Kiss, Click, Nothing – Tales from the London Underground

London-Underground-Stories

The gentleman sitting opposite me on the Central Line from Marble Arch is wearing bootcut jeans. Pejoratively, I assume the same of him as I do of all men whom wear bootcut jeans,  he is not the most sagacious of fellows. His eyes and mouth smile at nothing just before he gropes into his hip pocket, unsheathing a miniature moleskin diary. He writes furiously, smiling more. No doubt about it, he’s just cracked the case wide open and this meteoric breakthrough will give him a permanent place in the annals of lifemanship.

Exiting at Liverpool St, the guy telling me to stand clear of the door has had enough. This job has taken years off him, the mundanity. The resignation in his voice, his thousand-yard stare and sloped shoulders suggest he might be thinking of taking one step back and ending this – this perpetual misery.

Liverpool St is a fucking labyrinth. A hedge maze that not even a Scottish Widow could navigate her way out from. It’s a game of paper fortune tellers each time.

All imagery in this post by Richard Harris from 1 Shot. Be sure to follow 1 Shot on Social Media.

London-Underground-Subway

I plunge hopelessly into the slue of human traffic, no time to establish the correct coordinates. Strictly no stopping on the subway stairs. Should you for a second deliberate whether you’re headed in the right direction, you’ll be mercilessly stampeded and fed to the rats without word to next of kin.

London-Underground-Passengers

I reach the summit, there is nothing more euphoric than emerging at the right exit in Liverpool St to the sound of Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty Suite, the Introduction of the Lilac Fairy. There’s two men in the middle of station, one considerably taller and older than the other. They each chase their mouths down the same red stick of bendy liquorice, like a gay reimagining of the Lady and the Tramp spaghetti kiss.

London-Underground-Photography

I reach for the camera and in a miraculous feat of musketry, slingshot it round my neck and pull out the zoom. The crowd had serendipitously parted like it was a first dance at a wedding. The two men close their eyes as their lips near the penultimate inch of liquorice. This was what Bresson would refer to as that ‘decisive moment’ where the eyes, mind and heart all look in the same direction. Much like the boy jumping over the puddle, the frame before and the frame after would pale in comparison to that frame between.

KISS ‘CLICK’ NOTHING

The camera was off. I toggled desperately with the on switch which had become problematic after I’d spilt mint gelato down its innards on a recent trip to Genoa.

ON

GONE

The two men had parted, chewing anticlimactically on their sugary treats. One smirks. The moment had been decided and simultaneously, lost.

London-Underground-Tube

The escalator carrying me sullenly to Blomfield St, also carried a whisper from a passing conversation between a bald man in a chalk line suit and his doppelganger.

“I’ve got my battle cards on me John, I’m simply going to dismantle him”.

I looked over my shoulder, John nodded not so much in agreement, but in acquiescence. How could you argue with anyone that can dismantle another man with battle cards?

London-Underground-Tube


All imagery in this post is from the good grace of Richard Harris from 1 Shot, a professional photographer working in London. After harassing Richard at a recent press event he was kind enough to answer my request for accompanying images to this thought piece. If you click on any image you’ll be directed to more examples of Richards work.

If you enjoyed this leave a comment in the box below. I’d like to do more of these non-SEO, non-corporate etchings and if you’d like to collaborate with some imagery then please get in touch either in the comment box below or via the collaborations page.

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