Friday, June 05, 2009

Tourist Guide to London Underground - 5 Essential Tube Rules

Tourists visiting London, first of all, let me just say – it’s not you, it’s us.

We sigh as you cluster around the entrance to a platform, perusing the tube map or just looking a bit lost.

We grumble as you block the left hand side of the escalator, denying us swift progress to wherever we’re going.

We mutter – and maybe even give you ‘a look’ – as you spend several days trying to figure out how to use the only functioning ticket machine on a morning when we just happen to be late for work.

You see, you’re not to blame, but you’re stopping us from getting to where we want to go a few minutes earlier than we otherwise would have! This is the SOLE AIM of any true Londoner – and you obstruct us at your peril!

Yes, we’re being unreasonable. We know that. But in order to foster better relations between you and us, I offer you a guide to using the London Underground network just like the natives.

RULE 1: You don’t HAVE to get on the train in the middle. You can move along and get in at either end too! Tube trains are quite long – as long as the platform, in fact. This appears to be something you’ve failed to figure out thus far. Admittedly this isn’t true of Circle Line trains – we’ve done that to catch you out just when you think you’re getting the hang of things.

RULE 2: Just to reiterate: Never, ever get in the way. Fine, so you want to stop and watch the really crap busker playing bongos he obviously rescued from a skip. Just do it against the bloody wall or something! Don’t you know we have SOMEWHERE VERY IMPORTANT TO GO and we need to be there NOW, NOW, NOW?

RULE 3: Don’t look aghast at the crumbling infrastructure and grime. It’s all stage-dressing to make the Americans feel they’re getting a proper ‘heritage’ experience and to fool Europeans into feeling superior.

RULE 4: For the love of god, don’t try to engage us in friendly conversation. We’ll just think you’re insane and recoil in fear. We British are simply too shy to make eye contact or talk to strangers. Until we go on holiday. Then we’re quite happy to dress as naughty nuns and drunkenly flash our genitals at anyone.

RULE 5: Don’t plan to go anywhere fast at weekends, as we shut down half the network to replace the Victorian steam-powered signals and Stone Age flint tracks. In fact, don’t plan to go anywhere fast during the week – our finely tuned, precision engineered trains break down more frequently than Ferraris – that’s the price you pay for such dream machines.

OK, that’s it. Before you visit, commit these simple rules to memory. After all, you wouldn’t want us to give you ‘a look’ would you?


Steve said...

"we’re quite happy to dress as naughty nuns and drunkenly flash our genitals" - Christ. Centerparcs have gone downhill fast.

Prozac said...

And it is stuff like this that every tourist guide should contain, but never actually does. Local color makes traveling so much more interesting.

Fine Life Folk said...

What about fine dining?

haylebobbit said...

TFL make me want to punch people in the back of the head

Jane said...

I'm not really into history but this sure does makes a difference. Thanks for sharing. By the way, these best gifts that you could give your better-half might interest you too. Thanks and have a nice and fulfilling day.

Alliemamma said...

What a brilliant post. If only the tour guides were as frank so that we Americans wouldn't make fools of ourselves. ;) Do you have similar suggestions for the Metro in Paris?

Tristan said...

Yes - don't be black! The French police trawl the trains for immigrants to harrass...

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