underground sound

The underground is loud enough to drown out all thoughts, which I guess is what makes people choose to ride it. You can be on autopilot, switch off. When you're underground there's nothing but the underground. It binds people in a way that little else can – geographically, of course, but also physically. There's few other places you'll sit side by side with strangers and it not be weird. The front door crew form a tribe. They don't look at one another but sense their belonging. Different lines form different tribes, distinct in their habits and lifestyle. Then there are the readers, the make-up artists, the music-creeping-out-from-headphoners. But though everyone is united by a desire to escape, everyone's reason for that escape varies vastly. There's the working mum who, having given up on dreams of being an actor years ago, has succumbed to a nine-to-five. There's the father of five, a strong corporate leader, leaving the chaos of the home front to the wife for another day and slipping into an ordered organisation. Everyone is fleeing from and fleeing to. It unites people in a way you wouldn't tell from their eye contact. Most look down-at-heel, others have hidden that shabbiness behind dark suit. The nicer the suit, the deader the look in their eyes. So we don't look at those. We sit, on autopilot, switched off, listening to the sound of the underground.