Monday, July 26, 2004


Late last night.

Scampering down the steps at Notting Hill Gate tube - to find the last Piccadilly line train gone. Back to Katy's? Or try my luck on the Hammersmith & City - chancing the change at King's Cross? Damn Katy, all let's-be-friends- but, oh! -you-can-stay-if-you-like.

Stomping down to the platform, there’s just one drunk guy sat there, stuffing two burgers into his face. A bad sign. "Know when the next one is?" I ask him. He makes some noises approximating "no". A bit of bun falls from his mouth. A minute goes past. And another. Katy is a text message then a ten minute walk away... One more minute. One more.

And then it comes. And it would crawl round the track. And it would stop for no reason in the middle of the tunnels. It staggers into King's Cross, eventually. Out I rush. One of the tube staff is resting by a barrier. I ask the plump, aging man if it's too late to get north.

"You'd be lucky!" he says. He takes a deep, sighing breath. Then: "'course in the old days, 'fore all this PPP lark - 'fore all these diff'rent companies running all the diff'rent lines - we'd make sure all the last trains waited for one another. If you got on one, you got home, awright. Not any more," he says, shaking his head sagely, pleased with his little speech. "Sorry mate." Damn him. Damn the tube and PPP, London, Katy, the entire universe. "What line you after, anyway?" he asks.

"Victoria, Piccadilly, or Northern," I blurt out.

"Oh yeah," he says. "They're still going awright. No problems there sunshine. Lucky you." And those are the only three lines that do go north from King's Cross, incidentally.

... and then this morning, I woke feeling as blank as nothing. I wish I could remember what I dreamt about, and whether the mood was loving, insane, hilarious, or murderous, whether I felt lucky, or unlucky.