Saturday, February 28, 2009

Travel Advice


Statistically speaking you are here because you googled the phrase "tube map" and came up with my page. The image in question is actually hosted by a site called and the image can be found HERE.

Yesterday I was made redundant from my job, working at a London University as a Travel Plan coordinator. The irony that most of my blogger traffic has been from people seeking travel advice is not lost on me, so let me give you the following useful London links:

Walkit - a website to help you plan walking routes in the city - why take the bus or tube when you could just walk?

TfL - obviously the Transport for London site is the first port of call for travellers - THIS page will give you access to the most useful bus maps, and below is a journey planner from TfL

Journey Planner

I hope this helps you find your way round London a bit better, and please feel free to stay and read more from this blog than just where the met line runs (Uxbridge / Amersham / Watford to Aldgate by the way)

Good luck!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Waitin' on the world to change

Last night at the Arts Centres "Music Happens" concert, known affectionately as Shit Happens for those who have to deal with the planning and clear up the event entails, one of the performers sang a version of John Mayer's "Waiting on the world to change". The lyrics of the song seem to suggest a certain amount of frustration at the world, at our leaders and at our politics. But they also show slightly more apathy than I'm comfortable with. My generation is apathetic, or so it feels from where I'm looking. Our student's union is dying because the majority of people don't seem to care, and no one really cares because it isn't their problem.

But now is not the time for apathy. We need to get out and change things, we can't wait for the world to change because it won't. Every generation has the same characters as the last. The politicians, and the policy makers are the same people. It's a joke I've noticed in the American Presidential election that at least one commentator and countless members of the will tell us that they will vote for a candidate with whom they would want to have a beer. I want to vote for someone who will change things up. Why would I wait for the world to change when I can do something myself?

I don't want this to become a blog of race, gender, or any other equality issue - there are plenty of better writers out there for that - but I don't consider myself to be apathetic: where something needs saying or doing I want to stand up and make a difference. The idea of equality is integral to my world view and beliefs. One of the reasons for me wanting to qualify as a nurse is that I think institutions like the NHS are only as strong as the staff working within them. I want to make things better from the inside.

Ignoring how I wrote that I don't want this to be a blog of my rants about discrimination, yesterday I came across a news story that made me so angry I've only just found words to write about it that don't include expletives. The Daily Mail (of course, who else?) published a story about the new cBeebies presenter Cerrie Burnell. Ms Burnell is disabled. She was born with one arm that ends just below her elbow, and this is where the controversy the Mail is so excited to tell us about stems from.

The BBC has received 9 formal complaints from viewers about how the presenter is scaring their children, that they fear her disability will prevent their child from sleeping and will give them nightmares. I suppose, given that a large numbers of the parents of children watching the show will be of the "Thalidomide" generation it is understandable that perhaps they are squeamish. That doesn't excuse making a formal complaint against a person because of their disability. We've had TV presenters in wheelchairs. We've had deaf and blind TV presenters. But someone with a visible physical disability is apparently too much.

The best response to this story was a direct response from Satan himself. The article tells us that "On arrival [in hell] all parents who objected to Cerrie Burnell's appointment will be driven into the room by fiery horned demons who will beat them continuously with prosthetic limbs studded with the shards from a broken Thomas the Tank Engine mug." This seems a fitting response - ignoring the political correctness of disability, the complainants are directly campaigning against a person. If the BBC buckles and fires her, how will she explain it to her daughter? Or to the children in the Special Needs school where she also works? We can't keep waiting on the world to change, because it won't. Parents pass their own fears, and dislikes to their children. Prejudices are handed down through generations, and it's only society as a whole deciding what is acceptable that can write out ridiculous beliefs about disabilities or any other discrimination.

It's time we stop waiting and start acting. The clips I've seen of Cerrie presenting have been good - she's a good presenter and a likable personality. The BBC said it best in their press release:
"Hackney-based, 29-year-old Cerrie Burnell also has a theatrical background. She studied Acting in Manchester before continuing her training in Brazil with the CTORio Political Theatre Company and then going on to appear in the likes of Holby City, EastEnders, The Bill and Comedy Lab. She has combined her acting career with writing her own play and working as a teaching assistant in a special needs school."

No mention of disabilities because it really doesn't matter. One point for the BBC, none for the small minded idiots out there.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I might name my firstborn "angst", or angie for short.

The music I listened t as a teenager was pretty good. I was into bands like The Clash, Talking Heads and lots of other classic music, but also into the real angst ridden emo-kid stuff. I loved Brand New, Bright Eyes, Taking Back Sunday and the like. For my 18th birthday Joe bought me tickets to Blink 182's last ever UK show. And it was amazing.

This morning I remembered just how good they are, and have had a day of shitty meetings, stress, and disappointment. The only way to fix it had to be a little bit of Blink, didn't it?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

We are london, we are ONE.

