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Posted by Clayton Littlewood
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April 2013


Tube Diary: 3rd April

Traveling up the escalator, a poster advertising an event called The Alzheimer’s Show.


Tube Diary: 5th April

Outside Shepherd’s Bush station. Gates closed. Person under the train. People tutting, complaining about being late for work. A way of shielding and protecting themselves from what’s left of the person who lies just a few feet below.


Tube Diary: 8th April

Mousey woman opposite, like that one from Abigail’s Party, using her fingers to apply lime green eyeshadow, wiping them on the seat when she’s finished. Now she’s curling her eyelashes. Now it’s mascara. She’s put far too much rouge on though. The overall effect slightly sinister. Like Carrie in pig blood. If I was a woman I’d either travel au naturel or slap on the maquillage at home (you wouldn’t catch me applying it on here). I’d probably wear a very light foundation, but then couple it with a dramatic red lipstick. Something vivid. Think Catherine Zeta Jones when she’s auditioning for a big role, mildly flirting with the director, while inside she’s thinking, ‘That role’s mine! Give it to me!’ Then I’d travel on the tube and if I saw another woman applying makeup, I’d brush past her and throw her a withering look as if to say, ‘How vulgar.’ Then I’d sashay away, click clacking down the platform in my 6″ stiletto heels.


Tube Diary: 16th April

On the 8:51. Surprisingly alert considering I didn’t drop off ‘til 4 and I’m just getting over a cold. I’m dressed in grey today (trousers, waistcoat) and this morning I washed the greying riah with a new shampoo that my friend David bought me. Apparently it’s for my kinda hair (gets rid of the dull, brings out the sparkle) – although the shampoo is purple. David told me to not use it more than twice a week otherwise, instead of a ‘Helen Mirren’, I’ll end up with a ‘Quentin Crisp’. As it’s my first time on the tube in 4 days I’m in a relaxed mood; the businesswoman picking her teeth doesn’t bother me, neither does the Goth gobbling a Big Mac. Plus, a Suit just trod on my foot and I smiled back. Maybe I’m still ill.


Tube Diary: 16th April

Okay, relaxed mood over. Back to my usual thoughts: you’re standing on the wrong side! Bloody tourist. What are you looking at? Do you have to stand so close? Don’t touch me! Crocs? Ewww, dirty earhole. I was going for that seat. Get your manky hair out of my face! Help! Nasty aftershave. Hope that lipstick snaps. Is this really the place to eat a porkpie? Etc. Etc.


Tube Diary: 17th April

Thatcher’s death all over the newspapers discarded on the corridor floor. Ahead of me, two, camp, flustered looking, members of the clergy, mincing along the passageway at Bank #VIPfuneraltoattend


Tube Diary: 18th April

That denigrating voice, that steely hooded glare, that ‘finger wagging’ harridan. Now just scattered ash. And so life goes on: packed tubes, surly folk, but the veil has been lifted. The start of a brand new day.


Tube Diary: 24th April

Unwritten rule: don’t look at anyone. If you accidentally catch someone’s eye you must quickly look at the ceiling/floor, read the adverts or pretend to inspect each fingernail.


Tube Diary: 24th April

Northern Line. woman standing next to me. Train arrives. Doors open. People get off. Me: ‘After you.’ Woman: (sweetly) ‘No, that’s okay.’ Me: (thinking what a nice woman, offers again). Woman: (shakes head, smiles back). So I make a move. So does she. We both get stuck. Her bag is trapped. Train signals to leave. She pulls bag. I get walloped. I tut. She swears. We get on train. Glare at each other.


Tube Diary: 25th April

Oh. Here we go. Problem with the train. It’s being held in the platform. I scan the carriage. We’re entering the season of exposed armpits, Lynx body spray and BO that could wake you from a deep sleep. This is intermingled with the heavy, heady aroma of aftershave which hangs in the air like an odious fart. It’s coming from the businessman next to me (who’s reading the sports pages of the Metro). The businessman on the other side is doing the same (but with City AM). His wallet is balanced on his package. There’s a woman at the far end examining her teeth in a compact. She’s trying to dig something out with a crimson fingernail. Everyone’s heads are bowed. I glance down at the paper next to me. George Osborne’s face looms up. Cunt.


Tube Diary: 26th April

Trapped between stations and I’m the only one in this carriage. Thinking of doing a cartwheel.




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