in the morning. It’s a distressing sight - and is a reminder of how vulnerable public services and utilities are. However, it always amuses me to know that each one of the wires in there corresponds to some nearby homeowner’s cable TV socket. And no sooner than the cable guy comes along to fix the broken box - the next day it will have been ripped open again.

Cable TV - exposed.

As I reach my bus stop - which is directly in front of a row of houses - I take a quick look at how all the wheelie-bins are doing. Wheelie-bins are a prominent, if not grotesque, feature of the suburban landscape in London. Most of the housing here was designed well before the days that wheelie-bins were invented - and therefore there is no obvious place to hide them. More often than not - homeowners just leave them in the front garden (or more accurately: front yard). And recent London borough council recycling initiatives mean that every household now has all manner of different wheelie-bins and refuse containers. They might be considered by many to have blighted the landscape - but they’re here to stay. The interesting thing is this: in some gardens they seem to have changed position from day to day. It’s almost as if they have a life of their own …

Wheelie-bins gathering around the Spring daffodils.

Posted by jag at 08:06 AM | Comments (6)
March 15, 2004
Favourite Swearwords

I don’t normally do this here in this journal - but I couldn’t help but be seriously intrigued by a link that I discovered at Azeem’s blog. For those not averse to obscene language - not only is it a great example of the new multimedia (video) capabilities of Flash Player 7 - it’s also a fascinating insight into some people’s favourite swear-words (TV and movie celebrities) - mostly in English language. But I’ m sure I spotted Nina Hossein in the video footage swearing in Punjabi in there. I think it was Nina Hossein anyway. See for yourself - but please be warned - I think it’s an advert for a Channel 4 TV programme about people’s favourite swear words - and, at the risk of sounding patronising, some folks might consider the language offensive. (Here in UK - Channel 4 is known for its hard-hitting documentaries and TV shows - and is not afraid to confront issues that are at the very edge of people’s sensibilities.)

Click here to listen and watch some people reciting their favourite swear words.

(No long download - I promise!)

UPDATE: It finally clicked: the Indian lady in the video above is not Nina Hossein - it’s Parminder Nagra - the girl from Bend it Like Beckham !

Posted by jag at 10:32 PM | Comments (15)
March 14, 2004
Colour change

I decided to change the colours here. Apologies if it initially has a strange effect on your eyes. It’s all in the mind. You’ll get used to it I’m sure. In the meantime, enjoy the following snapsot.

On Wembley High Road there the local Council (Brent) have commisioned an “ethnically-correct” mural by “Kamala Arts” painted in a “street” style on some hoardings which cover up the ugly view of a car park behind the parade of shops. There are some stairs down to this car-park at one end of the long mural - and a sign on the wall in this gap where the stairs are.

No pissing warning.

Posted by jag at 06:30 PM | Comments (8)
March 13, 2004
Heathrow Terminal 4

A few years ago my work involved quite a lot of long-haul international travel. Anybody who has to do this sort of thing for a living will tell you that the glamour wears off rapidly after the first few long flights and and after the first few lonely nights in dreary corporate hotels. Nowadays I don’t fly so much - but I still know Heathrow like the back of my hand. So it always gives me great pleasure to visit the airport whenever I have to drop someone off or pick someone up. Terminal 4 is my favourite. There are a number of reasons why: the drive around the Northern and Southern Perimeter roads to get to the terminal from the Concorde roundabout is simply exhilerating. Trying not to be distracted by the planes coming in to land on the Northern runway - or by low-flying planes roaring overhead to land on the other runway. If I’m lucky I might get held up at the front of the traffic queue at the “plane crossing” near the British Airways plane hangars as a giant metal bird is pulled across the road from one hangar to another. Awesome.

Heathrow Terminal 4 - my favourite.

On this bright Saturday morning … (continue reading by clicking the “MORE” below)

… I had reason to be at Heathrow Terminal 4. The terminal building itself is a fantastic case-study into visual communications, atmospherics and delightful surprises. I parked on the lowest deck of the short stay car park and wandered into the Arrivals hall. The first thing that hits you about Heathrow Airport is the consistency of the municipal-yellow-and-black signage from the moment you enter the terminal building. There is something “warm” and reassuring about that colour scheme - and the effect is somewhat accentuated when you have been out of the country for some time and arrive back at Heathrow.

Yellow and black signage - uniquely characteristic to Heathrow.

