Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Thoughts of Angel

I spend more time in Angel these days. In the ticket hall of the Tube, there's one of those whiteboards containing a daily witticism – a piece of cod wisdom or popcorn irony that normally makes me groan.

In recent weeks I've been allowing myself to get increasingly angry about these mottoes. It's not their triteness that upsets me; it's the cynicism of the exercise. They're dishonestly designed to give the impression that in some back-office of Angel Tube sits an eccentric, moustached and rubicund Station Master behind a mahogany desk, his study lined with leather-bound books of poetry and framed photographs of steam locomotives. In the corner, a gramophone plays Elgar. Tapping out his pipe, and gazing wistfully at the specks of dust dancing in the morning sunlight, he reaches for his fountain pen and chooses the day's memorable morsel of philosophical wisdom, before giving the brass buttons of his uniform a polish.

But surely these daily sayings are in fact emailed in from from some centralised and overbudgeted TfL marketing department, who have cut-and-pasted them from some crappy Facebook group riddled with kitten photos, then pre-vetted them for customer appropriateness according to a set of satisfaction-quotient criteria. They're then soullessly copied out every day, complete with spelling errors and bad punctuation, by one of the cleaners.

As it turns out, neither of these scenarios is entirely true. For I was rather pleased to stumble across the Thoughts of Angel website, which carries this prominent disclaimer.

And there are details of recent charity fundraising efforts by the station staff, and a few other bits of local news. It's scanty so far, but apparently genuine. And I cannot find fault with creating 'a link between the daily commuters and members of staff'.

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