The TfL graffiti challenge

TfL is running a poster campaign as part of its Art on the Underground initiative. It consists of a series of quotes which, according to the website, “provoke thought on life in the city”.

One of these is a quote from Gandhi, which I’ve seen proudly displayed at various points along my commute to work. It reads

“THERE IS MORE TO LIFE THAN INCREASING ITS SPEED”

As I spilled off my overcrowded Jubilee Line train after waiting an unfathomably long time at London Bridge, and squeezed my way on to the Central Line only to spend five minutes sitting in a tunnel, it occured to me that the expression of this particular sentiment is rather brazen on TfL’s part. I am very well-behaved and couldn’t possibly consider breaking the law myself, but I hereby offer £20 cash money to the first person to send me photographic evidence that they have found one of these posters and added the line

“ON THE OTHER HAND, IT WOULDN’T BE A BAD PLACE TO START”

Palestra

I spent this morning at TfL’s newest home, the Palestra building on Blackfriars Road.  When construction began several years ago I used to pass the site every day on my way to work and wonder whether it was ever going to be anything other than an enormous hole, until one day it seemed to emerge from the ground fully formed, dwarfing everything around it.

Some local residents opposed its construction, and it’s not hard to see why: there’s nothing context-friendly about the design, and apart from anything else it blocks the river views of the buildings immediately opposite.  But once you’re inside there’s a lot that’s good about it: it’s open-plan without being blandly corporate, the communal areas look like some actual thought went into how and when they would be used, and I only heard good things about the canteen.  Plus, they gave me free tea and cake.

More importantly, though, everything that can be done to reduce a building’s emissions is done here.  I’m told it’s 100% carbon neutral, although I can’t find any official confirmation of that.  But certainly a significant amount of the energy it uses comes from solar panels and wind turbines on the roof (you can see them from the nearby railway line, if you happen to be travelling into Waterloo East).  This is all good.

Even better is the view from the eleventh floor, but I’m afraid I didn’t have the guts to ask if anyone minded if I took a photo, so you’ll just have to trust me on that.

Staff

I have a shiny new staff pass from work which gives me free travel on tubes, buses and trams. It’s the best thing ever, but not so much because of the money I’ll save. The reason I’m really excited by it is that every time I swipe it on an Oyster reader a little message flashes up and it says “staff”. And each time that happens I want to tip the bus driver a knowing smile, one that says: “yep, you and me pal, we’re staff“.I haven’t actually done it.