curse of the mole people

virgil vogel\’s \”the mole people\”, 1956.

Arranged by John Pate and Riley Hampton. Engineered by Roger Anfinsen.

Written and produced by Curtis Mayfield; one year before his 30th birthday.

The Underground (subway) in Glasgow – originally opened to the public in 1897 – is widely referred to as \’The Clockwork Orange\’, owing in part to the one-time corporate colour of Greater Glasgow Passenger Transport Executive. Confusingly, the paint used to decorate the carriages was officially coined \’Strathclyde PTE Red\’ as a result of political sensitivity – after the fact – to the city\’s major sectarian divisions. The third oldest subway system of its kind in the world, it operates on only two lines of track, an inner and outer circle, each running counter-clockwise and servicing just fifteen stations across the heart of the city.

Worryingly, many of those lesser stations operate on a single platform. It is all too easy to imagine oneself toppling – or being shoved – on to a live rail or, worse, directly in front of an oncoming train. It is not remotely a child friendly mode of transport, or one to be countenanced by the squeamish.

Parents cling to their offspring, chalky faces paralyzed with anxiety.

When I was a mere kid myself, the passenger seating consisted of bare wooden planking, and those narrow platforms were only dimly lit by naked sixty watt bulbs strung sparingly overhead on cables as substantial as rat chewed threads of skirting board insulation. The carriages were claustrophobic and unsanitary. A smell of piss and beer. One huddled into a corner and held one\’s breath. Avoided eye contact with the obviously inebriated and simply sat it out; rattling along through black tunnels rank with underground pockets of natural gas. Good times.

Another child farther along forced to give up his seat for an elderly weasel in an overcoat while a fat man sleeps it off splayed out on the bench with one unlaced shoe dangling.

The Tokyo Tube may pack them in like sardines – inert and upright, and red eyes streaming from the Sarin – but at least its trains are spotless.



0 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Hello. I am still breathing, if you wondered at this latest absence. I needed to step back from the drop awhile, the empty space between the rails, to let the game play out. It has not been pretty for