One Stop Short of Barking: Uncovering the London Underground Hardcover – 30 Sep 2004
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Love it or loathe it, the Tube is the world's oldest underground system, frequented daily by a staggering 3 million passengers. It has spawned classic phrases like 'Mind the Gap', has carried the rich and famous from Tony Blair to Geri Halliwell and has its own unwritten set of rules of behaviour and protocol. A refuge for all manner of wildlife from rats and pigeons to drunks and backpacking tourists, it still has a unique and special character, known most intimately to London's daily commuter crush. From bizarre drivers' announcements, the new relaxed rules for buskers and timetables that exist only in the imagination, this book unearths the secrets, the eccentricities, the history and the survival tips of this hot, overcrowded and mysterious subterranean world.
About the Author
Mecca Ibrahim is the creator of the award-winning website www goingunderground.com
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Many thanks to the author and publishers and to Amazon for having this available
Full of advice, jokes, stories, pictures and cartoons in bite-sized chunks of text and illustrations about every aspect of the London Underground, "One Stop Short of Barking" is almost perfect for reading while stuck on the "Tube" or whatever is your nearest equivalent descendent of the world's oldest underground rail system.
Making a great present for friends and relatives among the millions of daily commuters and about-to-visit tourists, "One Stop Short of Barking" explains the Tube's history (first proposed 1843, opening 20 years later), its many tall tales and secrets, travelling etiquette, celebrity spotting (the Queen, Tony Blair and more), wildlife - pigeons to mice - and typical users, from theatre students to politicians smarming their way to Westminster.
As well as a survival guide and tips on busking (take the Tube's audition and then, if accepted, play anything except Wonderwall or Streets of London), "One Stop Short of Barking" (named after the station of the same name and the effect the Tube can have on you) has compiled the best selection of driver announcements ("This is Knightsbridge Station. All change here for Mr Fayed's little corner shop") between two covers.
"One Stop Short of Barking" even offers hints about securing a seat so you avoid a life of strap hanging and explains how to position yourself on the platform to always be opposite the opening doors (no, no, you'll have to buy the book).
Verdict: easy read, useful information, funny, good gift.
This hardback is quite small, and I would love to see a larger, longer, more informative, positive book. This one has lots of pictures, which was its best feature.
It is a good choice as present though to entertain the seasoned commuter or uninitiated out-of-towner.