Thursday, July 14, 2005

Tube post 7/7

I'm on annual leave this week. Hurrah! But a funny week to have time to spare in London. I don't really feel like going out and doing much ... and getting there on the bus or tube is a bit scary.

However, yesterday I broke my duck. I boarded a tube for the first time since the bombings. I felt really uncomfortable. I went down to Oxford Circus via Baker Street. These are two of the biggest tube stations in London but they weren't quite as full as usual.

On the tube train itself you could "cut the atmosphere with a knife" as they say. It felt very uncomfortable. I noticed things I don't normally notice.

* I noticed how small the tube carriages are really.
* I noticed the extremely long pauses between stations (somehow two or three times longer because I was willing my journey to end)
* I noticed the hums, creaks, buzzes and coughs, all of them.

As I understand it, everyone was looking each other up and down. It all seems a bit silly to look out for unattended baggage now we know that those involved in the bombing were suicide bombers.

Baker Street was particularly eery last night at rush hour - utterly silent, though there were lots and lots of people on the platform. The tube train was at least 5 minutes late but, even though the platform kept filling up minute by minute, no one talked, no one made noises.

I saw a newspaper headline on Google the other day calling London's bomb attacks the "7/7 attacks". Good in that it works properly both sides of the Atlantic this time ... but I didn't like naming these attacks after a date like 9/11 or 11/9. No one tried to call the Madrid bombings 11/3 or 3/11 did they? Something unpleasantly derivative about it. I feel odd writing that. I can't put it into words why I wouldn't want it to be called 7/7.

... and late last night I went out for a Mexican. Not all that nice food really. My week off has gotten me itno bad food ways - "it's my holiday god dammit" - and I'm feeling really unhealthy; the hot weather isn't helping.


Katie said...

Hi Damon, Hope you are okay. I took interest in your post because I am scared also about coming to London, but my sister Louise told me that you just have to get on with things normally and not let things upset you. Hope this helps friend. Have also been busy too with going to York for my sister's graduation, So am writing this after a long journey back!!, but I am glad to back at Dad's.

The Goldfish said...

I guess everytime you use the Tube it will get easier and so long as you do so regularly, in a few weeks you will feel loads better. Easier said than done of course.

There's a bit of a discussion about the 7/7 issue on Disappointed of West Egg's Blog. I'm with you. September 11 and what happened in London are very different events. I imagine the sort of people who will use 7/7 are the sort of people that want to lump these events together politically.

And I really don't think any generalisations are useful when it comes to this sort of thing.

Agent Fang said...

I'm with ya on the food front... for tea tonight I had 2 white chocolate Magnums and some whisky. But only because it was so hot, honest.

melbamae said...

"Mexican, not all that nice food really?" Obviously you did not go to a Mexican resturaunt worth it's margarita salt?!!

Oh to have the opportunity to produce for you proper Mexican cooking, complete with New Mexican green chile, enchiladas in a lovely sauce, including the divine anchos or chipolte chiles and a superb cold avocado soup. Mexican is nearly my favorite of all cuisines, but granted it should be prepared properly or not at all.

Certainly hope you have enjoyed your time off work, you deserve the break.

We went to a Mexican joint somewhere near Harley street (London might as well be Greece to me)...but only walking distance from our friends flat in Marleybone and found delightful food in a delightful atmosphere.

So glad you were not involved in the madness, and glad to see you getting back on "the horse" as it were.

mrsmiller said...

Even here in the American mid-west (which is the back-hills of the USA) always feel a bit uneasy due to the attacks we have suffered. Can't help but feel a sense of dismal responsibility for the UK to now be in the league of targets of destruction. Our politicians are famous for bulleying other peace loving countries into unrest. Sorry!