Walk the Lines The London Underground Overground Kindle

Walk the Lines The London Underground Overground As the blurb suggests the book follows Mason who has lived in around London and like many Londoner’s I assume has become interested in the ever changing map of the Underground Wandering around where he lives he travels up a side street he hasn’t before and realizes if he continues he’ll create a triangle back to his house – a realization he hasn’t made before He decides to walk the entirety of each length of the line in a type of homage to the city Line by line he beings to walk these tube lines and tells us a lot about the city I bloody adoreI just want to put in a little aside here Mason only walks 11 of the London Underground Lines refusing to walk the Overground Line and the DLR I find this a little unfair – definitely still part of London Mason wanders the line giving snippets of local history that might one day help on a pub uiz He is a really entertaining narrator especially in the beginning of the book and I found myself desperate to undertake the walks myself especially the Circle Line Pub CrawlI haven’t finished this book and it’s why I’m also yet to finish a Bill Bryson book The beginning of the book is really interesting It’s new ground it’s a non fiction book written in a fiction style As you can imagine we do end up walking through endless housing estates As the lines cross we do get uite a bit of repetitionThe first couple of stations take up a couple of chapters But as we go further stations take up a uarter of this I think a big selling point to this unless on the DLR is you get to pick out your station Many don’t get the coverage unless they’re big names ie Wimbledon or Morden The pub crawl is fun but it does feel as though Mason realized that he needed to make it fun Following this certain walks are done at night which does stop the author seeing the highlightsI think a main problem is that it doesn’t really reference people It mainly references buildings and so it lacks a little passionSo what did I think I really enjoyed dipping in and out of this book Read one tube line put the book down for a bit read another tube line It’s not a book I think I could physically read in one go because it’s too heavy It’s a perfect gift for a new Londoner or a walker who might be tempted to walk the 11 lines For me a great dip in and out but not uite there As a lifelong fan of London Mark Mason embarks on a mission to 'conuer' the capital once and for all The only way to truly discover a city they say is on foot Taking this to extremes Mark sets out to walk the entire length of the London Underground overground passing every station on the wayOver the course of several hundred miles he comes to understand a sprawling metropolis that never ceases to surprise In a story packed with historical trivia personal musings and eavesdropped conversations Mark learns how to get the best gossip in a City pub how the Ritz made its female guests feel good about themselves and why the Bank of England won't let you join the M11 northbound at Junction 5 He has an East End cup of tea with the Krays' official biographer discovers what cabbies mean by 'on the cotton' and meets the Archers star who was the voice of 'Mind the Gap'On a broader level Mark contemplates London's contradictions as well as its charms He gains insights into our fascination with maps and sees how walking changes our view of the world Above all in this love letter to a complicated friend he celebrates the sights sounds and soul of the greatest city on earth Almost as difficult a slog as the actual 20 mile walks and this is due to the writer despite having many facts to hand I like a good hard fact not being as funny as Bill Bryson or puppyishly amiable as Stuart Maconie or a bit eccentric like Tim Moore all men these when will there be a female light hearted traveloguer? He's not a great companion moaning about town planners the “nanny state” street signs art deco architecture the art supplies shop called Let’s Fill This Town With Artists and cyclists whilst referencing women by their hair colour “a tired blonde” He writes like a CAMRA member wanting to get something off their chest rather than someone trying to engage the reader It's not that interesting to know what you had for your mid walk Starbucks snack dear writer He even uses the pages to name and berate his female friends who ask him why he’s doing such a strange thing Oh these silly women with their fashions and their fripperies they don’t understand that a man must have a challenge a raison d'etre and no sorry he can’t do the washing up he doesn’t have time for your nonsense  Inspired That's a challenge for next year Love the way the authors brain is wired up we must be related some how This book is genius informative entertaining and inspiring I’ve always thought in Personal Tube Map terms but never had the correct phrase to explain it to myself Only thing left now is to have a go at this myself Although I don’t know that I would re walk all the bits I’ve covered where lines either share track or a route if there was nothing new to see I also don’t understand why the author insisted walking to different branches Why not walk one way train back to the fork then walk the next bit? A light but enjoyable read Plenty of interesting trivia and observations As someone who loves to embark on long walks urban and otherwise and with a real love of London there was plenty of thought provoking material here This has inspired me to walk the lines myself currently 5 lines done as of writing and there are some interesting facts in this book but Mason comes off as a bit snobby and backward at times ; it's an averagely written book about a riveting subject Further Mason's unwillingness to explore the DLR and Overground seems silly as it misses out swathes of the capital simply because he classes himself a puritan and doesn't think they should even be on the mapA decent enough book if you like me are fascinated by the Underground network but not a great piece of writing in general Do you know the street in London with the most vowels in a row? After reading this book you will An interesting read about one man and his desire to walk the London Underground Lines and see how it all connects I loved it and disliked it for three eual reasons LOVED1 I really enjoyed the determination and endurance of one man's uest to see it all I mean I could not walk the distance of a marathon in one day or over one evening in fact The all nighter one was both fascinating and just crazy in my opinion2 I laughed so much while reading the Circle Line walk that was thoroughly entertaining as they slowly drank their way around central London 3 I love a good trivia knowledge nugget and there were definitely a few there that were great to know that just make you love LondonNOT SO LOVED1 He didn't consider the DLR or the London Overground as cannon and therefore didn't walk them I thought this discredited a lot of the culture or growth of East and South London and as a result there was a lot of talk of North London and Metroland without the balance of other parts of London 2 While it was nice to have friends join him on some of the walks I felt like it distracted him from a few fun facts along the way There was a lot of talk and then 'we passed X station' and that's it3 While I know he loves to tick off a list I thought he tortured himself there by trying to walk a lot of lines in a day or walking 'offline' between lines eg High Barnet to Edgeware I wouldn't have judged him for catching a bustraintaxi to help speed things along on the 'offline' moments Enjoyable birthday gift from a best mate in which the author conspires to walk the route of each of the London Underground lines which nevertheless brought to mind a Caitlin Moran uip about George Galloway which I’ll paraphrase “the kind of activity most commonly considered in the midlife crisis years by men who’ve hitherto got away with trying it on and without exception think ‘I sound dashing Like Iain Sinclair circumnavigating the M25 for psychogeographic adventure’ Sadly the phrase that onlookers most commonly think is ‘why is that podgy man trying to cross the Hangar Lane gyratory on foot?’”An absence of powerpolitics is perhaps not surprising from a Spectator writer who betrays some oddirritating perspectives Jean Charles de Menezes death covered up by the Metropolitan Police is tossed off as “controversial” sex workers are “tarts” for example while there’s an ongoing obsession with suicide Still the self depreciation saves the day at one point uoting Jeffrey Bernard that “the trouble is I bore myself When even a self obsessed man is made to yawn by his own daydreams then there’s no where to go” Bill Drummond’s cameo appearance toward the end provides a suitable ending to the book which I’d recommend alongside “Rebel Footprints” as essential supplementary reading

About the Author: Mark Mason

Mark Mason's previous non fiction includes The Importance of Being Trivial Walk the Lines The Bluffer's Guide To Football and The Bluffer's Guide To Bond He is also the author of three novels and has written for most British national newspapers though never about anything too heavy and magazines from The Spectator to Four Four Two He lives in Sussex with his partner and son

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