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(a study in boredom)

Ian Collington, Tim Bentink, Peter Lodge, Keith Wilson. They sound like members of an 80s band. ‘The Underground’ perhaps. None of the websites could agree upon the most famous voice in Britain.

Had this commute already become so tedious that he was driven to googling the man behind the “Mind the Gap” recording?

Bryan closed his browser and slipped the blackberry back into the outer pocket of his pin-striped suit jacket, scanning the passengers in the swaying underground train. He stood, facing in from the end of the carriage, one hand resting casually in his thigh pocket, disturbing the razor sharp crease of the trousers; the other hand gripped the ceiling-suspended-sprung-knob-thingummybob simian fashion as he rocked gently to the soporific rhythm. He’d only worked in the city for a few weeks. Was he destined to become one of these commuter zombies? Grey faces, grey people, grey lives. The train squealed into Queensway station. There was the voice again – “Mind the Gap”. Who are you? Brian picked one of the names at random.

“Thanks Mr Ian Collington.” Startled faces looked up from the faded patterned velour seats. Velour? Crushed velvet? Whatever.

Bryan watched a desultory procession shuffling out of the doors, as other drab commuters stood aside politely waiting to embark. Bryan had been on a trip to New York recently. The city had energy, bustle. We’re a nation of queuers.  They filed in – accountant, accountant, IT guy, banker, ugly git, Nice boobs, Bucktooth, bearded lady, big hair. The pneumatic doors hissed closed and the rattle and clack built up again. Bryan looked up at the map on the wall for the umpteenth time. He knew it off by heart. Only one more station before he could get out at Paddington thank God. Just Bayswater to go.

“The Mayor of Bayswater, he had such a pretty daughter, and the hairs on her dicky dido hung down to her knees. One black one, one white…”

His quiet song trailed off to a sea of disapproving glares. None but the closest could even have distinguished it. But he had broken the silence. For the second time.

He sighed as the faceless returned to their newspapers and crosswords.