Breakdown on the Northern line

It was around the time someone mentioned rats that I started to worry.

We had been stuck on the tube for more than half an hour by this point, lodged uncomfortably on the northern line in the tunnel between Camden and Chalk Farm.

The driver, helpfully, informed us over the tannoy “that we aren’t moving at this time”. Really? Hadn’t noticed.

Oh Tfl, what a time to have a power failure. Saturday night, with Halloween upon us. It wasn’t the last train but it was close enough, and there were dozens of worse for wear passengers including an inebriated ‘priest’. A few of the brighter sparks decided it would be a great idea to go to the back of the train for a cigarette, at which point a conscientious woman in my carriage decided she didn’t want to “testify in the inquest” and went to inform the driver.

Some 20 minutes later, our fate would be revealed. Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it’s down the train tracks we go. Ever planning on walking down a London underground tunnel? I’d recommend you don’t do it in heels. These boots were not made for train breakdowns.

Eventually back to Chalk Farm, hoisted up with the help of some friendly Fire folk (not on strike this week). Out the station, into a chaotic world where the night buses were so full they weren’t up for stopping, and where taxi drivers turned down a group so desperate for a ride they’d have paid well above the odds for the privilege.

Just another Saturday night in London, really.

Guards and Goats – the glamour of London Clubbing

Out clubbing last night, at that hub of North West London social interaction, the Electric Ballroom in Camden. Most remarkable thing about the night? There was more security there than guarding the top secret headquarters of MI5, the CIA and the FBI put together (probably – I’ve never actually been to the top secret headquarters of these places. I did go to the FBI building in Washington DC, but surprisingly enough, they no longer let tourists in).

Anyway, while I exaggerate just a smidgen, the security was pretty tight. For starters, the queue stretched over an hours wait down the street, so that would have been enough to deter even the most enthusiastic of criminals, drug dealers, general low lifes or whoever it is who is persona non grata at the club. Thankfully, I left my British side at home yesterday, and pushed in fairly near the front, so at least that obstacle was cleared.

At the door, a menacing bouncer shot me the omnipresent menacing bouncer grimace (always wondered if there is some special bouncer academy where they train that?!) and gave my driving license a cursory glance, So far, so standard. But this was merely the start of the process. Because inside, my license got shoved on to some swanky card-reading machine, subsequently making my license mug shot appear on screen. Once they’d determined I wasn’t on any most wanted lists, I was sent over to the next stage: the bag search.

So, OK, I get that chewing gum is a problem for clubs. It gets stuck on walls, toilet doors and then some poor shmuck has the task of cleaning it off. But still, it really pisses me off that they confiscate it at the door, because after all, everyone wants minty fresh breath when they go on a night out. A packet of cool breeze Extra (the Turquoise one) inevitably makes it in to the hand bag, and its just heartbreaking when it is cruelly seized and tossed into a bin. A tragedy of Shakespearean proportions really.

Mind you, at least my Kit Kat Chunky made it out alive (enterprising as we were, the cash back queue was shorter than the cash machine one).

The icing on the cake, the eliminator round, if you will, was a body search. Lovely. All this for the joy of paying £8 to go into a dark room, drink cheap vodka and dance to cheesy music. If only that wasn’t quite so much fun…

You’d think I was Colonel Gadaffi, trying to gain entry to a camp site, the amount of screening there was. I waited less time, and underwent less complicated scrutiny when I visited the Houses of Parliament last month.

Maybe for Gordon’s next series of Goats, he should call up the manager of a night club?  I’m sure they could handle National Security issues just fine.