The daily commute has been given a bit of culture, thanks to a tube worker who started a mini cinema in his station.
If you think of the Tube, you probably don’t think of fun. Sure, there might be fun at the other end, but the time spent from the escalator down to the escalator back up again is usually a time to dread.
But, Malcolm Parker, a London Underground worker with 33 years of experience, decided that this doesn’t always have to be the case.
Last summer, Malcolm changed roles within the company and took up his new position as customer service assistant at the Snaresbrook Tube station. He soon discovered that the westbound platform was exceedingly dull with little decoration to speak of.
Seeing a problem, he instantly decided to fix it by putting up some of the art-deco posters that were going spare after an exhibition at his last workplace, Loughton station.
Malcolm had always liked the colourful British Rail and Underground posters and wasn’t surprised when the Snaresbrook residents thought the same. He began to hand them over to the travellers who asked where they could acquire them and his stocks began to grow smaller and smaller.
Not wanting to lose something that had caused so much pleasure, Malcolm had his ‘eureka’ moment and began to project digital versions of the posters onto the wall.
He soon moved into moving images, starting with two journeys that he’d filmed personally. His favourite films now include a driver’s point-of-view account of the trip from Epping and his collected footage of steam locomotives and other old trains.
This site-specific cinema has thrilled commuters as they wait for the train. It has even been acknowledged by passing film students who have wanted to interview Malcolm as part of their coursework and film his projections for inspiration.
Malcolm has since departed from his train-specific content and moved into footage of other vehicles. He now shows films of planes and cars and has opened his cinema for submissions, so anyone can get involved.
One such submission was presented to him by one lady and is your classic indie short film. The protagonist is a man who has lost his voice. And where should he find it? In a teapot, of course.
So far, The London Underground have shown great form and totally embraced Malcolm’s sense of individuality. They’ve put it on the front of their staff magazine and the little cinema seems set to continue for a while yet.
In fact, Malcolm even has plans to install a flat-screen television, due to the summer sun’s tendency to spoil the projections…
Snaresbrook station can be found on the Eastern section of the Central Line. It lies in Zone 4, between Leytonstone and South Woodford.
Written by Petia for Reflex, an experienced provider for the audio visual industry.