Many years ago, I spent a lot of weekends in London. Travelling by tube from place to place, either in search of friends’ flats, a night out or a day poking around shops and markets. On a few occasions – long before England’s capital became overwrought with anti-terrorist laws and suspicion – I would take my camera with me and sometimes even set up shots in the underground train network with a tripod and long exposure. I’d travel at random and stop to take shots at a number of the more visually interesting stations. Alighting from the train with many other people into a world where there is never daylight, waiting as they all hurried away to leave me on my own in curved tunnels deep beneath the city.
Standing and hearing distant trains in distant tunnels, their rattling and screeching only whispered through miles of hidden darkness. Once the trains and travellers had left, the city’s rats would return to their scuttling along the train lines, careful not to touch the electrified rail and hope that someone had dropped fast food packaging or the crumbs of their dinner into the recessed channel. One of my pictures in 1993 was of the unique tiling at Chalk Farm on the Northern Line, late one evening. The station is nearer to the famous main market than Camden Town, so hordes of people pass through hoping to avoid the crush of the adjacent station on their daytime search for bargains at Camden Market.
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