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'Tell me something surprising' London commuters share sweet personal stories with curious blogger

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Ah the Tube. Our love-hate relationship with the London Underground knows no bounds.

Every morning we squeeze in, enjoying the musk of our fellow commuters who affectionately dig their elbows into our spines or shove us into other people’s coffees, to secure a seat. Such fun.

Amy

Amy Dicketts, author of Commute Blog

But rarely do we stop to think about who are fellow commuters are. We regularly see the same people on the train day after day. Some people may even have secret affectionate names for the regulars they see each morning (Paula Hawkins knew this when she wrote The Girl on the Train), but does anyone stop for a chat?

Amy Dicketts does.

London commuter, Dicketts, has spent the past eighteen months chatting to strangers on the Tube and documenting her findings on her Commute Blog.

“I’ve just been flat hunting. I’ve seen a lot of hovels and a lot of mouldy bathrooms.”

“I’ve just been flat hunting. I’ve seen a lot of hovels and a lot of mouldy bathrooms.”

law

"If I didn’t have to do this journey I’d be getting drunk - I’ve just finished my law degree!"

Dicketts, who told the Evening Standard that she was “a really nosy person” and often enjoyed chatting to strangers and finding out about them, decided to start the blog when she realised how many people have such interesting stories to tell.

“I came up with the idea of Commute Blog because I used to travel almost the entire length of the Northern line every weekend and I knew there was something more interesting I could do than listen to my iPod,” said Dicketts.

spoon

“I mostly carve spoons at the moment. All different sizes and types, made of wood. I like to make really small porridge spoons and give them away to all my family.”

beyonce

“I like Beyonce.” “People see the way we’re dressed and think we’re twats who only like pretentious music but we love her.” “She’s the Queen.”

The blog features photographs of people Dicketts meets on her journeys (mostly on the Northern line, if you want to bump into her) and an interesting quote about their lives.

Revealing how she encourages people to open up, Dicketts said: “I always ask them if they can tell me something surprising about themselves. That usually stumps a lot of people, so I try and draw it out of them by asking what they do or where they're going. It's funny how many people have remarkable tales to tell and don't even realise it.”

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“Someone will look like a normal person and then they go into a cafe and kill forty or fifty people. They say it’s for religion but it’s not. Their religion says you shouldn’t kill anyone, you shouldn’t harm anyone.”

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“I work for my mum on Harley Street - I freeze people’s fat! But I really want to be a TV presenter.”

Dicketts has learned that: “people with dogs are always really friendly,” and that most people “really liked having their photos taken.”

Amongst the people Dicketts has met, are Bafta-winning director, Olly Lambert, who Dicketts spoke to about his dog. It wasn’t until afterwards that the blogger realised who he was.

Olly

“Eddie’s a rescue dog... Sometimes people on the tube chat away to him and don’t even notice me. I’m like, ‘hi!’” Ironically all we talked about was Eddie, and it was only afterwards I found out that Olly is an award-winning director!

And the winner, due to his discerning taste in reading material...

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This guy held up the magazine and said “I’m reading Stylist!”

“People have syrprising stories to tell,” says Dicketts. “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

Perhaps we’re not such unfriendly Londoners, after all. 

Words: Harriet Hall

Images: Commuteblog.co.uk

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