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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Surreal Line

A guest post today from my friend and ace Tube photographer "Chutney Bannister" -

"Like most users of the tube, I have my own little ritual to get through the journey. Whilst most scuffle around for a stray copy of one of the freesheets, dig into the latest best seller, switch on their iPods, or switch off completely, I'm keeping my eyes peeled for a route onto the Surreal Line.

"You won't see it on any official Tube maps. Or ones those enthusiasts keep of abandoned tunnels and disused stations. The ticket office won't tell you what zones it occupies. Tube drivers won't make any mention of it when they call out connections. Platform staff, they just shrug and look back at you blankly. Eyes glazed over as you explain you once saw a connection on the Bakerloo line. Or was it the Jubilee? Fellow commuters? Pfft! First rule of Tube travelling is, you don't talk. In spite of that, every now and again though, if I'm lucky, I'll catch a glimpse of it. I know it's there… except sometimes it isn't! It's a bit like trying to find ways into Narnia... the entrance is never the same, and once used, it disappears completely.

"Please believe me, I've been on the Surreal Line. Sometimes for mere seconds, other times for maybe a minute perhaps even two. I can't explain how it happens, or why, but in the blink of an eye, I'm suddenly there! Sitting in one of its trains, or standing on one of its platforms, slightly befuddled as I watch a baby leap above a crowded carriage of bored commuters.
baby messiah big brother

On other trips, I've seen a woman waft a man with handfuls of cash, a giant offer a businessman a plateful of jelly and a mischievous squirrel attempt to leave a box on a man's shoulder. I've sat in a train and been eyed up by gawping giants. Watched a pair of eyes roll by the carriage windows, sneaking a peak at a commuter's paper in the time-honoured tradition. Before I can point this out to anyone, as if by magic, I'm suddenly back again. Like Mr Benn, with a token souvenir of his dressing room travels, all I have left are these pictures.
inlookerstriker

If you've been on the Surreal Line too, and know when it'll next appear, can you please let me know? I think I left my umbrella there...

Chutney Bannister"


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