Joe Pop

Lost in music

This morning, 9.10 am. On the tube going to work. It’s as crowded as the Northern Line normally gets, and now its May, it’s getting a bit more uncomfortable. As usual, I seem to be in an almost spit-roast with two be-suited businessmen, and someone’s briefcase is jammed right in my groin. I focus on the Chicks on Speed in my headphones and zone out.

However, a couple of feet away from me, a woman catches my attention. Blonde, early thirties, she is dressed fairly anonymously in jeans and a fleece. However, in the trapped static of the tube, it’s her movements that catch my eye. With her eyes closed, and brow furrowed, she is listening to music through headphones that is really moving her. Rhythmically she is rolling her head around, unconscious of her surroundings and the jammed crowd she is in. Her hair is flopping over her face. The music is taking her over. She is somewhere else.

But where is she and what is she listening to? Is it Motley Crue’s “Too fast for love”, and she’s a fingerless lace-gloved wearing pole dancer on Sunset Strip? Maybe she’s listening to Shannon’s “Let the music play” and she’s busting some moves on a New York club with an illuminated dance floor? Or is she at Wigan Casino, spinning on a talc'd floor to The Flirtations fantastic “Nothing but a heartache”? How about it’s the final bit of Patti Smiths “Horses” she’s listening to, where Johnny meets the horse, and the sky collides? Who knows where she is, but she is not here, on this crowded hot tube, surrounded by tired and glassy eyed commuters.

People are looking at her, and the woman opens her eyes, probably aware she’s being observed. I quickly look away. I don’t want her to feel embarrassed for enjoying her music. I do not want her to feel self-conscious for having a moments escape as we all speed through the airless tunnels under the city.