The abandoned London Underground station that was closed because residents were too rich to use the Tube
jeanniejeanniejeannie.co.uk BLOG Saturday 8th January 2022
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
The abandoned London Underground station that was closed because residents were too rich to use the Tube
Of all the curiosities of Mayfair – and there are many – one we rarely think about is the pocket of emptiness beneath our feet, as we all whizz around each other in the land above.
What a strange thing an abandoned Tube station is, the stillness of it, and how much we’d all love to get down there are have a nose around.
Despite being directly underneath one of the busiest spots in the city, Down Street London Underground station was always a little-used station.
Sandwiched between Hyde Park Corner and Dover Street – now Green Park – Down Street Station was opened in 1907 and was on the Piccadilly Line.
But it wasn’t much used.
This was partly because mere seconds away there were two big, busy Tube stations.
There wasn’t much call for one in between; the extra stop only slowed the commute, and trains often passed through it without stopping (as they continue to do today).
Then, escalators were built at the neighbouring stations, which brought the entrances even nearer to Down Street.
But the main reason the passenger numbers were low at Down Street was also to do with location – namely, that anyone rich enough to have Down Street as their local Tube station was generally rich enough to take fancier modes of transportation.
They even objected to the very idea of a station, worrying that it would attract the working classes to their area of the city!
The station was closed in 1932 and has sat idle ever since.
Well, apart from its most famous use, which was as a bunker for Winston Churchill during the Second World War.
He affectionately called it, “the Barn”.
Deep shelters were needed so that government operations could continue in the event of a bombing – they fitted power, electrics, dormitories, meeting rooms, and bathrooms.
Apart from the occasional tour and film set, Down Street has sat disused under our feet ever since.
By Erica Buist
TOP TEN OF THE DAY
The Top 10: Wizards
The best magicians of myth and legend
This one was stolen from Chris Sams on Twitter who mentioned his “argument with the kids about who the greatest wizard of all time was”: they said Dumbledore, Voldemort and Harry Potter; he said Gandalf. Richard Morris invited further suggestions.
- Albus Dumbledore. “I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!”
- Gandalf. Re-reading the book, it takes him an awful long time to work out what the Ring is.
- Merlin, the original. Wizard is Late Middle English meaning wise person, sage, philosopher (“wise” with an “–ard” noun ending, as in bollard, pollard, drunkard). Merlin was revived somewhat by The Sword in the Stone, Disney’s version of the Arthurian legend.
Paul T Horgan nominated Rick Wakeman, the keyboard wizard: “He’s even got the cloak, playing Merlin the Magician from his King Arthur album.”
- Getafix the druid. Panoramix in the original French.
- Roy Wood, creator of Wizzard, glam rock band, 1972-75. Biggest feats of magic: “See My Baby Jive” and “I Wish It Could be Christmas Every Day”.
- Rincewind from Discworld. “Luck is my middle name. Mind you, my first name is Bad.”
- Yen Sid. The sorcerer in “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” segment of Fantasia is never named in the film (or the Goethe poem on which it was based), but was nicknamed Yen Sid (Disney backwards) by the animators in tribute to Walt on whom his appearance is apparently modelled.
- Kamo no Yasunori and Abe no Seimei: the two most famous onmyoji, a class of civil servant in feudal Japan, who were employed to practise onmyodo, a Japanese system of magic and divination.
- David Lloyd George, the Welsh wizard. Nominated by David Sutherland and John Peters, who added contemporary Welsh wizards Ryan Giggs and Gareth Bale. Other sporting nominations include John Higgins, snooker player, the Wizard of Wishaw.
- That deaf, dumb, and blind kid, the “Pinball Wizard”, The Who.
Honourable mentions for: Raistlin Majere (Dragonlance), Belgarath (The Belgariad), Sheelba of the Eyeless face and Ningauble of the Seven Eyes (Lankhmar), and Elric of Melnibone (Elric series); Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web: “If that isn’t wizardry then I don’t know what is.”
John Rentoul – Independent.
REMEMBER: The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.
– Nicolas Chamfort
INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE FOR THE DAY
Top 4 Things we cannot recover in life: Words after they’re said. Moments after they’re missed. Actions after they’re done. Time after it’s gone.
Happiness is…the thought of a disused tube station.
GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY
What has fifty legs but can’t walk? 25 pairs of trousers!
Love is…a kind of heaven only better
A time for Country Music…A time for Heavy Metal Music.
MUSIC, MUSIC, MUSIC!
14 Songs You Didn’t Know Were About Other Celebrities
by Matt Manser
Some songs were quite obviously written as part of a well-publicized celebrity feud (Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” almost certainly calls out Katy Perry, for instance). But then there are songs that are secretly about other stars. It’s not surprising that there are so many – musicians hang out with other famous people and write songs about what they know. But once you learn who the lyrics are really about, the songs about other celebrities take on a whole new meaning.
