Tales from the Tube
This WOW moment comes from Paul Higgins, one of our London Project Workers
On a recent Friday night I was on my way home on the Piccadilly Line. I had just spent an enjoyable few hours along with fellow Reader chums in the company of Brian Blessed, Eddie Izzard and Stephen Fry at The Criterion. Hilarious!
On the way out I availed myself of a free Vintage copy of Money by Martin Amis. I settled down in the carriage amidst a small group of young revellers enlivened by the usual post “chucking out” buzz and opened my new read. One young woman piped up. “Ooh did you dye that book yourself?” referring to the luminous green that adorned not only the cover of Money but also the pages. “No,” I said and returned my eyes to the first page. “Is it any good?" her mate said. “I don’t know. I have only just got it.” I replied and once again looked down. “What’s it about?” the first one said. “I don’t know” I replied once again. By this time I was becoming aware that people beyond myself and this group were looking and listening in.
So I said “Would you like me to read it to you?”. “Oh. Yes please” they all said in chorus. That way I thought (not totally unselfishly) I could finally make a start before I had to get off in Finsbury Park.
I didn’t get beyond the first two paragraphs as the original group announced that they had to get off. I looked up and I could see that this public impromptu reading had created something special. We were all truly together in this carriage, not nursing our smartphones or hooked into our iPods. I could take in my fellow passengers faces as I spread my gaze around and they had taken in the words that I had lifted from the page. We were connected. This felt revolutionary!
If this was possible here now, then imagine what we could do for the commuters from the ‘burbs? How about a bit of P G Wodehouse on the 7.20 from Orpington?
Transport for London here we come!
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