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I heard this one particulra story about minding the gap on the underground. It sounds very much like an urban legend, but just thought it worth mentioning.
Apparently if you fail to 'mind the gap' on the underground and actually slip between the trian and the platform so that you are wedged between the two, this is official procedure.
Firstly as you are still alive (one half above train, one half below), they stop the train from proceding until a guard contacts a relative or loved one, of the soone to be deceased. They are then allowed to say their goodbye's before the train HAS to drive off in order to set the trapped passenger free. Unfortunately, this procedure leaves the passenger dead (as you can imagine) by tearing their midriff in half.
This is what I heard, as you'll agree it sounds like a tall story, but probably worth writing about in an entry on 'minding the gap'
This sounds totally like an urban legend that is wearing a T Shirt saying "I'm a complete Urban Legend!"
Anyway in the uk.transport.london newsgroup I'm come across several people who have fallen into the gap and survived to tell the tale - although there doesn't seem to be a particular procedure for getting people out
"I have been down into The Gap and it is a dark, forbidding place where
creatures from your darkest nightmares lurk...
"Seriously, folks, I have the distinction of having been down into the gap
and returned safely.
"I was on the westbound district line and it happened at either West Ham,
Bromly by Bow or Bow Road (doesn't the female announcer sound silly when she
says that!), one of those. I can't remember exactly, I was busy cheating
death as you do on a Monday morning.
"The carriage was packed and I was right by the middle of the doors. When
they opened someone wanted to get out so I had to get out as well to make
way for them.
Only there was an idiot standing on the platform right where I had to s"tep
out onto and I wasn't able to step either way. With the crowd pushing me I
HAD to step out onto THAT spot. Except the idiot just stood there, showing
people how 'hard' he was by not moving.
"I was being pushed out and he wasn't moving - I had nowhere to go but down
into.... The Gap!
"Fortunately people woke up and grabbed me by my arms and pulled me up and
out of that yawning abyss. I wasn't going to be be a person under the
training disrupting the timetable that day."
Howzat for a true story!
I saw a billboard on the Tube the other day that said "Last year 159 people failed to Mind.. the Gap!"
So even with the absurd reverberating tirade there are enough people clumsy, forgetful or foolish enough not to heed the warning!
At one point in Neil Gaiman's "Neverwhere", a surreal dark fantasy adventure story involving parts of the London Underground, the bad guys say the group will get off at the British museum station. When the hero says there is no British Museum station, the villain replies, "There's not?! Well, then you'd better be careful when you exit!"
I must get round to reading Neverwhere. I saw the TV series ages and ages ago before my tube fascination started and introduced the series to my site last year.
I feel a guide entry coming on.
A guide entry about the Neverwhere TV series (and a bit more) lives at http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/alabaster/A471313
That's a very good overview of "Neverwhere" on your website. I fit the description mentioned of someone who does not care much for gothic novels (or fantasy in general, preferring "hard" sci-fi), but has been to London and really liked the story. I think I had an audio version way back, then bought the video from Amazon UK ... which leads to a translation cost here in the USA for PAL to NTSC ...
"The story has a real feel of menace, personified by Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar, assassins hired to do various nasty things ..." and who have some of the best lines: "If you prick us, do we not bleed?" "No, we don't." (with apologies to Shakespeare, I think - Merchant of Venice?)
An interesting entry on "Neverwhere", some good trivia:
"(Gaiman) says the reason that people kept dropping into water in one episode to the fact it was written in Tori Amos's house - which happens to be a bridge."
Steve, yes, I believe that's correct.
Are you still following cricket? Today I've been watching the Kiwis (NZ) dealing to the Poms (England) at a park across the road from my house here in New Zealand.
I only occasionally get a chance to talk about cricket - if not in a discussion here at H2G2, it's with one of the store clerks from Pakistan or India. Its sort of a voyeuristic interest in something completely outside my experience, since American sports have gone beyond boring for me. The clerks tell me England is back, after some years of struggle, so I suppose your Kiwis have their hands full.
In a classic case of the Empire fighting back, the Poms (England) actually won the game last night. NZ leads the five-match series of one-day internationals 2-1.
While here in Godzone the Poms will also be playing a series of three five-day Test (proper cricket) matches. I'll keep you posted
Tell the store clerks that the Kiwi cricket team will be kicking serious butt when it tours Pakistan in April
Your town is named "Godzone"? So you've got Supermodels and Hollywood and Rock stars wandering around?
I'll think I'll pass on the taunting of the Pakistani clerks (or the Indians), the US press reminds us daily that these folks have nuclear weapons. And, of course, that the US will end up in the middle of whatever happens ... I think there should be term limits on being "the only superpower". Maybe NZ would care to take a turn?
In any case, take it easy on the Brits, they still mourn the "Ashes" I think.
Clean, green, peaceful, free, (Dubya eat your heart out) New Zealand is known (by people who have visited here) as "God's own country" (Godzone).
And we are out of range of missiles launched by India and Pakistan.
Steve, empires and superpowers come and go. Britain was the dominant one in the 19th century and the US in the latter part of the 20th. I suspect in a few years time it will be China's turn.
Yup, the eastward flow of empire - Rome, Britain, USA, China ... 'bout time for shift change ...
Hooray - a mention of cricket on H2G2!
If you don't mind me stemming the conversation of Empires, I'd just like to say that we (the Poms) will almost certainly get a roasting in these one-dayers. Although if Funky Nasser can stay fit we might stand a chance in the tests (whoops nearly wrote testes then, what was I thinking).