Thursday, November 24, 2016

Red Signal

I've been stuck in the Primrose Hill railway tunnel for an hour after a person was hit by a train on the approach to Euston.

Someone found mobile phone signal between the carriages and now everyone is crammed in there. It's like the rush for the holy grail.

If we're still here in the morning I'm going to curate a live art festival.


Meanwhile I'm eyeing up the luggage racks as a place to sleep.

Passengers sitting several carriages away are making the pilgrimage to the magical vestibule, having heard rumours.

People that don't need to use are moving to the rear of the train.

"I'm taking up valuable signal space!"

On of them declares, as he moves to the rear of the train.

"I've got Twitter!" someone says, and everyone looks around, predatorily.

I am not the only one taking pictures of everyone frantically tapping their phones screens.

Soon someone might launch a prison break, although I suspect the tunnel walls will make that tricky.

A woman who clearly has something more important to do than anyone else on the train is getting melodramatic.

Claustrophobia is setting in.

The toilet still works though, and doesn't smell yet.

I have a bottle of Rakija in my pocket.

People are holding their phones up to ceiling.

The first person to use the term 'jumper' is an arsenal fan who has all his friends' tickets for the match that starts in 40 minutes.

Lots of people on the train have football tickets for other people, and those that can get a signal are getting into trouble with friends and colleagues.

The train was already standing room only, but now the front vestibule, where I was standing already, is reminiscent of the moshpit at a Die Antwoord gig.

The normally dark vestibule is now bathed in the soft glow of myriad OLEDs.

The mood has relaxed since the miraculous vestibule wormhole  was discovered, but people still might start eating each other soon.

I'm going to save the bottle of Serbian alcohol in my pocket, in case I need to barter it with someone.

The driver says there is light at the end of the tunnel, which I think is a metaphor, as it should almost definitely still be dark outside.

A train passes us, in the opposite direction! It's the first sign of life from the outside world for 75 mins.

A man asks a woman if he can read the magazine on her table, she turns it over and says 'yes, but it's a copy of Women's Health'.

The man declines the magazine.

A minute later I ask to read the magazine, adding:

"I may as well use this time as an opportunity for personal growth."

People laugh, unaware that it took me a whole minute to formulate the sentence, because I am a bit jetlagged.

We're moving!

"I've never been so happy for a long time."

Says a lady next to me.

I immediately feel sorry for her, but maybe I should feel sorry for myself.

If anything it was nice to to have some time without phone signal to do some writing.

I'm proud that I didn't resort to alcohol though.

I exit the train and imeeduately purchase a can of gin and tonic.

Friday, February 21, 2014


In February 2014 London Underground launched a new campaign highlighting the issue of 'Card Clash':

Here's a poster about Card Clash spotted at Aldgate East:

Predictably, the issue is causing outrage on Twitter: 

On my recent visit to Royal Holloway University I discovered that the Information Security Group has a long and proud history of world-class research into all areas of information and cyber security, and boasts the dedicated Smart Card Centre, conducting specific research in this field. 

I decided that Card Clash would be an excellent topic for my stall at the Alternative Science Fete

Current TfL advice is to separate contactless payment cards into separate wallets, which may not always be practical. 

Instead I will invite Fete visitors to make their own prototype Anti-Card Clash wallets, from gaffer tape and tin foil, designed to shield other contactless cards from one's Oyster, thereby reducing the chances of Card Clash.

We will utilise a selection of child-friendly gaffer tapes: 

And have an RFID reader on hand, with which to test the efficacy of the wallets.

See you there! 

Saturday March 1st, 10am - 4pm, Founders Dining Hall, Royal Holloway University. 

UPDATE: Here's some footage from the day: 

Alternative Science Fete 2014

I recently made a visit to Royal Holloway University in the non-underwater part of Egham: 

I met with Professor Keith Martin and John Hart from the Information Security Group1

Here is a picture of Keith: 

Keith had a model of the Petronas Towers on top of his bookshelf:

along with a impressive array of Lucite Slabs2.

The ISG are big fans of QR codes at the Information Security department, which made me happy because so am I.

Anyway, based on my visit to the ISG and some subsequent research I devised an idea for the Alternative Science Fete3...


1. Not to be confused with the Information Security Department, which is part of the Isreali Defence Force's Directorate of Military Intelligence.

2. The term 'Lucite Slab' is a reference to Douglas Coupland's 1995 epistolatory novel Microserfs.

3. That's an unusual spelling of my name, Time Out.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Hunt & Darton Cafe: Clapton Launch

Congratulations, Pork Baby.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

It's quite apt that the RoboCop world premiere coincided with a tube strike..

It's quite apt that the RoboCop world premiere:

coincided with a tube strike, as both concern the mechanisation of public services and the crushing of the human spirit.. #RoboBob 

It's quite apt that the RoboCop world premiere coincided with a tube strike..

It's quite apt that the RoboCop world premiere:

coincided with a tube strike, as both concern the mechanisation of public services and the crushing of the human spirit.. #RoboBob 

Tuesday, December 04, 2012


On Saturday and Sunday I led an Artsadmin Weekender.

Here are some of the things we got up to:

      Click to Enlarge

Jo hangs a sign, found in the gutter by the closing-down Women's Library, on the door of a nearby recently-opened lap-dancing club:

      Click to Enlarge

      Click to Enlarge

In a vast frosty wasteland, cleared for a perpetually postponed skyscraper, Deb addresses the ambiguity of the HAND CAR WASH by asking them to WASH her HAND CAR:

     Click to Enlarge

It's a quiet day, so they enthusiastically oblige:

     Click to Enlarge

The high-pressure hose causes serious damage to one of the headlamps, but we pay them for their services nevertheless:

     Click to Enlarge

On the rooftop of a multi-storey car park, soon to be swept away by a financial brokerage, Claire plays golf on the green:

     Click to Enlarge

The other Weekenders survey the terrain:

     Click to Enlarge

And Hannah has a big skip:

It's Jim's Birthday. Happy Birthday Jim. 

     Click to Enlarge

His balloons intervene with the perpetual surveillance of the Congestion Charge border

     Click to Enlarge
David's has the idea to insert a moment of antisocial behaviour..

     Click to Enlarge

into an otherwise anodyne computer generated representation of a forthcoming luxury apartment complex:

     Click to Enlarge

And as the sun sets, the Weekenders reinvent the Maersk logo

     Click to Enlarge
by duct-taping me to a wall opposite the company's London headquarters:

     Click to Enlarge

     Click to Enlarge

     Click to Enlarge

Our work here is done. What a busy Weekend.