5 top tips for using the London Underground

“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.”
Samuel Johnson

This is a quote from a bloke called Sam.

Clearly he’s not experienced the London Underground on a Monday morning recently. He’d be tired of his life. He’d be sick of his life.

I’ve recently moved to the big smoke and it’s safe to say the London Underground at rush hour has been a shock to the system. It’s busy. It’s really busy.

So what can be done? If only there was somebody willing to offer the good people of London some tips and advice? Maybe someone who’s done the commute three times and therefore deems himself qualified to give tips and advice. If only there was a Northerner with very little knowledge of London, lot’s of time on his hands and a passion for writing.

It’s your lucky day London.

Here’s what I’ve picked up so far:

1) Don’t speak to anybody.

I blessed a man who sneezed and it clearly threw people off. He sneezed quite loudly on a packed train so I blessed him. I unnerved many of the people in the carriage and the bloke who sneezed was clearly confused as to why a strange man was talking to him.

Just don’t speak to anybody. You’re only going to scare people.

The people I’ve spoken to so far on the tube have been terrified. Suspicious of my intentions as if I’m attempting to take money for a charity via a direct debit or potentially mug them.

2) Don’t touch anybody.

A man touched my belly.

His hand was at belly height and when the train came to an abrupt stop at Tower Hill his hand disappeared into my belly for around three seconds.

Obviously I couldn’t speak to him, (see tip #1), so I just pretended like nothing happened. You’ll do well on the tube if you just pretend like nothing happened.

3) Stand on the right.

So I’ve never had to think about escalator placement until moving to London. I usually just think about that emergency reverse button. I would love to press the emergency reverse button.

Now I’ve got to remember to stand on the right. Otherwise someone behind says ‘Excuse me please’ in a really angry way. The angriest politest phrase in the English language.

4) Mind the gap.

This may seem like an obvious one but you’d be amazed by the amount of things that end up going down that gap. I’ve seen people turning up to work missing a shoe because they didn’t mind that gap.

I was told a story of a German tourist who didn’t mind the gap once in the late 1990’s. He fell straight down that gap. He was only a slim German tourist which is why he was able to slip right down the gap between the train and the platform. As legend goes he’s living a healthy and happy life down that gap somewhere on the Central Line. Some people don’t believe the story, some people say the story is made up. Some people say there’s a strong smell of Bratwurst between Shepherd’s Bush and Holland Park.

I’ll let you make your own mind up.

5) Take snacks.

Have a mini Monday morning victory and crack open a can of Pringles on your way to work. Take pleasure in the fact that other commuters will look at you with envy that you’ve had the genius to bring snacks. Don’t offer the Pringles to other passengers as they will assume you’ve laced them with crack.