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Posted by Clayton Littlewood
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November/December 2012

Tube Diary: 2nd November

Central line. With Dom (after a night out in Soho). He’s next to me snapping. I’m next to him typing. Two diarists at work.


Tube Diary: 6th November

7:18am and I’m on a train. I don’t look pretty.


Tube Diary: 7th November

This journey should’ve been a nightmare, cos’ I stayed up far to late. But it’s not. It’s a joy. #4moreyears


Tube Diary: 8th November

On the way back from an exhibition. Now on the Central. Opposite me, a woman with a large nose gulping down a cup of Wasabi soup. On my right, a woman with a shiny black weave, pointed ‘Flo-Jo’ nails applying a gallon of cream to her hands. On my left, a guy reading a mag featuring Ben Cohen (doesn’t Ben ever get cold, always topless, especially in this weather?). Above me there’s an ad for a dating site called Lovestruck where you can find ‘that elusive spark’ so that you get lucky and ‘miss the last tube home’ (as opposed to catching the nightbus from Ongar). Oh, and I’ve had a double vodka (so feeling a bit light-headed) and my fingers smell of Twiglets.


Tube Diary: 9th November

Butch, early 40s, rugby(ish), bearded guy sitting opposite cruising blonde woman next to me. I’m bleaching my hair tonight.


Tube Diary: 9th November

Oh dear. Feeling a bit ‘Sue Ellen’. Pissed again and it’s only 7:30.


Tube Diary: 15th November

Doors open. Step on. Sit. Look round. Rummage inside manbag for headphones. Find them. Untangle them. Scroll through iPhone for something appropriate. Settle on Your Arsenal. Play the first few bars. Morrissey’s voice kicks in. Press Stop (it’s too early). Settle on Marc (slightly better). Train fills up. Someone bashes me on the head with their bag. I look up. It’s a guy. He doesn’t apologise. I cast an evil spell on him. There’s a woman sitting next to me, back perfectly straight. She looks like Mary Poppins (my heroine). I smile at her as I step off. Now I’m hemmed in on the Northern, standing, trying to type, as the train sways this way and that, conscious that the woman behind me is peeping at what I’m typing (even though I’m about to post this to the world). Now we’re at Old Street. I arch an eyebrow at Peeping Tom, squeeze through the crowd. Hop off. My day about to begin.


Tube Diary: 15th November

Dilly line to Girls Court. Plenty of seats. 22 people on here (just counted ’em). I’ve got my headphones on and Marc Almon’s crooning ‘Child Star’. Just had three vodkas, so tempted to join him for the final chorus. Think I might. Why not? Here goes…*sings at the top of his voice* “Ohhhhhh child star. Beauty, is yooooooooouuuuu! Oh child starrrrrrrrrrr! Child starrrrrrrrrrr! Beauty. Oh beauty, is yoooooouuuuuu!”


Okay, I didn’t really do it. My stop.


Tube Diary: 16th November

Woman in a fawn coat sitting next to me, keeps sniffing. Man in a felt cap on the otherside, sniffing. Suited guy opposite, now he’s sniffing. And the guy next to him! It’s like being in the loos at The Box ten years ago.


Tube Diary: 19th November

Two girls sitting next to me: Girl 1: “An’ I was like, ‘Nah, don’t wanno.’ This wuz ’bout four in the mornin’. An’ that. An’ den ‘e got an’ got ready, an’ I went to ‘im, ‘Is ovah.’ An that. An’ ‘e was like, ‘Okay’. An’ that. An’ ‘e goes like, ‘e wuz like, ‘Fair nuff.’ An’ then I wuz like, ‘I ain’t comin’ widge you’. An’ that.”

Girl 2: “Did it?”

Girl 1: “Wot?”

Girl 2: “Is ovah.”

Girl 1: “Fink so…An’ that.”


Tube Diary: 26th November

Sitting next to a woman in a black and white chequered coat who is picking bits of chicken out of a salad sandwich, dropping them into her mouth and swallowing them like a pelican eating fish while typing an email into her Blackberry that ends, ‘Plus I’m not sure if my hormones are balancing and I still have that dark cloud hanging over me…Love Jan.’


Tube Diary: 27th November

There’s a guy opposite cruising me while eating an onion bhaji.


Tube Diary: 28th November

My eyes feel like someone’s dripped sulphuric acid into them, attached bulldog clips to the surrounding skin and got two hefty lads to tug on them so that the folds end up hanging limply down my face.


Tube Diary: 29th November

Diverse London; sitting opposite, an Asian glamour bear with a shaved head wearing tortoiseshell glasses and blue Dr Martins, a woman in a black burka with pink leggings and Nike trainers peeping through underneath, a black lady with something so ultra shiny sprayed on her weave that it’s as if she has half a mirror ball on her head. And a Suit reading the FT.


Tube Diary: 12th December

On the way to London Bridge to narrate a Marlene Dietrich radio doc. Got a sore throat so I’m like a sniffing, heavily medicated Bonnie Tyler.


Tube Diary: 13th December

Only slept for two hours, my mind whirling over and over. So here I am, on the Central, on a packed train, rammed up against a queen in a sensible coat and matching gloves, feeling exhausted, irritable, and every one of my 49 years. Three hours later (in reality three stops), Mr Matching Set squeezes past, so close it’s as if we’re doing the Fandango, replaced by a young latino girl who flicks her long auburn hair in my direction so that as I’m typing this I’m practically flossing with it. Now I’m on the Northern, hemmed in between a bear and a builder, both holding cups of coffee (Upper Crust and Costa), slurping in harmony, either cup threatening to drench me as the train sways this way and that. And all I’m thinking is…I wish you would all just fuck off! I need an early night.


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