Saturday, 9 March 2013

The 32 Stops - Danny Dorling on the Central Line

The 32 Stops - Danny Dorling
I commented a couple of days ago about being in a coffee shop in the City and running into an acquaintance.

The same thing happened again during Saturday, when we were shadows in a cafe yet through the window I could see someone waving their arms. Another friend, and another improbable co-incidence.

London may be large, but there are certainly areas with the right concentration of intersections, supported by the extensive weave of the transportation systems which help place people on the same lines.

I've just bought the one of the Penguin paperbacks celebrating the London Tube line's 150th anniversary, and have been reading some of the stories.

As a series, it's a good idea. There's one book per train line (e.g. District Line, Victoria Line and so on). The authors and stories have a relevance to the subject matter, but the writers have each completed a score card containing information about their Tube-geekiness and length of time lived in London.

The book store where I first saw the series had all of them on display. I had to pause a few minutes to decide where to start. I was tempted by the Waterloo and City Line (which is my current squeeze) but even its clever reversible format couldn't dissuade me from starting with my true loyalty.

The Central Line.

I've easily clocked more miles on that line than any other, spread over many years from living east to nowadays living west.

The narrative starts at West Ruislip and so far I've only reached Hanger Lane. It's an interesting approach with social observations about the demographics of the people at each stop. So far, the journey inwards is showing monotonic declining social conditions, lower educational expectations and reduced life expectancy with every stop.

The approach so far appears statistically driven, although doesn't read like a Professorial text book, instead projecting voices and situations onto the examples. It's clearly been researched because the last 30 or so pages are full of foot note references.

I like the idea of the book and can tell from my quick peek at the others in the series that there will be a variety of styles and themes. Maybe one a month to complete the set? Hmm, at that rate, 12 tube lines would take a year.

Meanwhile, today, I'm sure I'll get as far as Notting Hill Gate.


Nikki-ann said...

I haven't heard of these books before but they sound quite interesting! I'll have to pick one up when I'm next in London and read it while I'm down there :D

Pat said...

I used to walk from the undergroud to my agent's office in Cambridge Circua and often saw someone famous. The most memorable John Gielgud just before his court case.