A delightful surprise can be obtained by going up the escalators at the very far right of the Arrivals hall - the ones that lead you to Wetherspoon’s Bar. This is my favourite route to the Departures hall. When you get to the top of the escalator - it seems that the only place to go is the bar itself - but if you take a sharp left and follow the little passage you will come to another escalator which is going up. When you get to the top of this you hang left through an anonymous passage down the side of a Boots shop and you will suddenly be confronted by the bustling departures all. The effect is quite dramatic. There are hundreds of people - all crowding up in front of an endless row of what seems like hundreds of British Airways Check-in desks. There is a distinctly “international” feeling in the atmosphere. Even the airport staff and airline representatives - who look so ordinarily “London” when you might stand or sit next to them on the tubes or trains, or when you might pull up alongside them sat inside their cars at traffic lights on the streets - are transformed into members of an “international elite” when on duty in the airport. Like the architecture and the atmosphere - these people define the very essence of Heathrow.

Screens above Terminal 4 Check-in desks.

Another thing that amazes me about Terminal 4 is the system of Tensa-Barrier “mazes” that sprawl in front of the Check-In desks. These are so unlike those that can be found at the other terminals - and is probably because there is a lot more space - and the mazes are a lot deeper. The incredible thing is that the airline representatives who “man” the mazes have a way of changing the configuration of the maze at a drop of a hat - in order to react to the relative density of the crowd wanting to check-in for a particular flight. Amazing!

Instantly reconfigurable “mazes” in front of the Check-In desks.

There are times when I feel that I could spend all day at Heathrow Airport - there is so much to see. It’s so unlike any other airport in the world - and I have seen a fair few. It’s definitely the most interesting and varied - and despite being shabby and dated in some parts - it’s still one of the most welcome and reassuring things about arriving home after being out of the country for a while. And it’s not just me - I could see that on the faces of the people who had just arrived as I passed through the Arrivals hall on the way back to my car. I love Heathrow Airport.

Posted by jag at 02:04 PM | Comments (11)
March 10, 2004
Black Ties And Dayglo

I thought I’d try a different route to work this morning . No bus - just tubes and train. Via Paddington.

There is something really amazing about London’s mainline train terminals - and Paddington Station is just one of them. It’s not just the grandness of the elaborate and often ornate Victorian iron-work that makes up the huge covering and surrounds of the station - it’s the fact that the very “old” and very “new” seem to coexist in a quirky sort of harmony that you can only really witness in 21st Century London.

The magnificent 19th Century architecture of Paddington Station provides an incredible stage for modern 21st Century artefacts. Huge full-colour LCD and plasma screens advertising train arrivals and departures. A busy sushi bar. The really-slick looking Heathrow Express train snaking in alongside one of the platforms. People walking around talking into mobile phones. The sound of the computerised ding-dongs that precede announcements on the PA system. And so on and so on. All these 21st century sights and sounds echo around in the light “mist” that seems to permanently hang inside the station. A mist that in my mind seems to provide an everpresent reminder of a time long since passed.

A couple of British Transport Policemen walked past where I was standing. Their black ties signifying the civility of times gone by - tucked underneath the stark yellow of their modern-dayglo jackets.

Policemen patrolling Paddington Station.

Posted by jag at 08:48 AM | Comments (16)
March 07, 2004
Billion Dollars on Failures

Some time in the 1980s the then UK premier Margaret Thatcher said:

“a man who finds himself on a bus after the age of 30 can count himself a failure in life.”


Margaret Thatcher has long since gone. But London’s buses are going from strength to strength! Strange how just over 20 years later it’s positively fashionable to be riding the buses again. And surprisingly, it’s the A and B socio-economic groups that are accounting for the largest growth in bus usage over the last year. Thanks in no small part to the Mayor of London Ken Livingston - a man whose political career has unsurprisingly long outlasted Margaret Thatcher’s despite being at the centre of her wrath for quite some time during her reign. Despite the protest in some corners for his programme of changes that would render classic international symbols like the famous Routmaster bus obsolete by the end of this year - our Mayor Ken LOVES buses. A love that’s worth over a billion dollars. For this represents the level of subsidy afforded to London’s buses this year- and there appear to be every sign that this will increase to DOUBLE that in the next five years!

A Route 79 bus stop in my neighbourhood.

A recent edition of Harpers & Queen magazine voted London’s buses as one of 2004’s “hottest trends”. Even the opposition Mayoral candidate Steven Norris once said that catching a bus meant you had to “put up with dreadful human beings sitting alongside you”, now travels to work from Streatham Hill on the Route 250.

A brief but fascinating article from The Times underlines the fact that it’s the buses that are getting London moving again.

Mayor Ken - Zindabad! Long Live London Buses!

