No 8, No 2, No 3

April 22, 2009

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From Evening gowns in Mayfair to girls listening to funky through distorted mobile speakers in  Tulse Hill.  Nothing much to report.

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on the bus

April 22, 2009

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The clouds are black on New Oxford Street. A storm approaching. It hits the moment I board the number 1. The windows steam up and outside dissapears. Without destination or dirrection I feel attentive – suddenly submerged in impressions:

Deerstalker hat, competing mobile conversations in two different languages. a business person flits through his notes on ‘capital ambition efficiency board meeting’ A tramp collapsed on the street near Waterloo. Hail crashing on the aluminum roof.

I’m surprised how quickly the bus takes me out of my familiar surroundings. It happens as soon as the bus veers down one of the exits at Elephant and Castle. Past the boarded up Kestrel Estate and onwards through South East London.

Canada Water. I’ve no idea why bus number 1 terminates in a location that surely didn’t exist when the London transport map began. I’ve never been to Canada Water. Spacious new Jubilee Line hub. A lake that sits in front of a retail park.

Standing in the terminus at Canada Water I realise it’s time for my Bus jolly to take to take a reality check. Perhaps, in my imagination I had conceived of the London Bus route as something like a golf course where No1 green would be a short stroll from No2 tee. No such luck. I need to get home. The 47 is the bus which will do that for me. So these bus journey will follow a roughly chronological accepting the need to get back home eventually.

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The Number 1

April 17, 2009

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And so it begins. It’s inevitable. I need to make more journeys, develop the project. Where should I begin?

At the start of course. The number 1. I imagine going from there and following every bus route in sequential order. How many bus routes are there in London? How does the arcane system of numbering work? As soon as I arrive home I type the following question into Yahoo Answers:

How many bus routes are there in London? Where does the number 1 service run between?

Answer No1: Do you really care? If so, put on your anorak and go find out.

Answer No2: you must be bored shitless.

Answer No3 provides me with this route guide. It goes straight from 1-300 then jumps here and there with numbers up to 699 and all sorts of crazy once-a-month-at-2.47am-on-a-wednesday-endangered-species type routes after.

Yet, to me, the project makes perfect sense. I don’t think I’ve ever really completed a photo project, so why not set off on the most foolishly impossible project: The idea of travelling every bus in London equals the impossible goal of knowing London. Setting off toward the horizon, without ever leaving your own town.

The 76 home

April 17, 2009

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I was so short on money that I thought I’d get the bus home instead of the tube.  After 30 minutes of sitting in static traffic the bus terminates, I’ll need to pay for another bus.  I’ve saved neither time nor money.  Angry and frustrated by London Transport I aimlessly start snapping from the top deck of the next bus I board. Against the odds the result is captivating.

I had been trying to work out a way of visualising London for ages. And suddenly here it is. Monotonous chaos in the patterns of grey paving stones. Concealed figures. A view combining surveillance and vulnerability. Just photos from my everyday life.

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