A number of these songs about famous people are not-so-subtle diss tracks, like “Cry Me a River” by Justin Timberlake or “Obsessed” by Mariah Carey, which is a musical eye roll directed at Eminem. Others are tender love songs – try to listen to Coldplay’s “Fix You” without tearing up after you learn its real message. Just don’t expect to see any songs about Taylor Swift here. She’s had enough to earn her own list.
1 Gwen Stefani’s ‘Hollaback Girl’ Is About Courtney Love
In an interview with Seventeen magazine, Courtney Love reportedly said, “Being famous is just like being in high school. But I’m not interested in being the cheerleader. I’m not interested in being Gwen Stefani. She’s the cheerleader, and I’m out in the smoker shed.”
Stefani told NME that this comment inspired her to write “Hollaback Girl”:
Y’know, someone one time called me a cheerleader, negatively, and I’ve never been a cheerleader. So I was like, ‘Okay, f*ck you! You want me to be a cheerleader? Well, I will be one then. And I’ll rule the whole world, just you watch me.’
2 Aerosmith’s ‘Dude (Looks Like A Lady)’ Is About Vince Neil
Aerosmith’s “Dude (Looks Like A Lady)” has a very specific origin story. In an interview with SongFacts, co-writer Desmond Child said that lead singer Steven Tyler showed him a song he was working on called “Cruisin’ For The Ladies.” Child thought it was a boring title and wasn’t into it:
And then Steven volunteered, sheepishly, and said that when he first wrote the melody he was singing “Dude Looks like a Lady”… He got the idea because they had gone to a bar and had seen a girl at the end of the bar with ginormous blonde rock hair, and the girl turned around and it ended up being Vince Neil from Motley Crue. So then they started making fun of him and started saying, “That dude looks like a lady, dude looks like a lady, dude looks like a lady.” So that’s how that was born.
3 Bob Dylan’s ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ Is About Edie Sedgwick And Andy Warhol
“Like A Rolling Stone” is essentially six minutes of Bob Dylan throwing shade at some unnamed another person. Although it does not appear to be 100% confirmed, it’s widely believed that the song is chiefly aimed at actress and model Edie Sedgwick. She was a former debutante, and lines like “Once upon a time you dressed so fine, threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn’t you?” seem to reflect that.
Specifically, Dylan was apparently upset that Sedgwick had ditched his crowd to hang out in the art world of Andy Warhol. Dylan reportedly believed Warhol was mistreating her, and the lines, “Ain’t it hard when you discover that he really wasn’t where it’s at, after he took from you everything he could steal,” might be aimed at Warhol.
4 Kings Of Leon’s ‘Sex On Fire’ Is About Lily Aldridge
When you name a song “Sex On Fire,” it’s bound to get people’s attention. That was certainly true in the case of Kings of Leon, who scored a big hit with the tune in 2008. And, according to Elle magazine, lead singer Caleb Followill wrote the lyrics about his girlfriend at the time, Victoria’s Secret model Lily Aldridge. In the lyrics he sings, “It’s not forever, but it’s just tonight,” but it appears he was mistaken. Followill and Aldridge got married in 2011.
5 Billy Joel’s ‘Uptown Girl’ Is About Elle Macpherson… Maybe
Since Billy Joel was dating supermodel Christie Brinkley at the time of the release of “Uptown Girl,” it was only natural to assume that’s who the song was about. Brinkley even appeared in the music video. However, in an interview with Howard Stern, Billy Joel suggested he was first inspired to write “Uptown Girl” while dating another supermodel, Elle Macpherson. But the song was actually about a number of women and originally titled “Uptown Girls.”
6 Ed Sheeran’s ‘Don’t’ Is About Ellie Goulding
Ed Sheeran is a beloved singer-songwriter, but there was a time he wasn’t feeling all that loved at all. It was when he was dating singer Ellie Goulding, who was apparently also spending time with One Direction’s Niall Horan.
Sheeran was clearly quite displeased when he wrote lyrics like, “And I never saw him as a threat, ’til you disappeared with him to have sex.” However, he says he got completely over the situation after writing the song and has even been seen getting chummy with Horan at a party in Vegas.
Leonard Cohen’s “Chelsea Hotel #2” Is About Janis Joplin
Based on its title, you’d think this one is, in fact, about the New York hotel frequented by several generations of writers and artists – the same spot where Sid Vicious’s girlfriend, Nancy Spungen, would later be found dead. And indeed the song is largely about the Chelsea institution, but more importantly, it’s about Janis Joplin. Specifically, it’s about an affair between Leonard Cohen and Joplin, who were staying in rooms 424 and 411, respectively.
