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DLR stands for Docklands Light Railway. It serves the eastern outskirts of London, Limehouse and Shadwell and the old docks where once East India ships unloaded their cargoes, a place of opium dens and quayside brothels, of lurking gangs, lascars, shrunken heads in the beer, Sherlock Holmes, Fu Manchu and in latter days, a questing boot. Once upon a time, a gentleman would be taking his life in his hands to venture alone here, and a lady didn't even know it existed; No self respecting den of iniquity would situate itself anywhere else in the city or all the other buildings would laugh: If you weren't East End notorious you were probably just another grim granny's cellar smogged out and leaking.

It's got a monorail. A clean and sparkling monorail swerving around the clean and sparkling buildings, all glass and determinedly new, except for the 1980s winebars built under the warehouse arches. Where the quays once creaked and stank now sit pretty marinas, yachts and speedboats shining bright, blue water, pointless weedy tin drums come islets on which swans nest. It shines. It's clean. It's pretty. It's peaceful. Another century and it may even have a bit of soul...

Don't think it lacks hustle and bustle; just accept that all activity is restricted to the monorail itself, more specifically, to the intercom.

" BEEEEENG We would like to apologise for the delay to this train. The train has stopped because of a delay. We will deal with the delay as soon as we know why the train has stopped. Thank you. BEEEEEEEENG"

10 Seconds later;

"BEEEEENG! Good afternoon. We would like to apologise for the delay to this train. The train has stopped because the doors are closed, thank you BEEEEEENG"

This leaves one wondering what the normal state of this train is. Does it trundle across the wharf with its doors open, that all customers might benefit from the fresh breezes of the estuary? But before one can even contemplate that thought fully, more information is forthcoming:

"BEEEENG We would like to apologise for - suddenly a woman's voice cuts in. Oh No! Announcer wars! Who will win?

"Good Afternoon this is the Docklands Light Railway, we apologise for the delay to your journey, this has been caused by the train in front of us. Thank you! BEEEENG"

What train? What did it do? What about the doors? Don't worry, there's almost no time to ask;
"BEEEEEEENG Good afternoon this is the Docklands Light Railway, we are pleased to inform you that the train in front of us has in fact moved, so we should be moving very shortly BEEEEEENG" As the words issue forth, the train moves, and lest, like a true London transport apostate you dared to doubt that fact, here comes the proof; "BEEEEEEENG Good afternoon, on behalf of the Docklands Light Railway we would like to apologise for any delay to your journey caused by our delay, and to inform you that the train is, in fact, now moving. Thank you. BEEEEENG"

By now my head is spinning, and I am wondering if it's really the tannoy that makes these endless tinny sounds, or whether all DLR employees have been gathered around a mike to yell "BEEEEEEEENG" for their Christmas bonus. Not that I have time to wonder: The train shunts forwards and then stops.

"BEEEEENG Good afternoon. This is the DLR. The train has stopped because the doors are open. Thank you. BEEEEENG"

The DLR. Just say no. Or BEEEEEEENG


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 19th, 2009 11:57 am (UTC)
Probably because they used all their BEEEEENG up on me in one 20 minute cacophony. It was the loudest journey I can remember, though your words almost reassure me. I'll try it again one day, and if I hear a BEEENG I'll know it's personal!
Mar. 19th, 2009 12:57 pm (UTC)
I will be thinking "BEEEEEEEENG!" all day now, thank you. :)
Mar. 19th, 2009 01:45 pm (UTC)
BEEENG! Your reply to this post has been received and is being replied to, thankyou! BEEEEEENG!
Mar. 19th, 2009 02:25 pm (UTC)
The docklands used to have a soul, now admittedly it wasn`t its to begin with but...
Mar. 19th, 2009 03:13 pm (UTC)
Heh. Meet the story I'm trying and failing to write!
Mar. 30th, 2009 02:27 pm (UTC)
How do I get back there?
I want to go back to this place that is now DLR - with the opium dens and the brothels and so forth - this sounds like good times to me.

But then again, perhaps, just perhaps, I am a little too young in the heart and old in the heart for it.
Mar. 30th, 2009 05:52 pm (UTC)
Re: How do I get back there?
I kid you not, some say there is a way!

A pagan chum much respected for his research work once told me that other investigators believed a genuine time portal to exist in the Marble Arch area. He wouldn't tell me the place exactly because either he didn't know it or he feared its use. He warned it was dangerous. And as Marble Arch used to be Tyburn, even if departure wasn't an issue, arrival and return might be...

Maybe we should just stick to gin!
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )



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