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Unofficial London Underground signs

What I like about these fake London Underground signs is the implicit disrespect of authority. If this idea catches on, some poor Transport for London official will have to make a statement about the importance and seriousness of signage on the London Underground and the terrible risks of meddling with it. This will only add to the fun, much as the fake cigarette health warning stickers were made funnier by the neo-puritans’ humourless reaction to them.

I want to see more of this kind of misbehaviour.

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18 comments to Unofficial London Underground signs

  • Lee Moore

    Me, not so much. It’s still graffiti and it involves abusing other people’s property without their permission. Everyone likes a good joke, and some of these jokes are funny. But when someone scribbles a good joke on somebody else’s wallpaper, the appropriate response is to put on one’s po- face and complain about the abuse of property rights. That’s not puritanism.

    Sure, in this case, it’s government property not private property, but I don’t believe graffiti artists distinguish the two.

  • Personally I don’t resent all the information on London Underground maps, because that really is information that I need. Changing the names of stations is still funny, but I feel no animosity towards the original. In many ways, I see such name changing as affectionate rather than angry.

    The nagging signs are another matter, and a few months back I spent some time photoing such things. It’s the sheer quantity of such signs, in trains and in many other places, that is so amazing.

    I’d particularly like to see some piss extracted from the amazingly numerous health-and-safety nags that you see outside building sites these days. These are crying out for this same treatment.

  • Banksy's Right Bollock

    I’m all for it. Anything that punctures the sanctity of state owned anything is fine by me. Plus they’re fucking funny.

  • Another thing. Maybe I am being very dense (which is highly likely), but are these actual photos of actual alternative printed signs, or photos of real signs that have been (very well) photoshopped? Or a bit of both? It is not immediately apparent, or not to me.

    If they are real signs, then if they only remained up for the duration of the photo session, then surely little harm was done. Graffiti hangs around and is hard to remove. But what of these signs?

  • When (and why) did London Transport become Transport for London?

    And is there a Transport Against London?

    (Sorry, but something about the name “Transport for London” strikes me as pretentious.)

  • Corsair

    Brilliant! Very funny. I bet this has raised the spirits of very many travellers on the underground. More of this sort of thing, please.

  • RRS

    Brian, if you are “dense” please continue to provide us with those digestible slices.

  • Sam Duncan

    What I like about these is the implication that, with such a plethora of warnings, nobody actually reads them.

    Ted, there was a fad in the Blair era for making everything “for”: Transport for London, the Department for Education, etc. I’m convinced this was primarily so they could use a lower case “f” in the initialisations to make them look all foreign and continental because that’s, like, totally cool.

  • Laird

    Who makes these signs? They’re brilliant.

  • Brian, they look to me like real stickers stuck over the existing signs. Perhaps they remove easily, but perhaps not. Lee Moore is correct in principle, at least where real private property is concerned, but even private property owners should have a sense of humour. In the case of London Underground, unravelling any sensible notion of property just seems too difficult and uninteresting a problem.

    It is really the nagging signs that need fun poked at them. I’d like to see more of that, specifically. The other day at a train station I heard an computer voice announcement explaining that people should be careful because trains might go past.

    Laird — I can’t even tell if the photographer made the signs or someone else. Perhaps we will never know.

  • Alisa

    Lee does have a point, but I’d enthusiastically volunteer my own London property, if I had any (sigh). These things are indeed brilliant.

  • Lee Moore

    RobF : “even private property owners should have a sense of humour”

    Sure. But some people don’t have much of a sense of humour. And they’re entitled to enjoy their property and their liberty nonetheless. By all means poke fun at anyone you like, but leave their stuff, and their persons, alone.

    And even people who do have a sense of humour will find that it fails them when someone else’s joke puts them to trouble and inconvenience.

    RobF : “In the case of London Underground, unravelling any sensible notion of property just seems too difficult and uninteresting a problem.”

    No. Unravelling a sensible notion of property is easy. The property belongs to Transport for London. Government property is still property and there are very good reasons for treating government property with the same respect as private property – society does not benefit from the theft and vandlisation of government property. Certainly it’s harder to see whose (ie which humans’) moral rights are being abused, to any significant extent, in the case of theft or vandalisation of government property, but from a practical point of view, a relaxed view about government property leads directly to the tragedy of the commons.

    Rob F : “It is really the nagging signs that need fun poked at them”

    Poke away. With your stuff.

  • The last toryboy

    Old Holborn must be involved somehow, given the Fawkes over Holborn!

  • When (and why) did London Transport become Transport for London?

    When the Greater London Authority was created by the Blair Government (with its directly elected Mayor, first Ken Livingstone and subsequently Boris Johnson), a new body called “Transport for London” was created under the powers of the new London government to run transport in the city. The previous body was actually London Regional Transport (LRT), which was run directly by the national government, and had been since 1984, when Mrs Thatcher took responsibility for transport away from the Greater London Council . There was never actually an organisation called “London Transport”, but the London Transport brand was used by LRT and a whole series of predecessor organisations since 1933. There was no reason whatsoever why TfL could not continue using the “London Transport” brand, other than that Ken Livingstone felt the need to be pretentious. The Mayor of London and the greater London government didn’t (and doesn’t) actually have much power over anything, so it is reduced to being pretentious in lieu of actually doing things.

  • Laird

    In my book, “being pretentious in lieu of actually doing things” is a fine, and perhaps the highest and best, use of political talent. More, please!

  • Dale Amon

    As a friend of mine said: “Every joke is a tiny revolution.” Make no mistake. We are revolutionaries, out to overthrow the socialist establishment with humour, disrespect and disobedience.

  • veryretired

    Our local transit corruption is getting another leg of their multi-billion dollar boondoggle ready to open next year, so I’d love to get a copy of that one about the giant sloth.

    I’d ride it once just to put it up, sniffing from all the purists notwithstanding.

  • Round where I live – Manchester-ish – there has been a huge crop of stickers on bins for the “Ralphie Milne Ultras”

    (Ralphie Milne played for Manchester United and is widely seen as having been Ferguson’s worst signing ever).

    These have now been added to by a crop of “Viva Ken Barlow!” stickers and across Paris (I was there recently) it’s “Dolphin’s rape perople”. Stickers seem to be the new Facebook.

    Or something.