Monday, December 12, 2005

Let the train take the strain 

Ok, time for my eagerly awaited collection of train related observations and anecdotes (who says I don't give you anything for Christmas):

First up.. two activities to make you feel special:

* Visit a major London station with a single large departure board (I used Kings Cross) in the evening rush hour. Stand in the middle of the throng of people staring at this board, but face in the opposite direction. Look around at everyone's face, then look diagonally upwards and imagine someone taking a photo of the scene. How special do you feel? I felt great for a while, then I felt like I was in one of those adverts for HSBC that claims that everyone is an individual. (Then I started imagining the next scene in the advert, me walking around a busy open plan office in smart suit and tie but with my penis hanging out.)

* This one only works on certain trains (it works on the inter-city between Swansea and London), also it works best if you've had a few drinks from the 'travelling buffet car'. This is the place where the 'travelling chef' lives. I always get excited when they announce "we have a travelling chef on board today," expecting that Ansley Harriot will be camping it up or Gorden Ramsey will insulting passengers. Then I remember what they really mean is that there is some spotty YTS kid warming up eggs in a microwave.

When the train is travelling at speed it becomes rather difficult to keep your balance when walking through the carriages. The tendency is to walk quickly and aggressively to give yourself enough forward momentum to avoid falling on the seated passengers. The automatic door system in these trains assists this approach as doors fly open almost instantly so as not to impede the lumbering idiot charging though them. They also make a cool hissing noise.

So here's what you do. Imagine you are a powerful wizard (travelling from London to Swansea to do battle with the forces of evil). Walk quickly from one end of the train to the other (on the way back from the buffet car to your seat). When you near a door throw your arm forward with out-stretched palm as if you are throwing a great electric blot towards the door which will then hiss and snap open (you obviously need to get the timing right). Yes, you do have the power to command doors to fly open! Continue through the next carriage without breaking stride and repeat. Your gestures can get and more elaborate (you could use both hands, or start to wind your arms up before unleashing the bolt).

I've only tried this once, had a few drinks inside me and it felt great. Great that is until I got to the last door, on which I used my most elaborate and powerful move. Both arms wound up, and a mini stride forward and a power-pose. The door hissed, then twitched, then started to open. Very, very slowly.

Anyway, give it a try, let me know how it feels.

(more train stuff to follow)

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