Friday, December 7, 2012

Transport... transporting...

Do you 'do' public transport?

My husband is a heavy user and would quite happily never drive again. I have never seen him huff and puff quite so much as when he heard what Maggie Thatcher had apparently said about public transport:  'A man who, beyond the age of 26, finds himself on a bus can count himself as a failure'.

He must have been 31 at the time.  There is some doubt that she every said it but if she had then old Mags was simply being a Tory in the 80s. It wouldn't wash now, no matter what side of the fence you sit.

Now that we're in Melbourne and I'm working, I'm back on the train.  A couple of peak hour trips put me clean off the car option.

I've reverted to my London ways. In that great heaving city there is a necessary method to train and tube travel. Regulars have their own spot marked on every platform they use. The doors open right there, the exit will be in just the right spot for that carriage. They never ever loiter on the left of the escalator.  I may not have chalked my marks on the Melbourne platforms yet but I always storm up the side of the escalator huffing at people who stop and stand on the right.

Last week a young woman clipped her nails right behind my right ear. They were her fingernails, not toes but I was utterly revolted. When I turned to frown I saw the artistically placed tatt and Hells Angels pendant and let it be.

Speaking of public transport... (this, in the news business, is known as a segue and they are often clumsy) I was idly browsing online today and stumbled upon the work of Sophie Blackall.

Her name felt terribly familiar. Of course she is the Australian illustrator of the Ivy and Bean books. But she is also a woman who can see the romance in public transport - her work is in the subway carriages of New York where she lives. And she has a lovely book which will make the best Christmas present if I can get it in time.

It's Missed Connections - drawings inspired by those classifieds ads people post in the hope of finding that mysterious stranger they saw at a party or on a train. She collected them for her blog which then became a book.

You can buy her prints on Etsy - a lovely two part present. The bear guy has become her favourite apparently.
You probably know all this but even if you do you should should really watch this video about her work.

I did because Bryan Sun told me to. He has a fabulous photo project Walking With Giants. He's been photographing artists, artistically. The Design Files told me to read his blog.  And a friend told me this week it was a pity I'd quit blogging. She won't follow me to instagram.
It's Friday, a day for doing what I'm told.

Anyway watch it. In the madness of the pre-Christmas, pre-holiday, pre-everything rush it will give you a lovely quick insight into the world of a woman who can see the joy and romance in train travel. And that is quite a feat.


  1. Wow ... this was an awesome and interesting post, Ann. Thanks for entertaining me while I am up in the wee hours with insomnia.

    My husband and daughter are in New York on a 2 night holiday, so loved that aspect as well.


    1. Thanks so much Glenda - we Australians dream of a two night trip to New York!

  2. That's really disgusting re the nail clipping. Honestly, it never fails to amaze me the lack of civility on the trams etc. I used to walk to work in Melbourne - I worked in the Rialto, and it took me around 40 minutes to walk there from Albert Park. It took the same time on the tram, so unless the weather was dire, I preferred to walk and avoid the crush of human misery on the tram. Love the Missed Connections series - very quirky xx

    1. And that is why Albert Park would be such a lovely place to live! And that is why it's so unaffordable! Good reading material certainly helps block out the crush of human misery. Unfortunately the clip clipping shook me out of my bubble.


Thanks for taking the time to write, Ann x


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