Quiet Zones

Thomas Jones blocks his ears

On a South West Trains ‘service' out of London Waterloo the other evening, a barrage of announcements. The guard, the steward and an automated recording repeatedly informed passengers – sorry, 'customers' – where the train was going, where the buffet car was ‘situated', and that there were special 'quiet zones', with blue stickers on the windows, where mobile phones should be switched off. As if mobile phones were the only things that could disturb the quiet. There was a blue sticker on my window. There didn't seem to be any way to switch off the endless announcements. It reminded me of the Sistine Chapel, where angry young men in uniforms yell Silenzio! over the murmur of the disobedient crowd.


  • 1 September 2009 at 11:27am
    Phil Edwards says:
    "It reminded me of the Sistine Chapel" - Thomas Jones, LRB

    • 1 September 2009 at 5:51pm
      Fortunately, no.

  • 1 September 2009 at 9:05pm
    Xynthia P. says:
    Look, lots of things remind me of the Sistine Chapel. Buttered toast. Or jacuzzis. Or the name "Phil." And it's that way with all normal people. So what's your issue, P.?

    • 2 September 2009 at 3:51pm
      Phil Edwards says: @ Xynthia P.
      An enthusiasm for unexpected opportunities for pointless wordplay, although I don't see it as an issue so much as a character trait.

  • 2 September 2009 at 7:44pm
    Xynthia P. says:
    Well, Phil, there’s a fine line in the sand where pointless wordplay turns into pointed, sandy wordplay. Or--if words were revolvers--pointless, tragic gunplay. And that fine line, like a fine wine, must never, ever be decanted before its’ time. Did ya ever stop and think that your seemingly innocuous “character trait” could some day, like a sharp stick, put somebody’s eye out?

    I hope I’ve made myself as clear as a diamond mandala, Phil.

  • 2 September 2009 at 9:53pm
    Xynthia P. says:
    Well, to be honest, Mr. Jones, I'm only joking around in my desperate quest to avoid work at all costs, and feel extremely friendly to all who help me in that all-important goal. But I admit it can all go horribly wrong in the horribly literal online world and what was meant as silliness comes off as snide. To be clear: no (real) slam intended, Phil. Shall I go so far as to insert smiley emoticons? No, I didn't think so. I'm so glad we both agree ...

  • 2 September 2009 at 9:58pm
    Xynthia P. says:
    Now that I think about it, let me just add one final note of clarity to the proceedings: Phil, whoever you are, I love you dearly. Now I hope that completely clears everything up.

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