Like many Londoners, I both love and hate various aspects of the public transport here. I love how efficient it is (most of the time), the helpfulness of the staff, the general cleanliness of the trains and buses (again, most of the time) and the fact that I can get just about anywhere in the city within an hour.
I don't like how crowded it can get, especially during rush hour. The Victoria line is my worst offender. It's not only packed solid but air circulation is abysmal, meaning the line is not only crowded but stuffy and beyond claustrophobic. It is at its worst in the morning when everyone from North London is packed into the trains, and I intentionally avoid it by taking the Picadilly line and changing to the Victoria at the last possible moment, even though it probably adds about 5 minutes to my trip.
This morning though I found an excellent solution to the overcrowding problem. Like all amazing scientific breakthroughs this came about by accident but I'm going to use it anytime I don't want my face shoved in some Russian's stinky armpit between Holloway Road and Green Park.
1. Find a comedy CD that you haven't heard in a couple of years. Say, Lewis Black or Dave Attell.
2. Put the comedy CD on your iPod or portable music device and crank it when you're on the Tube.
3. Look like a normal commuter, dour-faced and avoiding eye contact with everyone, closely examining either the adverts or the floor.
4. Laugh to yourself at the jokes only you can hear.
5. Laugh out loud when appropriate. But continue to avoid eye contact and otherwise act normally.
6. Watch as the people around you slowly move so you have a nice little 3-foot circle all to yourself.
7. Enjoy your commute.