Now we all know that the London Underground network is mostly held together with sticky tape and bits of string, and it’s frankly surprising that the thing keeps running at all, but sometimes you do have to wonder. This morning it seemed like nobody had the slightest clue what was going on–getting a Northern Line train from Camden is always a bit of a gamble at the best of times, given that the train you want could come in first on one of two platforms on opposite sides of the station. There’s an indicator board at the bottom of the escalator, of course, but more often that not, helpfully, it’s wrong. Usually you can rely on what it says on the front of the train, but that obviously requires you to be on the platform, and isn’t much help when you realise that you actually should have been on the other one.
This morning, no one had the slightest idea what was going on. The train said “Bank”, the board said “Bank”, and even the driver said “Bank”, but the train, it turned out, was going to Charing Cross (“Sorry about that ladies and gentlemen. The driver’s always the last to find out…”) and I had to relinquish my seat and return to the platform where the announcer assured us that the next train would be a bank train. Except that the train thought it was going to Charing Cross, and, then, so did the announcer. Until he changed his mind and decided that it would only go to Euston. Er, terminate here. Er, Euston, actually, after all. Perhaps he just enjoyed the feeling of power at watching scores of slightly disgruntled commuters moving en masse to get on or off the train, as each decision was announced.
Last night, Sal and I headed over to Hammersmith to see Oasis run through a selection of their hits, alongside a few too many of the shabby songs off their new album. There was something slightly unpleasant about the atmosphere inside the venue when we arrived: I don’t know, perhaps it was just the high levels of drunkenness and testosterone in the air, perhaps it was just that your average Oasis fan isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, perhaps it was just the contrast between the inside of the Apollo and the atmosphere near green park, where Sal and I had spent the previous hour or so having a nice dinner followed by ice creams in the park. Or perhaps it was the fact that inside the gents shortly after we arrived there was a bloke who’d decided not to bother queueing with the rest of us who was casually relieving himself in one of the sinks as if it was the most natural thing in the world. Well, for him, perhaps it was.
I actually really enjoyed the gig, with the exception of the distinct lull in the middle when they chose to play the three worst songs on the new album (Meaning of Soul, Mucky Fingers, and A Bell Will Ring) back to back (it was obvious that most of those in attendance had never heard them before, but even the people who, like me, had somehow managed to have already heard the album for some reason seemed rather bored by it). But then they went back to playing the hits, so it was all ok (and, by the time they got to the Wonderwall/Don’t Look Back In Anger/My Generation encore, almost forgotten). Yeah, so I know it’s not big or clever to like Oasis, but I always did and I guess I still do. One particular highlight of the gig was listening to the girl behind me singing along–somehow the lines she was singing from Bring It On Down (“You’re the outcast. You’re the underclass….”) didn’t have quite the same force when you substituted her awfully posh and squeaky voice for Liam’s surly extended vowels.
Ah well, at least she was trying…