London Underground’s Tunnel (BT) Vision?

In Satire on January 30, 2012 at 12:04 PM

Uber-trendy techie folk – and people who like to laugh at funny pictures of cats – are praising a nascent introduction to tube station platforms: their beloved internet.

The news follows successful trials in Charing Cross station – held in reaction to numerous complaints that people had to suffer the deprivation of not being able to learn of Katie Price’s new boyfriend for periods of up to an hour, which was considered a story state of affairs no civilised Western people should have to endure for any longer.

Different internet companies will compete to be the company to, in the eyes of millions, bring London out of the dark ages and at least into the 17th century. And editor of Techanics magazine, Nida Life, said: “The move is a positive one, but it’s about bloody time!”

On the current experience of using the mechanised, underground, 228-mile labyrinth of train tunnels, she added: “For far too long we have been travelling in these subterranean hell holes, devoid of the vital necessities for modern life. When I descend to tube platforms, it feels that I’m not just moving in space but also in time. It really is quite medieval, when you think about it. At least the stairways are machine operated; god forbid I would have to walk for the privilege of being so utterly disconnected.

“It also poses serious health risks for people to be without this technology for so long. There are widespread stress and anxiety issues and, as was shown a few weeks ago, more immediately damaging cases. A woman had a serious panic attack and subsequently smacked her head on a pole, because, running late from work, she was unable to instantly find out who had won the X-Factor semi-final and Tweet inanely about it.

“Thankfully, at neighbouring King’s Cross rail station there was a paramedic on hand – one of the few saving graces of our archaic cattle market masquerading as a transportation system – who took the poor woman to hospital and connected her up to a system that live Tweeted her heart rate accompanied with appropriate smileys.”

However, while the technology may avert such health problems, detractors say it may cause others. People in trials were frequently found bumping into each other, and even walls, in walkways, being distracted by their mobile internet. One fight even broke out, with the two punching with one hand and blogging about it with the other. Passers-by were too preoccupied to notice the man who seemed unable to communicate his distress verbally, with him only being helped when a friend read the following last-resort Tweet: ‘Just beet (sic) up by sum (sic) twat hu (sic) bumped into me at Sharing (sic) Cross. In corner, sad & hurt. No1 (sic) notising (sic) me lol. Help!’

One commuter we found, tongue out, eyes transfixed at the small screen mere centimetres in front of him, said: “This is Quaaaallliiiity news. Now I can look see what me (sic) mates is up to on Facebook, get in arguments about who should of (sic) shagged who on The Only Way Is Essex  and laugh at funny cats, even in the centre of earth, ennit, hashtag EL EM EFF AY OH!”

The internet in a picture

The internet, in a picture

But many are declaring that the measures do not go far enough, including campaign group, Technocrats. Their founder, Ariel Twat, said: “The internet is a real bastion of individuality, freedom, democracy and general goodness. Not having internet on the tube is a direct infringement of civil liberties, which almost amounts to Third World dictatorship. The usual old excuse trotted out of 50m of concrete is just a smokescreen for their nefarious, Orwellian ways of the corrupt, venal bottom feeders in Downing Street.

“The measures are a somewhat palatable compromise, but we won’t rest our plight ‘til, besides more physical space, we get internet connectivity in carriages, with free, isolated pods with fully integrated and finger and voice recognition iPhones, iPads and Macbook Pros, and interactive, popularity-dependent Twitter feeds running up and down the gangways, instead of the glut of advertising filth the apparatchik put on there at the moment.

“In a modern capital, people should be able to wake up in their laptop-ed rooms, walk, lobotomised by dull phone light, onto internet-connected tubes to the technological, uniform safety of their offices, and commute home later in the same unbroken chain of ceaseless connectivity. We will not rest until this is the case.” And, displaying an… interesting, let’s say, interpretation of Brave New World, he went on to used the society described within it as a benchmark, claiming “Huxley got it right”.

TAY waits with eager breath to see how the current plans are met and if these ambitious radicals get their way…

Joel Durston

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