Last night was the launch party of Blue Guides’ Smoothly from Harrow: A Compendium for the London Commuter. About 70 people squeezed themselves into the book-lined basement at Stanfords to raise a glass to our latest publication—the hot crush seemed oddly appropriate for the subject matter, as was the fact that one of the planned readers missed her moment because of leaves on the line outside Pinner (or some other London Transport meltdown).
The author, Chris Moss, had promised us no speeches, but in a few words he still managed to name-check Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Betjeman, Ray Davies and Waterloo Station. The book is rather like that, although special mention should also go to the superb photography and London Transport Museum‘s wondrous posters.
Brian Daughton and Bob Greig then read their ‘Commuter Confessions’ (extracted from the book) to a clearly sympathetic audience of fellow-travellers, and we all briefly contemplated following Bob back to Devon where he now lives—or maybe strangling him.
But, no, as Chris writes in the book, the commuter is the ‘low-key hero of our times’ and ‘the key witness of all that passes in the capital and its environs’. And so we left Stanfords with the book well launched—and headed heroically for the Northern Line.