Research trip York to Nottingham

18.24 Crosscountry (old Virgin train)
Coach D 42 A

Quite busy, I’ve sat in my seat. Adjacent to me is the table I purposely chose my seat for when using the online booking form.
A man. A woman on a laptop.
Lots of young people with attitude of various sorts.

Ticket collector came – I said hi and smiled (will work up to a question) he said hi back.

This is quite difficult to do. I prefer observations, talking to people is very daunting. The train is quite bumby, bit worrying when it does that.

Three young men behind me involved in the armed forces at a level, presumably fitting for their age. Talking about who’s platoon has it harder, drinking cans of Stella Artois.

The bubbly gaga of a child.

The other group of teens with attitude (emo/punk) appear to be Spanish.

Someone has an irritating clip playing, apparently on YouTube. I maybe able to tweet.


I feel closed in to my seat now, I’m under pressure. I wonder if my theory that trains are more social because of their liminal-ness was wrong. Totally knackered though.

Arriving into Doncaster. Short power nap. 18.53

At least one interesting thing: – a pallet load in a goods yard adjacent.

Oh no we just stopped. Our arrival gives the army lads something to talk about.

Things of interest: a stuffed toy of the Olympic mascot in the ‘Journeys Friend’ platform shop.

I can hear: cans. quiet male chatter. the engine or sound of the train. still.

the woman on the laptop is a student, she has an artile out titled, ‘other’ – boys negotiating non-hegemonic masculinities in the primary school.

She’s started reading one of those cheap real life magazines.

I am privileged travelling at night, not to see the landscape but the light-scape, straight carving motorway lines, industrial shopping parks with neat rows of car park lights, like a chess board (or better analogy). Random lights of differing intensities, some in clusters, some on their own.

The armed men still jock with each other. taking the piss out of their mothers or girlfriends in such a way that clearly says ‘I love them’, but is intended to cover up this feeling. How sad, how excited they are. How miserable they’ll be in 20 years, no-one cares for a broken soldier, they’ve served their purpose.

Change at Sheffield.

A quiet train. But busy I can hear quiet chatter and the hum of something electrical. People are looking for their seats and I’m in the wrong one.I hope it doesn’t become a problem, although whoever should be here should’ve been here from Manchester.

Nice chap served me in the whistle stop at Sheffield. No-one smoking though so no-one to speak to there.

A small kerfuffle at the table I’m sat at to do with reservations, too complicated to explain here, but so typical of the non-verbal language of trains. Same girl from the previous train is sat on the table down in my eyeline. Amazing green top, showing off her tattoo on her back with a transparent panel.

*write a poem about mandatory seat reservations*

Ticket collector approaches.

The two girls sat next to me are discussing crochet: initially one girl, sat next to the window kept glancing up from her book at the other girl struggling with wool and needle, finally she puts a book mark in her book, closes it firmly, puts it down and methodically removes her earphones. She begins by explaining she can do it well and would she mind only she can see the girl has almost got it …and is now giving the other girl an impromptu lesson. They’re now engaged in discussion together. The crochet novice has a Scottish accent, perhaps Glaswegian.

“anyone like to admit to getting on at Sheffield?” the ticket collector gets closer
“anyone like to admit to anything at all?”, I feel tempted.

The crochet lesson continues, I feel involved now as I explain I am an audience to it all.

This is a much more open train. The lighting, seating arrangements, ticket collector, having to speak to people in order to be able to find a seat and sit down are all factors in this.
The wine and the train carriage carrying few young squaddies. People are plugged in left right and centre. The man next to me, Sudoku on his mobile. The man in front a small laptop and iphone playing songs.

Alfreton: square peg, round hole(chapter title), generally dark outside, A no smoking sign. I can hear the rustling of papers.

Slowing down.

I haven’t written about why I’m taking this journey. I am excited I’ve no idea what I will feel, if I will be disappointed? Soon the tax offices and the castle will appear, Nottingham will arrive.

Maybe I could be 18 again?

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