London Talking…

A blog, from London, about talking. It’s the musings (did you really just use *that* word on this blog?!? – Ed.) of the brother of a schoolfriend of mine. He’s from Sheffield, but now lives in London and he does things that no-one else ever does. He talks to people. On the Tube. And then he writes it all down.

Here’s the how and why:

People notoriously don’t talk to each other on the tube in London. As a newcomer to the city, I thought a good way to introduce myself to it (literally), would be to strike up conversations with strangers on public transport as I make my way around. I plan to chat to people and write up the results like mini-interviews here. But there are rules:

1. I can’t mention the blog or tell them why I’m talking to them

2. I have to mix up who I talk to, not just my age group or people I feel comfortable with

3. The talk-ees will remain anonymous, but I can describe them

4. No talking about the weather – keep it interesting

This could either be a fascinating study in social interaction or a roundly humiliating experience which ends in me getting punched in the face (as some people have suggested I will), or maybe just a bit of light entertainment for you good people of the internet. Let’s see.

I wasn’t sure if it was for me when I began reading, but you find yourself being drawn in to the posts. It all seems very superficial at first glance, but the snapshot of ordinary people’s lives is actually hugely intriguing and leaves you wishing you knew more.

Even without any deep analysis, there is the sense that the people he talks to are existing, rather than living. And that confirms my experiences of people there as well. The difference between the people residing in the city and the people visiting the city is obvious. While it may be one of the most exciting cities in the world, it seems that it takes being an outsider to see and enjoy the excitement. For those living there, it’s just about making the money to be there, which seems rather weird.

That said, how many of us enjoy what Cape Town has to offer? How long since you last went up the mountain, did a wine route or took a wander round Kirstenbosch?

Let’s face it, those are your best options for entertainment in the Mother City, because the chances of you having a chat with a stranger on public transport in Cape Town are precisely zero.

  • Gary

    Yeah well, talking to someone on public transport requires you to actually USE the public transport, and there’s laws of nature against doing that.

    And what you say about appreciating the city in which you live is true, to some extent I’d imagine, irrespective of the city. When you see something like Table Mountain every day, you grow a bit blase about it. I enjoy the view from Chappies, but then, I don’t see it every day. If I did I’d imagine it would simply become what I saw on the way home from work in the afternoon (at the hour I travel to work for most of the year I see what my headlights illuminate). Nothing special. May as well be a concrete wall really.

    But yes, it has been too long since I’ve seen the view from the top of Table Mountain. In my defense, though, it’s not really a place for under 2’s to safely run around as they will. So it’ll be a while still before I do go up again. But my kids will have been up before they reach teenager status. And Kirstenbosch is but one of the very nice nature gardens around the greater Cape Town area. There’s plenty to see and do when the weather is nice.

    It’s when the weather isn’t so nice that it gets a bit more challenging when you’ve got to entertain/control two small kids…

  • Gary > What are you on about? For starters, what about the Aquarium? And… erm… there’s… er…

    OK. Yep.

  • I use public transport daily in Cape Town. The MyCiti bus is just like the tube but as for Metrofail I sometimes wish the passengers would STFU as you can’t hear yourself think for all the inane drivel.

  • What is odd about talking to the person next to you????