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E is for Escalator
Instructions on how to ride upon the new-fangled Moving Staircase
(being for the benefit of visitors from flat places like Suffolk who have never seen an escalator before)
1) Upon leaving thy train, make thy way along the platform following the signs marked ‘Way Out’.
2) Ensure that thou art not wearing any long dangly clothing and that thy bootlaces are tied tight. But do not stop at this point for to tie thy laces up, lest thou create chaos and be knocked over.
3) Approach the foot of the escalator with caution, but with joy in thy heart for thou art about to be transported upwards unto the surface of the fair city of London.
4) The escalators of London are divided into two halves – one for the ‘left-walkers’ and the other for the ‘right-standers’. Verily must every man and woman decide unto which tribe they will belong. If this be thy first time ascending a moving staircase make sure thou joinest the ‘right-standers’, else shalt thou piss off the ‘left-walkers’ mightily and they will smite thee with savage glares.
5) Join thou the queue to the right of the escalator, ensuring that thou dost not trip up any ‘left-walkers’ rushing blindly across thy path. Take a deep breath and step gingerly onto the moving staircase.
6) Pull thyself together thou lily-livered oik, ‘tis only a moving staircase, be brave and step on now! Stand carefully upon one complete step to await thy glorious upward elevation.
7) Should thou be spat out immediately with great haste, then hast thou climbed onto the wrong escalator in error! Pick thyself up, ignore the laughs of others and cross to the other staircase.
8) Ensure that thou really art standing on the right-hand side of the escalator, and not blocking the left lane by mistake in the tiresome manner customary of visitors to the city. Neither should thou carry a big suitcase to block the safe passage of the ‘left-walkers’, nor must thou ascend in pairs.
9) Do not stop to read the posters placed up the side of the travelling staircase, for surely wilt thou block the way, and no theatrical performance worthy of thy presence dost advertise here anyway.
10) As the summit of the escalator approacheth, take a deep breath and prepare to walk forward. Be most certain to start walking before the summit, lest those standing behind thee be not able to accelerate off the escalator in time. Then shall they stand upon thy feet and thou willst surely cry.
11) Do not press the panic button to thy right lest the stairs should come to a shuddering halt sending thee tumbling back from whence thou came. This rather defeateth the point of the exercise thus far.
12) Walk swiftly off the escalator, moving away from the crest with good speed. Do not stop at the very top in search of thy tube ticket, nor to mop thy brow, neither to read any newly-delivered text messages.
13) Congratulations, thou hast successfully ascended to the surface. At this point you may need to read the instruction leaflet ‘Instructions on how to use the new-fangled Ticket-Eating Machines’.
14) When thy business in London is complete, return thee down the escalator in the same manner. Verily not the same escalator of course, but the other one, the one that moveth downwards.
15) On a subsequent visit, if thou art right brave, thou may now wish to join the ranks of the ‘left-walkers’. Ensure that thou art fit enough to walk right to the top without wimping out and joining the rabble on the right side again. Hold thy head high, for now thou art truly amongst a higher class of humanity.