UA: Number 10

I now have 10 tattoos. My most recent tattoo was an impulsive decision thanks to instagram. So after being really excited for two days, I finally made the journey to the other side of London for a 20 minute tattoo.

The journey was faster than I expected. I spent the first 20 minutes on the train panicking that I would be late, but then the last 30 thinking about what to do with all my free time. Great. Sitting on the underground, I was relieved to see the 2 minutes per stop average still worked. It’s a very surprising thing, but I’m glad I had some normalcy. As usual, I probably looked like an idiot knotting string and avoiding people in the corner. Frantic glances up to the map, making sure I hadn’t forgotten the tattoo studio I frequent.

After aimlessly strolling around New Cross for 20 minutes, I walked into the tattoo studio I hadn’t seen since February. If you can’t tell by context clues, it was South City Market. I’m always there, and the staff made a point to joke about my almost full loyalty card. I think it’s actually full, but I’ll let it marinate for a week. I wonder what the reward will be.

So I sat really well for a blackwork tattoo on my forearm, posed for pictures I was severely under dressed for, and that was it. As quickly as I had arrived, I was ushered out of the door by a masked tattooist. I have to say though, she was so efficient. It actually got me thinking about applying similar blackwork techniques in cakes.

Aftermath

Before taking the tube back, and subjecting myself to the heat of the Central Line, I called my mum. She’s less social media savvy than I, which is saying something, but I set her a challenge. I said “they’ve just uploaded my tattoo to instagram, once you find what I got, I’ll get on the train.”

After 25 or so minutes of me explaining what Instagram stories were, and reminding her what I was wearing, she figured it out. She was scared I was going to get a spider. Or a scorpion. Or more chains, because that’s what my artist is known for. She was very happy to see I only got the word “icon” across my forearm. I anticipated a long line of questioning when I got home though.

The journey to and from New Cross spans three lines, one of them being the overground, so I had a journey ahead of me.

If anyone’s been to a concert at the o2, you know the tube journey on the Jubilee line home is just the worst. Absolutely no difference here. Sitting from Canada Water to Bond Street had me thinking about all the concerts and functions I had been to. I thought about how weird it was that I was actually sitting for once, and that I wasn’t wearing any overpriced merch.

The tattoo high kinda died down after a while, and was replaced by that familiar stinging sensation. The one from my mum asking exactly what my tattoo meant, AND the one on my arm, by the way.

I didn’t knot that much on the journey but I do think I started something cute.

Welcome to the family, tattoo number 10!

Thanks for reading, have a lovely day.

UA: Back in Business

Let’s ignore when I said I’d post an archive every week in March. Literally a week after that we were put under a national lockdown so there wasn’t really much I can do. I’m back now, though.

I took a little trip on the underground for the first time in six months yesterday, just to get a feel of what’s going on. It’s surprisingly normal. Slightly weird, but that’s just the nature of things. Armed with only my camera, my mask and some scoubidou string, I went out into the world. In the 2 hour timeframe, I managed to travel across 5 different tube lines, with vastly different experiences.

Red Strand

The red strand on my string represents the Central line. As usual it was hot, sweaty and annoying, but at least it wasn’t the Piccadilly line. Surprisingly, everyone was wearing masks and sat very far from each other, until the nightmare that was Notting Hill Gate. Was there some sort of invisible protest I didn’t know about? The change from central to district was full of crowds of people who refused to wear masks and tried to stand near me on the escalators. No thank you.

I had to duck and weave my way around, but I still had time to admire the irony that was a woman wearing no mask standing next to a sign telling people to cover up.

The platform at Notting Hill Gate on the District line can be intimidating to some. Not me, but definitely other people. As I walked to the middle of the platform, the feeling that people were looking at me was no longer a feeling. People in masks making sure I didn’t stand too close to them, and people without masks wondering why I was even bothering to wear one. It was an interesting experience.

Blue Strand

Both the Piccadilly and Victoria lines were trying. At Earls Court, I did try my hardest to sit alone, but a couple with a massive dog decided that I was the best person to sit with. The carriage was half empty, let me add. So here I was minding my own business, making a scoubidou when all of a sudden I see scooby doo sitting opposite me. Did the owners do this on purpose? They really made a bee line for me so I thought they had something to sell. Maybe they were going to lecture me on why using a mask was bad. Maybe the dog wanted to eat the keyring I was making.

It was the third one, by the way. Every time I’d look up to check the station, I saw the dog being pulled away from the strings. I’m not familiar with dog breeds but a google search for “giant black and white dog that looks like a wolf” suggested it was probably a husky. It was very cute. I think that’s why I forgave it so quickly.

The owners however? They gave me bad vibes and I ran out of Green Park every quickly. Like every Victoria line journey, it was boring but at least there were no delays.

Final Notes

I didn’t have a purple string to represent the Met line. I did travel there but unfortunately there is no evidence. Maybe next time. My thoughts upon coming back home aren’t anything odd really. As usual, people are annoying and the Central line is still hot. But it’s glad to be back in business and travelling around more. I look forward to regularly scheduled London activities, and defending the underground to any disgruntled tourist.

This is the scoubidou I was working on. It’s still largely unfinished due to the amount of times I had to get off the tube and change.

Thanks for reading, and have a lovely day.

Underground Archives: An introduction

If you’re like me, you’re one of the few people who enjoy using the underground and would defend it against anyone who dares besmirch it’s name. Our “we did it first” complex is strong, and we’re always ready to argue with every New Yorker, Hong Konger or Parisian who suggests we aren’t superior. (Sure, some of your railways are “cleaner” and “more efficient” but do you have the DLR line? I think not.)

The tube is a place where the true you is exposed and all your flaws come to light. The lighting is unfavourable, every noise and smell amplified by at least 1000% and everyone is glaring at each other. Not because of rbf but because no one wants anyone to sit or stand next to them. It’s true, Londoners aren’t the most social bunch.

In each instalment, I’ll talk about something I’ve experienced on the underground, or an interesting feature. Or maybe I’ll just talk about how much I can’t stand the Piccadilly line.

Enjoy the archives. I’ll post one every Friday.