Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Saturday 21 February 2009

A free paper to read...

rather than just let your eyes slide over, that is.

One of the irritations of London life - if you use public transport - is the free-paper distributor constantly nudging the line between catching your sight and actively getting in the way. Metro, in the mornings, is at least just piled up, and you can take one or not as you wish (though it becomes a nuisance when the discarded ones pile up on the floor, and even block train doors); but there's a business paper thrust at people trying to get down the escalator at Canary Wharf, and again at London Bridge with the distributor hovering in the middle of the exit doorway. In the evenings, there are two evening free papers whose distributors are in fierce competition wherever people gather, at bus stops and outside stations. Once a week, commuters have to run the gauntlet of people waving free sports magazines at them. And the fact that one already has one's hand full with a bought paper somehow doesn't seem to register with most distributors either. One more reason to use the bike wherever possible.

But something I discovered, while back on the tube during the snowy weather, is Notes from the Underground, consisting of short stories, poems, reviews and news about literary events (and a piece about Belleville by "petite anglaise" that's given me a few hints for my next trip to Paris).

It seems to have appeared some time ago and disappeared again, and I have to say the content is patchy, to my taste: but what a welcome difference.

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