The most striking visuals among the subway platforms and hidden hallways beneath London are not the train cars hurtling miles underground, known affectionately as the Tube, but rather the colorful characters who occupy the winding paths tucked beneath the city.
One woman in particular stands out.
She spends every day in the Bakerloo Tube station, it seems. Her crackled voice croons “are you out there?”
Her turquoise eyeshadow accentuates her dark electrified hair, frizzed at every end.
Her guitar case lies open with a smattering of pence and single pound coins scattered among bits of rolled up paper, a half eaten baguette and forgotten lyrics.
One morning, another man strokes a guitar, gently singing a Spanish folk song.
The rush of the trains leaving Westminster punctures his lighthearted lyrics. Suddenly, he is lost among the throngs of commuters crowding the platform, eager to clamor aboard to the next station.
The sweet lyrics of Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Boxer” trail throughout the hallway of the Oxford Circus station. The man with the beat-up acoustic guitar, whose sandy colored hair and worn out khakis blend into the wall, stands up slightly straighter as he leads into the next verse.
“Asking only workman’s wages/
I come looking for a job/
But I get no offers/
Just a come-on from the whores/
On Seventh Avenue/
I do declare/
There were times when I was so lonesome/
I took some comfort there…”
The sounds of a violin echo throughout the empty corridor of the Bakerloo station. A middle-aged man in a light blue Hawaiian shirt expertly plucks the strings before reaching for his bow.
No one seems to notice when he pauses, lifting his bow back down to glance down at his watch.
He scoffs at the time and regains his composure, lifting his bow back up as the tears of the violin begin to well in the corners of the corridor yet again.
Her long, white-blonde hair nearly covers the entire length of her blue collared shirt. Her light brown boots tap to the rhythm of her breath. Her voice bellows under the flourescent lighting of the bustling entrance.
A quiet opera before the train departs.