On a train journey in December


The train hurtles on it predestined course, burrowing its way down to London, mole like, in the dark, without eyes. Outside it is cold and inhospitable. Occasionally the indistinct blackness is electrified with illuminated yellow branches. Even in here the light is not exactly nurturing.

The murmur of human voices you would expect on other train journeys has been quelled by the working days requirements – like a form of emotional tax required by offices in Birmingham. The chat has been replaced by the low constant hum of the train that vibrates through our flaccid, wobbling bodies. This is the defining aspect of our shared experience. The silence belies the social activity that is evidently going on via a plethora of electronic devices. We seem to have this irrepressible social urge that new technologies seem both to facilitate and exacerbate. In the melee of social pressures, expectation and a propensity for laziness, we are also perhaps unhealthily drawn to familiarity – these days we generally choose a virtual form of familiarity in text form, over making new connections with the embodied souls around us. We create virtual walls that tend to be mocked by various cuffuffles and awkward encounters which break the myth of disconnection.

The carriage jitters. A whole village passes by us in a split second. Then a damp yellow motorway. Constellations of street lights. Relentlessly we pass by them all as irrelevancies. Snubbed. London is the only thing we are interested in. not warehouses, conservatories, badly lit bedrooms painted blue. A middle class robot makes an announcement. We will not be stopping at the next station.


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