diamond geezer

 Sunday, September 29, 2002

Last Train To Epping

It's not quite the last train to Clarksville that The Monkees sang about, but it's still one of the world's great epic journeys. People gather, drunk, on the platforms at Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road and Holborn. They wait for ages, because there's a huge gap between trains at this time of night, trying hard in the meantime not to stagger off the platform onto the live rail. Then they crowd into the Cental Line carriages, in cattle-truck conditions reminiscent of the weekday rush hour. Some are still finishing off chips and kebabs, much to disgust of the nostrils of the majority. People try to grab a glimpse of the front of the early editions of the Sunday papers, disbelieving that John Major ever had a sex life, let alone with Edwina Currie. Around Bank the more inebriated passengers grab onto whatever or whoever they can, as the train careers violently from side to side round curves resembling a theme park thrill ride. A group of lads shout loudly across the carriage at each other in a foreign language - which might well have been English earlier in the evening. And at Mile End I escape across the platform to the waiting District Line train, happy to abandon the drunken revellers safe in the knowledge that I won't be ending up back in Essex with them by mistake.

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