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“Hate is…” the Tube

“Hate is…” the tube

Living in London is quite a terrific experience. It is certainly a place that offers an incredible number of things to do. From galleries to theatres, films to street performances, Thai to Brazilian food, museums to markets… it is only a matter of making a decision and heading to the selected place. It sounds pretty easy, doesn’t it? Hold on a second!!! Is it not a little bit too expensive to do all these things? Don’t you have to put up with minor details, like the (sometimes) dreadful weather, American tourists, or simply getting to the place you want to go to?

Well, I am not going to analyse every single thing that you have to “tolerate”, I really wouldn’t have the energy. I have already discussed the reaction that “wet socks” have on me. Who knows… I might try the other subjects some other time. At the moment I want to concentrate in one particular issue: the tube. And before I continue let me just put this word in context for those of you that are not familiar with the term. The tube is the way Londoners refer to the underground system or  (in American English) the so-called subway. Please do bear in mind that the latter means a completely different thing in the UK… OK! Let us go back to the subject. I am aware that talking about the zillions of little topics that could be discussed about the tube, would take more than a small piece of text and the last thing I want to do is to kill you of boredom. So I have decided to tell you about something that really has been getting on my nerves lately: the ghastly, abominable “Love is…” campaign in the tube.

You might remember those horrid cartoons created by Kim Casali created in the ’70s. They basically picture this ridiculous naked couple with round faces and cheesy phrases describing what love is supposed to be: “Love is… when you are the centre of attraction”, “Love is… welcoming her mom in a week’s visit”, “Love is… ” rubbish. The worst thing is that these appalling pieces of culture were actually all over the world, translated into several languages and, now, even used to “encourage customers to behave more considerately towards each other and also to have more respect for their surroundings” in the bloody tube.

Looking at the images that they decided to use for the campaign, the only thing that comes to my mind is: “Why on Earth did they think that’s going to encourage people to behave more considerately? They just make me cry, they are ludicrous!”. Besides that, if you pay a bit more attention to what they show, it is always the bloke the one that is doing something wrong. From my point of view, she must suffer real hysteria; just look at her face. On the other hand he is more relaxed, and tries to enjoy his journey: both being important qualities to endure a tube trip, specially if you are unlucky enough to be in the district line or even worse the circle line…  I am entirely sure they could have hired the services of very talented graphic designers, with good and fresh ideas for the campaign to be a success.

Anyway, fortunately enough I don’t have to use the tube that much, but I can’t wait for the ads to disappear from every tube station. By the way I am also sending one of the cartoons (one would help me to make my point, more would be like torture), so that you can see them with your own eyes (in case you don’t believe me).


(Written: Feb 2002)