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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
And the winner, due to his discerning taste in reading material...
“People have syrprising stories to tell,” says Dicketts. “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”
Perhaps we’re not such unfriendly Londoners, after all.
Words: Harriet Hall