Weekday morning, 8.30 am, I make the change at Green Park from the Jubilee Line onto the Piccadilly, heading towards Holborn. Due, presumably, to the complexities of linking two separate systems of underground tunnels, this particular change involves walking through a subterranean complex of futuristic looking conduits that guide scores if not hundreds of passengers from one platform to the next.
All at once, having descended a flight of stairs and rounded a corner, the strains of a jazz keyboard begin to fill the air. A busker, on the traditional corner (a little down from the Strictly No Busking sign), accompanies the commuters as the city breathes in. A calm gently sweeps across the marching pedestrians, their step becomes less hurried, more laid back. Even the announcer on the PA seems a little more groovy than usual, his voice is smooth, like a thirties crooner
Good morning ladies and gentleman,
This is your morning update from here,
The control room at
Whether through skill or luck, the music remains in time, gently fading slightly as the announcer speaks, moving into a more vibrant instrumental in the pauses between speeches.
This morning, we have a good service
On all London Underground lines.
The beat of the commuters’ walk provides a constant rhythm. In the pause, you can almost hear the announcer slipping away from the microphone, maybe clicking his fingers in time, taking a drag from his cigarette before returning for the next line.
Passengers changing at Monument
Are reminded that
Escalator refurbishing means interchange with Bank is available
At surface level only
The pianist accompanies this with a little flourish, but maintains the chilled out tempo. The crowd, still silent begins to round the corner at the end of the tunnel. His audience thinning out, the announcer finishes the set.
Passengers are reminded to keep all of their
Belongings with them
At all times.
Any unattended baggage may be
Removed or destroyed
By the security services.
Rounding the corner, and the pace speeds up, the commuters return to their customary bustle, hurrying to make the next train, getting back to the daily grind as the early morning jazz fades away.
Thank you for your attention.