The song centres on a night the two spent together after Cohen claimed to be Kris Kristofferson as he and Joplin shared an elevator ride to the fourth floor. “She wasn’t looking for me, she was looking for Kris Kristofferson; I wasn’t looking for her, I was looking for Brigitte Bardot,” said Cohen. “But we fell into each other’s arms through some process of elimination.”
8 Britney Spears’s ‘Everytime’ Is A Response To Justin Timberlake
Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me A River” contains some pretty pointed shots at his ex, Britney Spears. After hearing the song, Spears apparently felt a strong urge to respond. But instead of unleashing an attack of her own, she came back with “Everytime.”
The song is essentially an extended apology, with lines like:
I may have made it rain
Please forgive me
My weakness caused you pain
And this song is my sorry.
9 Coldplay’s ‘Fix You’ Is About Gwyneth Paltrow
Chris Martin of Coldplay wrote “Fix You” for his then-wife, Gwyneth Paltrow. In an interview with Howard Stern, Paltrow said, “‘Fix You’ was about him trying to put me back together after my dad died. I think it’s pretty nice.”
But even before she met Martin, Paltrow said the Coldplay song “Everything’s Not Lost” helped her deal with her father’s death as well:
“He wrote this song before I met him, and I think another reason it’s sad for me is my father had just died when this album came out, and we [Paltrow and her brother] used to listen to it kind of on repeat… especially this song at the end.”
10 Nirvana’s ‘Heart-Shaped Box’ Is About Courtney Love
Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box,” has some pretty strange lyrics, even by Kurt Cobain’s standards. With lines like, “Meat-eating orchids forgive no one just yet, cut myself on angel hair and baby’s breath,” it’s hard to know exactly what exactly Cobain was talking about.
In 2012, Lana Del Rey performed a cover of the song in concert, which prompted Courtney Love to want to explain to Del Rey the song’s true meaning. On Twitter, Love posted, “You do know the song is about my vagina right?… So umm next time you sing it, think about my vagina will you?”
11 Mariah Carey’s ‘Obsessed’ Is About Eminem
As strange as it may seem, it appears that Eminem and Mariah Carey once dated, at least for a very brief period of time. However, the seriousness of that relationship remains in question. Eminem didn’t shy away from airing the situation with the song “Bagpipes From Baghdad.” It included very direct lyrics like, “Mariah, what ever happened to us, why did we have to break up… Nick Cannon better back the f*ck up. I’m not playing, I want her back, you punk.”
Carey responded with the equally blunt “Obsessed,” which included lines like, “It must be weed, it must be the E… Why are you so obsessed with me?”
12 Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” Is (Partially) About Warren Beatty
You’re So Vain is also ranked #14 of 101 on The Best Ballads of the 70s
Given the scathing lyrics decrying that the song’s mysterious subject is so vain they’ll “think this song is about you,” rumors have long swirled as to the egotistical target of Carly Simon’s clever scorn. During the 44 years Simon declined to say one way or the other, many speculated the song focused on Kris Kristofferson, David Bowie, and Warren Beatty, among others. Beatty certainly thought the song was about him, declaring, ‘Let’s be honest, that song is about me” in 1999.
The actor was only partially right, however, as Simon herself revealed 16 years after Beatty’s declaration. “I have confirmed that the second verse is Warren,” she told People. “Warren thinks the whole thing is about him!”
13 Justin Timberlake’s ‘Cry Me A River’ Is About Britney Spears
Fans have long speculated just who Justin Timberlake wrote “Cry Me A River” about. Finally, years later, it was confirmed to be about his ex, Britney Spears. The truth came out on an episode of E! True Hollywood Story about producer and frequent JT collaborator Timbaland. In the episode, Timbaland said that Timberlake “went to a concert and saw Britney, and Britney talked about him in the show and he was pissed.”
Timberlake added, “I was on a phone call that was not the most enjoyable phone call. I walked into the studio and [Timbaland] could tell I was visibly angry.” And with lyrics like “You don’t have to say what you did, I already know, I found out from him,” you can make a good guess on what made him so angry.
14 Selena Gomez’s ‘The Heart Wants What It Wants’ Is About Justin Bieber
Since Selena Gomez has had a very public relationship with Justin Bieber, it should come as no shock that this song was written about their on-again-off-again romance. The video is even more telling than the song itself; viewers hear audio of Gomez crying while saying, “You make me feel crazy, you make feel like it’s my fault… I was in pain.”
On On-Air with Ryan Seacrest, Gomez even talked about showing the video to Bieber to get his thoughts on the emotional song. She said he thought it was beautiful, but added, “I think he was a little jealous of the video guy at first.”
©2022 Phil M Robinson