Thursday, August 28, 2008

Crazy world

The other night I was travelling post-watershed through the bowels of the city on the Northern Line, doing my best to ignore the two Footballers' Wives escapees seated across from me. I found my attention drawn to the advertisements posted above the map. I do think these have got better in recent years. I put it down to enlightened media strategy, whereby these posters are recognised and treated a distinct channel, rather than simply an extension of the the latest TV campaign (I don't actually work in marketing anymore, you know). There are some clever ones that play on the idea of being a commuter, as if they're sharing a joke with you - things like "Don't you wish the person next to you was wearing X deoderant" or "Nothing in the paper? Now here's something you will want to read on the train."

On this occasion, it wasn't a self-consciously ironic piece of banter that caught my eye, but a strikingly attractive image of a lush green rural landscape, rolling meadows and tranquil steams, all kinds of wondrous vegetation, peopled by slim, good-looking types with Hollywood smiles and great hair. Clearly, this was depicting some far-off and exotic playground of the rich and famous. Where could this Utopia be, I wondered, as I contemplated the prospect of escaping to such a haven from the crowded platforms and heaving trains of commuterland. Califorina, perhaps? Provence? Maybe even Jersey? I read the copy, and I kid you not, it said:

"Essex - it's closer than you think."