I'm weird in many ways, but in one way especially - I like the London Underground. I like the way it connects the city, I like the speed, I like the sense of movement and I like the design of the logo and the map. I even think the Oyster cards and turnstiles have a sense to them.
Yes it's crowded at times and probably too expensive. But it's pretty comprehensive and has its own world of geography that creates an alternate dimension of the London you might know above ground.
Specifically Farringdon is a tube station that has always appealed to me. The mix of Victorian brick and iron work with the metallic intervention of modern stairways and exposed wire tubing, towered over by modernist constructions provokes possibilities. Amongst the determined urbanisation there sprout rebellions of nature alongside the tracks and station - down where electricity keeps society at bay. There is a sense of the buildings as scabs - stitching over a rawness in the fabric of the city's history.
It helps that I know the place of this station in the history of the underground, that I can imagine the great smog of the steam (dream) engines that were first to operate on these tracks, that I can see the tunnels dug out of the earth before being covered over. To me this station is the birth place of an idea; its appearance is both dishevelled and creative - a place where anything can happen or could be attempted. Here some Victorian said: "Egad! Why mayn't we put the railways in the sub terrain?!" Okay, so they were a group of people that liked trains, feared table legs, revelled in the industrial revolution, believed the poor should be shoved into workhouses, and gave us our modern Christmas; mostly, however, the Victorians had some crazy ideas and ambitions and set us up for steam punk.
It also helps that this is the station I used to get off for Fabric: a club deep in the ground, cavernous and sprawling (at least in my drunken and taurineated memory), crisscrossed with horizontal brickwork and vertical iron - industrial tech punk in vibe, a home of drum and bass and grimy techno. Along with this beautiful brickwork, arches and walls of exquisite construction, I also see laser beams dissecting a room, slicing through a darkened crowd - for a nano-second separating your limbs from your consciousness. Here are the frames of old shops and markets, now re-imagined as bars and bistros - a process that conflicts me, though my inner aesthete is at least happy to see the structures survive and with them the echoes of their histories.
This is urban Darwinism - the twisted evolution of the city and a symbol of our own survival in new and unexpected ways.