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Saturday, July 09, 2005


"Well - business as usual, Mr Ward!!

Yes, business as usual.

Last night, at about 21.30, all the lights went out. So this is it, I thought, it's finally happened, the Mullahs have exploded an EMP over the city. The GoldenEye has opened... Then I tried to to call my friend Michela a half a mile up the road:

xj: Hey, Michela, have the lights just gone out at your place?

MICHELA: No, what are you talking about?

xj: Oh... must just be a brownout...

It was, in fact, just a brownout. And it was, in fact, just a brownout of my block. And it was, in fact, nothing more than a practical joke brownout: you know, the sort where you rush to the store to buy up their stock of candles, flashlights and matches, and get back home precisely five goddamn seconds before all the lights go back on...

God bless the electricity company and all who serve in her. I saw worse brownouts back before 9/11. (That was when I shared an apartment with an accountant from London Energy; my theory is that someone in his office had a grudge).

This morning, half the Tube network was out of action. Osama and his miserable passel of raisin/virgin afficionados may gloat, if it warms the cockles of their shrivelled hearts, but we Londoners know better: this is business as usual, Mr Ward! On one out of every ten average days in this city, half the Tube network is out of action. Half the Tube network being out of action is our normal state. In fact, the Tube's definition of good service is "trains are running to some vague approximation of timeliness". You think you can scare us by making trains crap? Bworn an' bred in de' briar patch, Br'er Osama!

Kidding aside, that there were Tube trains running at all today was a triumph. It's a fine tradition of this city to hate and despise every connected with the Tube network, so I will not say anything along the lines of I am proud, honoured and humbled by your incredible achievement in keeping our city moving and thus spitting in the face of the evil men that tried to hurt us all, and you especially, the other day. May God bless you all. No, I would not ever care to voice such sentiments. I'll just look forward to the day when we can go back to damning the damn Tube network for their damn ten minute delays without any inconvenient choked-up feelings of gratitude...

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