Saturday, 25 February 2017

Bank is w*nk

Bank Station is a scary place. I don't really know why it feels more frightening than other Underground Stations but it's something to do with its sheer scale and the huge numbers of people who pass through it. Perhaps some of the other London transport hubs like King's Cross have overground aspects, which make them somehow seem less vulnerable. Bank is all underground. A vast cavern of platforms, corridors and escalators opens up from a couple of tiny little entrances on street level. You go deeper and deeper underground, and spend long periods of time walking between platforms to change trains. My mind always goes to a dark place if I'm hanging about in the station for too long. Probably because I was once evacuated from there in the post 7/7 period when everyone was way too jumpy. It was a terrifying experience because I got lost in the labyrinth of corridors in an attempt to get above ground. I guess I always wonder what would happen, in Bank specifically, if some kind of terrorist attack took place. I ended up back at the station at just gone 6pm in some sort of crush of people between the DLR and the escalators which take people up to the Northern Line. It was deeply unpleasant.

...Enough of the dark thoughts!

So it would seem that Storm Doris has generated a degree of London-baiting from those who live outside the city. I saw a post on Facebook which said "Storm warning. Southerners are urged not to travel unless absolutely necessary. Northerners, you will need your big coat." Ha ha! Very funny! The post I saw was followed by countless blithe and facetious comments suggesting Northerners were still out there drying their clothes in the storm. It's just such a pointless thing to say. Londoners don't have gardens and even if we did we'd be more sensible than to hang our washing out in a gale.

There seems to be a perception that when any event happens in London, it instantly becomes national news. I completely understand how this has become the perception, but the trouble is that when London grinds to a halt, because a quarter of the English population live here, and a great many others travel here for work, the rest of the country feels it. If there are strikes on the London Underground it's vital that the country knows about it, in a way that it simply wouldn't be in the highly unlikely event of the Tyne and Wear Metro going down. There's a reason why union action is focussed on the South East, and that's because it grabs the country by its balls.

But I have to say I'm deeply bored of online London-baiting. Firstly, I feel obliged to point out that most Londoners were not born here, so calling us a load of soft southerners is just weird. Secondly, if a non-Londoner lived and commuted in this city for just a week, they'd go running for the hills unless they had serious guts. And thirdly, I walked the entire length of the sodding River Nene... in December... without a coat. So stick that in your whippet-laden trousers!

We did a day in the studio today recording the songs from Lawrence and Emyr's musical. It was fairly slow-going but ultimately hugely rewarding. The obligatory technical issues kept cropping up, and I think the studio engineer was expecting a classical session with a conductor and everyone playing together, rather than a complex piece of music with myriad tempi and metre changes and musicians who needed to be layered up. I felt every one of the composer's frustrations. At one point he was frantically playing a game on his iPhone whilst waiting for yet another issue to be solved. I think I would have blown a gasket at his age!

One of the musicians arrived with a peace sign on her T-shirt, and I asked her if she saw the symbol as one for peace or as the logo for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), which, for me is a hugely pertinent and moving image. She didn't know what CND stood for, or who CND were. Neither did any of the other kids. They also hadn't heard of Enya, which made me very confused. Am I now officially old, or do these young people need a history lesson?!

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