Aldgate - This is where I fell asleep and woke to a long walk at 1 in the morning, only to miss the last train home.
Aldgate East - This was my emergency route home after the trains went down, and Rachel, Swiss Dave, and I struggle round the city praying to get home before midnight.
Angel - This is where Ellie hit me with a coffee stirrer and gave me a scar that has lasted for about 8 years so far.
Baker Street - This is where we stood in the dark and held hands, right before I realised that it wasn't meant to be.
Bank - This is where I was threatened with a ban from the tube for running from monument parcour style with the guys. No broken limbs means no broken rules.
Blackfriars - This is where I first caught the river-ferry. I didn't realise it would be so cold and wet at speed, and got drenched, and tourists looked at me as if to say "wow, what a noob"
Bond Street - This is where I changed trains to meet Joe when the Met line was a mess. I was late and he wasn't surprised.
Camden - This is where we went to get a kebab, and we all agreed it was AWESOME.
Canary Wharf - This is where i first ate sushi. It sucked, so I got wasted on Saki and forgot to pay.
Charing Cross - This is where I caught the train to the funeral. I was late and missed the service, but the way everyone greeted me when I got to the family-gathering after brought me closer to tears than any funeral could have.
Covent Garden - This is the centre of middle class London. Every time I get looks for being too scruffy on a Friday night, or too drunk on a Saturday I remember that it's OK to feel smug at being happier than other people.
Cutty Sark - This was more of a disappointment than I'm willing to admit.
Earls Court - This was a long wait for a change of line, for another long wait, just to hang out for an hour.
Edgeware Road (South) / Edgware Road (North) - These are to be avoided at all cost. I spend more time cursing myself for getting a terminating train to this station than I care to admit.
Embankment - This is where we watched the fireworks and parade, and I realised just how dangerous other people can be when they're being nice and honest.
Euston - This is where me and dad met, and chatted over take away pasties last summer.
Euston Square - This is where the best journeys start, usually with a 3/4 mile walk through commuter traffic.
Farringdon - This is where the most stressful experience of my travelling career happened. No one has ever run carrying than many suitcases by choice before!
Gloucester Road - This is where I realise that the Underground, and different stations really can be artistic.
Goodge Street - This is where I wandered around looking for beer at 2am.
Great Portland Street - This is where we sat and watched the Circle line trains pass, in the hopes eventually a Met line train would come.
Green Park - This is where I got lost trying to transfer to the Piccadilly line, only to realise it was closed all weekend.
Greenwich - This is where we walked up the hill, past families and sweaty couples, and saw the first real day of summer hit London.
Hammersmith - This is where I wanted to ask a girl I'd just met on a date. In my head she said yes.
High Street Kensington - This is just another bland station to stop and start from.
Holborn - This is where we met to go to the Museum, when I needed grounding and everything was a mess. You probably saved me that day.
Hyde Park Corner - This is where we boarded after a day in the Park. I was so tired but so so happy.
King's Cross & St Pancras - This is where we walked for ages looking for a venue for this gig, only to realise it was next to us, and I wish I had kissed you.
Knightsbridge - This is where I went once, and realised I didn't get why people would come here by choice.
Lambeth North - This was my day off, and the last stop on a 20 mile walk across the city.
Leicester Square - This is where I met you and your folks for the theatre, and I realised how much it made sense being together.
Liverpool Street - This is the place where my siblings and I still meet as a first reaction. It's not local to any of us, but it's always going to be our comfort zone.
London Bridge - This is where we argued about the best route, and I was wrong.
Monument - This is where we got off to walk up the 300 odd stairs and look down on a city that was so new to me.
Moorgate - This is where I get off to walk across town when I need to think.
Oxford Circus - This is where we had free coffee and I nearly poured it down an old mans jacket when he stopped.
Paddington - This is where the fire alarm went off at 3am because someone thought it would be funny.
Piccadilly Circus - This is where we came looking for new microphones, and I made the mistake of not staying when you stopped at a pub.
Regent's park - This was a Sunday afternoon with nowhere to be and no rush to go anywhere.
Russell Square - This was a place I visited just because.
South Kensington - this was where I waited for you next to the dinosaurs, and you waited for me next to the Spaceships.
St. James's Park - This is where we finally went, after months of saying a day in the park would be nice.
Swiss Cottage - This is where we got drunk and talked shit, and made me smile.
Temple - This is where we drew the line and called off a day of drinking just in time to miss the fireworks.
Tottenham Court Road - This is where we got off looking for a drink, and found those girls in the bar.
Tower Hill - This is every Saturday for weeks on end, and still my favourite view.
Vauxhall - This was the end of the line, and a long walk to the Brixton academy
Victoria - This was a change of plans.
Waterloo - This was heading home after a really fantastic night out, holding hands and feeling special.
Westminster - This is modern architecture?

Not an inclusive list, but taken from here for formatting reasons.