Sunday, August 29, 2004

Suicides in the City of London

In the last few weeks there have been a number of apparent suicides in the City of London. Let me explain: Those of you who live in London will be familiar with the London Underground; a busy network of tunnels under the city, through which run trains carrying thousands of busy and not so busy passengers to various destinations, primarily to work.

Passengers have become increasingly accustomed to hearing the announcement that there are delays on the Central Line due to " a passenger under the train". It is rush-hour, you are desperate to go home, change your clothes, have a pee and relax, but you are now left standing there on the platform, waiting in vain for a train that will not be turning up for quite some time, as someone has chosen to end their existence by throwing themselves under it instead of in it. The selfish bastards!

These incidents have happened specifically in stations located within the City area, the "mean square mile" as it is also known; Liverpool Street station, Bank station, St.Paul's station. Why is it that people are making themselves passengers under trains instead of in them? Could there be a clue in the fact that all these incidents have occured within the world's most important financial district, a bastion of power, money and ruthless, steel-like intention? And if there is a clue in that fact, then what does it mean? Does the City merely inspire people to top themselves? If so it clearly doesn't inspire enough.

The image that automatically comes to my mind is that of City workers, permanently dissatisfied with their working lives in a cruel, inhuman and viciously competitive enviroment, a cut-throat world where success is the "be all and end all" and failure is the "end all". Those who wish to succeed in the City must be prepared to put in extensive hours of work, (and this does not just mean two hours overtime every day). The so called "high flyers" work from dawn to the late hours of the evening, some even till midnight. There is no one you can trust; everyone is a rival.

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