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.