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Dreadful Nonsense

"I've read your blog. it's really funny. you should write a column." - Jon Ronson

I can certainly vouch for this story as hurled about in the news all day today. This morning, there were two shiny faced infant policemen standing outside the train station. I noticed them particularly today (1) because of their extreme youth (they couldn’t have been more than 21) and (2) because one of them seemed to be extremely hungover and was clutching a can of red bull to himself like his life depended on it. I enjoyed the fact that my life depended on him being alert enough to spot a man walking on a train with a giant rucksack emblazoned with the word “BOMB” across it, because I’m not sure he was capable this morning.

When I got to Liverpool Street there seemed to be three times as many police around as usual, and there’s been quite a few in the station ever since the 7th. I was checking the back of their jackets, because I assumed at least half of them would be pretend policemen, or “community officers” as they’re labelled, but each and every one of the pairs of luminous patrollers were your actual police man. There’s even policemen patrolling the station platform in each of the tube stations. It doesn’t provide me with any kind of feeling of comfort.

Our driver today on the Central line was one of those who insist on making an announcement in each and every station. I’m not sure if this is policy any more, since not all drivers do this, but this fella was determined to have his say.
On the official Underground announcements, what happened in London three weeks ago today are “the events of 7th July”. On the official notices asking for donations to the charity, they are “the London Bombings”. According to our driver this morning they were variously “the suicide attacks”, “the suicide bombings” and “the explosions”. I’m glad I only had three stops to go, I think he was about to wax lyrical with details of the nail bombs as sprawled all over the tawdry papers this morning. My paranoia, I’m ashamed to say, reached some new depths when I changed where I was standing, just to move away from a man who would match a certain description, but I blame all the newspapers around me screaming the fact that everyone expects the bombers to strike again.

Last night I got the bus back to Liverpool Street, rather than the tube. I don’t know why, I just made that decision. The bus was full when it pulled up, so I was surprised that it stopped to let us on. The driver was shouting at everyone standing in the aisle to go upstairs. Most of the people standing in the aisle were ignoring him, but me and some other brave souls went upstairs. To reiterate – downstairs it was heaving. More people were crowded on to that bus than the tube at rush hour. Upstairs, there were about three other people. I looked around, wondering what had spooked everyone in to staying downstairs, but I couldn’t see it. No young man of a certain description. No big rucksack. No suspect packages. Nothing. Did they all know something I didn’t?

I stayed sitting upstairs and buried my head in Harry Potter, but was so relieved when we got to Liverpool Street and I could get off the Top Deck Of Death.


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