— 23rd January 2003
Got off the train and joined the huddle. There’s a lot of people on the train from Ilkley. We all trundle along towards the end of the platform, some slightly faster, moving out to the right to overtake. I’m stuck in between an old woman and a couple of men who are moving slowly so it seems today I’ll be near the back. We round the corner and head towards the ticket barrier. Here the horde from my train join the hordes from two other trains which have arrived within a few minutes of each other. So now there’s three trainloads of people all trying to get through the three or four barrier gaps slow enough to give the ticket people a good view of their tickets, and I’m at the back.
I notice that the people in front of me seem to be swaying from side to side. In fact everyone trying to get through the barriers seems to be rocking back and forth far more than would seem normal. The whole crowd are doing it, moving from one foot to the other without really moving forwards. It’s quite funny really.
Because they’re eager to move forward and because many of them have been walking quite determinedly towards the barrier, when they stop they seem to want to keep walking. So they do. The only problem is that, having no room to walk forward, they have to stay in one place. so they end up hopping from foot to foot, rocking like a field of metronomes.