Re: [carfree_cities] Tranquil public transport
- Dear Bill
You old crusty! It is obvious that musak and all its accompanying joys will
be siphoned into any space that offers a means of reproducing and
strengthening the relationship between consumer and commodity - especially
if the consumer power of those in that space is increasing either because of
the numbers in it or their income or both.
The alternative is the constant bombardment of state propaganda in a
That said I think it is possible to resist by seeing it as one's duty to
express a view on these matters whenever possible. Thus I have seldom
hesitated to ask people not to use their phones in phone-free carriages and
will write to the train company concerned if more than unusually annoyed by
this. I use a mobile phone regularly but can turn it off, use a silent
vibrating signal and know how to talk quietly in those places where phones
are allowed. I also know how to turn off the beeps on my lap-top. I have
often asked people with noisy phones where they buy those old sets as I
didn't know they were still selling them while I'm not averse to politely
offering advice to people with noisy computers with words like "Of course
when you're knew to these things they can be a bit fiddly but you'll soon
get the hang of it." You can guess what an extremely irritating old fellow
I am, though I am relentlessly polite and often find my interventions
approved with a nod or a subsequent complement by people who didn't dare say
anything at the time.
I'm also not stupid and hope that I recognise situations that are too
life-threatening to do anything but avoid or accept.
If musak or info-tainment comes on buses or trains that I have to travel
on - rather than cycle or walk - I'm confident that a mix of individual and
collective action by the intelligent classes to push us towards the airline
solution that enables the person who wants to listen to have headphones with
the default condition being relative silence.
I do think that anti-consumerism has to be seen as a positive challenge
rather than a depressing irritant. We do after all live in an economy that
depends on consumption and until between us we invent a better ways of
organising ourselves we have to live the life of political animals.
I still think it will be less easy to get at me when I'm walking and cycling
which is why I'm so glad that rather late in life I discovered these as
perfectly reasonable ways of getting around rather than solely a form of
----- Original Message -----
From: Telfer <telomsha@...>
Sent: Sunday, September 02, 2001 3:51 PM
Subject: [carfree_cities] Tranquil public transport
Travelling to work by train, underground or bus, even if sometimes crowded
has always bestowed the benefit of being able to relax with a book,
newspaper or your own thoughts.
Not for much longer if the market researchers, PR and admen have their
way-which of course they will given the shape of society as it is now and
becoming more so.