Posted by jag at 09:04 PM | Comments (11)
March 04, 2004
The genius of light

When I’m up against a work deadline and I often find myself staring into my screen - staring into nothingness. Eyes focussed on infinity rather than the cursor. This might last 30 seconds - or it might last up to an hour - or maybe more. This is my way of having “mental block”. Patiently and intensely waiting for that moment of genius when it’ll all come to me and I’ll be flowing in auto-pilot. That moment when the thoughts in my head will be travelling faster than the speed of my fingers at the keyboard.

With every snap out of it I’m reminded that I’m not any closer to finishing - and I am further away from starting than when I first started. A vicious cycle that sometimes results in a little anxiety, mild panic and twinges of stress. In recent years I’ve learned to cope with this by close-focussing on something else. Like my desk lamp for example. It’s usually not long before I’m back in action and out of the “block”.

Damn, I love my desk lamp: I’ll be thinking about you when I wow them all at the office tomorrow.

My desk lamp.

Posted by jag at 09:21 PM | Comments (6)
March 03, 2004
Real London Journey

Every journey for me is normally taken on the top deck of the bus - listening to my MP3 player. I know I switch to the tube and train for a part of it - but the imagery from the bus is so much more fitting with the music that I lose myself in. Continuing on from yesterday’s theme - I put together a “pop video” of the Real London Journey - starting with Route 79 in the morning - and ending up on the same in the evening mostly passing through predominantly Asian/ethnic areas of Wembley and Ealing Road. This video gives you an insight into the daydream that is riding the top deck of a London bus.

Do a right-click and “Save Target As ..” here to download

Download it and save it to a folder of your choice on your computer.
Then double-click on the file when it’s done.

It’s a 13.9 megabyte “WMV” file (Windows Movie file) - which if you’re on ADSL/Broadband should take just under 7 minutes to download. Apologies to the dialup users out there - it will take a lot longer for you - so you may decide not to bother. Pity. I just couldn’t get the size down low enough enough (even with DIV/X) without losing quality as to make it not worth it. Those of you who have the patience to download it - might be totally disappointed by the results - so apologies in advance - and here’s looking forward to the day when download times are 100 times faster and less inconvenient for everybody.

The accompanying music is a hauntingly melodious east-west “fusion” song composed and sung (in Hindi) by famous Indian pop singer Shibani Kashyap called “Sajna” (which means “darling”). This song is sure to rocket up the British Asian charts soon (if it hasn’t done so already!). Shibani’s voice has been electronically manipulated for this song - in a fashion very similar to that in the Cher song “Do you believe in love”. At first I thought that such manipulation would ruin the exquisiteness of Shibani’s voice - but the effect actually amplifies the inflections in some of her crescendos - and like all great songs - needs to be listened a few times before it can be really appreciated for its brilliance. The chorus line of the song is “Nai Lagda Tere Bina Dil Mera” - which means “My life is nothing without you”.

Just double-click on the WMV file after it’s finished downloading. (I personally guarantee that the file is virus-free!)

And turn up the volume LOUD!

Posted by jag at 06:23 AM | Comments (9)
March 02, 2004
Bus Stop Tube Start

London Bus Route 79 runs between Edgware in North West London and Alperton in West London. Along the way it calls at 5 different tube stations. One of them is Alperton itself - which is on the Piccadilly Line. The dark blue one on the tube map. Like much of the non-Central London tube lines - the underground tube trains are actually overground out here. This is real London.

If, like me, you go Eastbound on the Piccadilly Line from here you will be headed into Central London - calling at yet more stations in real London, picking up real Londoners along the way - and pretty soon you will soon be underground, and passing underneath, the glamorous parts of London that many tourists find real cute - e.g. Knightsbridge, Hyde Park Corner, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, Covent Garden etc.

The famous London Underground symbol (called the “roundel”) - an international icon so representative of London - has often been photographed in the backdrop of a backpacker shot at some of the glamourous locations. What better a way to show the world that “I’ve been to Covent Garden”?

I catch the tube at Alperton. There is nothing glamorous about it. I get off at Ealing Common. There’s nothing glamorous about that place either. I make my way to positively unglamorous Ealing Broadway. But in my eyes, and on my journey to and from work, they beautifully epitomise the unglamorous, gritty, “nation” that defines real London.

Interesting trackside “art” at Ealing Broadway station.

A crisp, bright, sunny morning at the far end of the Eastbound platform.

District Line platform at Ealing Broadway.

The trackside outbuildings upon which the strange graffiti face can be seen.

Lamb Rogan Josh - click here to learn how to make this tasty dish

Posted by jag at 07:08 AM | Comments (22)

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