hi


back to The Sun Sets, But...
1. The Tube

0.

'Busy tonight?' 'Not too bad.' Get on an Express train outside a small run-down house on the wrong side of the tracks and wait till it arrives at the North Pole where you'll meet - 'How's business?' 'There's more taxis in Dublin than there are in New York.' Sit in a small rowing boat that drifts across a freezing lake in Scotland until it rounds the next bend and the castle appears. Knock heavy on the great wooden front door and when it opens you'll meet - 'Is that right?' 'They did a count. Not sure if that included private or...' 'Blimey.' Stand with an excited crowd, clamouring against the wrought iron fence, until a small door opens and a man limps out. He trips on the red carpet, then calls you forward and finally you get to meet - 'A party is it?' 'Something like that.' Amelia in the small plane that crossed first. Engineers in the train that one day will connect Beijing to Berlin. Huge frigates of dying French soldiers off the Egyptian Coast. Scott in a sledge that only went South. A boy in a van on his way to the station. Bus drivers, taxis, your parents in the front, you in the back. 'My daughter's there.' 'What does she study?' 'English. I did Engineering back in the day.' Get on an Edgware-bound Northern Line tube from anywhere in the City and wait till everyone gets off at Camden Town. Chalk Farm. Belsize Park. Hampstead. Then something magical will happen - as it does at many points on the great grey ring of Zone 3 - the Underground comes out into the open air. Watch me sigh and look out the window, properly look, not just stare into the rushing black that wails between Mornington Crescent and Euston and rattles the rest of the way. My headphones aren't very good at noise-cancelling so the volume's turned all the way up, which can't be good for me but this is an album I love and I want to get to a song I haven't listened to in a while before... I get off, walk a hundred yards and meet- 'What did you do?' 'Moved around a bit. But I didn't enjoy it.' 'How long have you been driving?' 'Forty years.'

1. The Tube


back to The Sun Sets, But...

©2007-2021 Benedict Esdale