Saturday, 4 June 2011

Balloon Technology

A long line. Pinball people crashing into each other. Brellas and smartphones. Sparks bursting off steel, sweat dripping from advertising tiles. The Tannoy crackled with broken announcements. My train was delayed. The child slapped the side of the chocolate machine. Commuters huddled out for taxis and replacement busses. 

She turned to me. "Wanna piece?” I sat on the plastic people holder and ignored her. “What line you need?”

“Central.” I said hiding from the CCTV. I stood and checked down the dark mouth of the tunnel like a Blitzkrieg dentist.

She folded the candy foil into a razor edge and sliced the Tube poster. Red ink dripped from the line map opposite the platform. The electric line sparked like suicide ghosts. 

“Mind the gap now.” I felt the cold breath of rushing wind as I fell.

Train lights strobed as the map dripped blood onto the tracks.


  1. You know, I spent my formative years in a big city but since '82 I've been living in a small city/town in northeast Kansas. Definitely can't say I've liked it but life doesn't always let you go where you want to. I sometimes blame a large part of my ennui on feeling like a dazzling urbanite trapped in an unfortunate rustic setting but then I read this piece the other day. I didn't have anything to say at the time but it wormed its way into my head and I'm back, taking a close look at your picture of the subway and reading your words again. The feeling of loneliness and despair you created in an urban setting seems to have a sharper edge to it. Makes me wonder if I really want to go back to a big city.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is thank you for helping me think a little harder about my dilemma. I think I have some clarity now.

  2. Wow thanks Vincent I'm glad it resonated with you and hopefully helped. I'm the same I think. I do live in a big city, not as big as London though I visit there quite often. The thing that often strikes me on these platforms at rush hour is now matter how busy or full they are the trains seems to carry loneliness between stations.

    It's something I'm fascinated with at the moment so I'm very grateful for your thoughts on this. I'm writing a novel that is trying to twist the usual horror convention of removing people from urban landscapes into desolate countryside. I want to experiment with making the city bigger and more detached from the soul and use that as the trap.

    Thanks again, always lovely to hear your thoughts.



Paws: The Revenge.