10. Water

Pisces
6th March

There are several hundred people living under London. No one can say when the first people started living down there, but it has certainly been growing steadily since 2000.  They are a close, strong community due to the harshness of their circumstances. The elder generation are mainly people who lost their homes during the big recession, those who couldn’t get jobs, the sick and the disabled who were abandoned as successive governments privatised the NHS.

The elder generation, although mocking of the above-landers, still hold a buried shame and desire to return to the daylight. The second generation however, now in their late teens and early twenties, don’t have this desire. Born in the tunnels they are proud of what they are, scavenging is their art and the above-landers are cattle to be milked.

The biggest difficulty about living down there is finding clean drinking water. Although Underlondon is partially flooded most of the time, and contains the old buried rivers of London, the water is dirty and the rivers have become sewers. Instead the people of Underlondon have sort out the ancient springs, trickles of fresh water flowing from cracks in the brick work. These springs are precious to the people down there and the holy qualities of the springs, appreciated in the past, are returning.

Where as many an above-lander has come to the rational conclusion that there are no gods, the Underlondoner knows there is nothing more rational than treating what sustains your life as Divine.

Previous:

9. So where were we…

8. Drunken Delirium
7. Hallucinari
6. Dread
5. Slapdash
4. Eyes in the Machines
3. Underlondon
2. Abel
1. What YOU Need!

( I know I should be listening to CD’s instead of writing this, but I really can’t stand those little black speakers I’ve got, and when I do listen to a piece I like on CD I have to listen to it again and again and again.)

9. So, where were we…

 Ah yes, Elsie is worrying, Steve is drunk in stilettos, the mad woman at the station is preaching and blowing down a harmonica, and Abel is slowly creeping down a tunnel looking for the opening Steve told him about. His mouth is like a miniature chalk mine, his brain is set on automatic as he touches his way through the darkness to the tune from the Spletzer Martin advert.

Underlondon is a vast place, a maze created by accident, innovation, experiment and deceit. Ancient rivers merge with sewers, wine cellars link with catacombs. Deathly dark, as you’d expect, and as complicated as the city streets above it. Large parts are permanently flooded ankle deep in water. This does not bother it’s inhabitants, who, aside from the terrapins and crocodiles, have built shelves for their beds above the flood level. All their belongings rest on these shelves, from marmite to stolen diamonds, vast platforms made from found timber and steel, scavenged, as their life is, from the above-landers.

Previously:

8. Drunken Delirium
7. Hallucinari
6. Dread
5. Slapdash
4. Eyes in the Machines
3. Underlondon
2. Abel
1. What YOU Need!

3. Underlondon

Sketch of a rat on the back of an Individual Learning Plan

Please Note –  I cannot be held responsible for what may happen to you should you follow my instructions.

At Baron’s Court Station, after you’ve been past the barriers, take the left staircase down to the west bound platform. At the bottom of the staircase quickly swing yourself off the platform and on to the track.

You’ll find a small pebbled area running along side the track only just wide enough for you to walk  along. Walk east, the opposite direction to the trains, towards Earls Court. About 50 metres from the station the tracks separate, the District line stays above ground and the Piccadilly  goes underground. Follow the Piccadilly track. You’ll find, once your eyes become accustomed to the dark, that its quite easy to walk along here, sticking closely to the walls of the tunnel for safety.

As you feel your way along you’ll relise that there are lots of openings and gaps in the tunnel wall. About 12 metres into the tunnel you’ll find an opening slighly larger than the others and that if you run your fingers along you won’t come to the wall, but to more and more open space. You can crouch down and squeeze yourself into it, but I wouldn’t advise it yet, not till you know more about its methods and madness.

This is a connecting passage, there are many of them and they connect between the different tunnel networks sprawling under London. So, as a traveller of Underlondon you can go from lost rivers and sewers, to jewel deposit chambers, from nuclear hideouts to the passageway running from the Harrods shop to its warehouse, the old Post Office underground railway to escape passages from the palace. You can in fact get almost anywhere in London via these passages, going unnoticed by the masses above you.

One might think that with todays fear of terrorism and the monitoring of almost everything these passages would be shut off or atleast heavily guarded, but no. Dark, damp and rat ridden they are protected by, as Douglas Adams named it,  an SEP field (somebody else’s problem), making them impossible to detect by anyone who isn’t deliberatly trying to find them.

And who in there right mind would want to find them? For here be monsters!

Next – 4. Eyes in the Machines

Previous –

2. Abel

1. What YOU need!