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October 9, 2012 7:45 AM   Subscribe

Submarine to Somalia - Pranksters add their own signage to the London Underground with perfectly matched design & typography. (SLimgur)
posted by growabrain (67 comments total) 57 users marked this as a favorite

 
Funny stuff. Thanks for the laugh!

As a regular DC Metro user, I could totally see something like, "Seriously...walk on the left or DC Metro will have you shot at the exit point."
posted by Thistledown at 7:51 AM on October 9, 2012 [8 favorites]


haha i esp like the toilet seat one. never understood why fabric is ever a good idea for public seating.
posted by fuzzypantalones at 7:51 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


At the risk of a possible derail (snarehit/cymbal crash) I'll just note this post is the first to use the typogrphy tag.
posted by hal9k at 7:54 AM on October 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Fantastic.
posted by prefpara at 7:56 AM on October 9, 2012


The downside of having "perfectly matched design & typography" is people will ignore it just like they do the normal signage. But when they do notice: WIN.
posted by tommasz at 8:01 AM on October 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Time to check the tea urns, I suspect.
posted by boo_radley at 8:13 AM on October 9, 2012


NO SMOKING. NO SPITTING.
THE MGT.
posted by logicpunk at 8:21 AM on October 9, 2012 [11 favorites]


Don't the pranksters deserve extra credit in light of the pervasive coverage of CCTV's in London?
posted by growabrain at 8:27 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


The gravy one has made me wildly yet inexplicably delighted.
posted by elizardbits at 8:31 AM on October 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


This seems pretty anodyne when you think about what they could have done.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:32 AM on October 9, 2012


The giant "Always Press This Button" sign made me laugh out loud like an idiot at work. Thanks growabrain.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:33 AM on October 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Don't the pranksters deserve extra credit in light of the pervasive coverage of CCTV's in London?

Not really. The CCTV thing is largely misunderstood and overrated. First it is closed circuit. Meaning that MI5/Spooks is full of crap when they show their tech people pulling up videos from all over. They have to actually go and get the tapes for most of it. So it is only useful after the fact. They have to know the when and where of a crime and go looking for the video to find evidence to help capture or convict. It really doesn't ever prevent crime. The police operated CCTV in public spaces almost never prevent or catch crimes in progress because there are not enough police watching the videos and the time delay of responses render them close to useless.
posted by srboisvert at 8:36 AM on October 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


The giant "Always Press This Button" sign made me laugh out loud like an idiot at work.

You have the luxury of reading Metafilter at work?
posted by dunkadunc at 8:39 AM on October 9, 2012


Don't the pranksters deserve extra credit in light of the pervasive coverage of CCTV's in London?
Not really, there's CCTV on public transport in most developed countries. New York subway has over 4,000 cameras.

Also, what srboisvert said. The meme that UK is some CCTV-filled Big Brother state needs to die. Anybody who repeats it is just showing their know-nothingness.
posted by Jehan at 8:40 AM on October 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yes, but only in professional white.
posted by maryr at 8:40 AM on October 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


When it comes to CCTV, I prefer showing my wear-nothingness.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:06 AM on October 9, 2012


maryr: Yes, but only in professional white.

Indeed.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:11 AM on October 9, 2012


A+
posted by zombieApoc at 9:14 AM on October 9, 2012


Britain, Britain, Britain. Even your vandalism delights with dry wit.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 9:17 AM on October 9, 2012 [16 favorites]


One sticker actually has a URL for where you could purchase more like these: MixTheMessage.com; and then Citizen Swkith has labeled some of his/hers/theirs, and blogs about other amusing signage of their creation and/or finding.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:19 AM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Stresstwig, hee hee hee!
posted by Specklet at 9:28 AM on October 9, 2012


Honestly, upon closer examination it would appear that:

(Internet) pranksters add their own signage (using their Photoshop skills) to the London Underground with perfectly matched design & typography.

Still funny, though.
posted by item at 9:29 AM on October 9, 2012


You have the luxury of reading Metafilter at work?

Some of us actually need the NSFW tags.
posted by localroger at 9:31 AM on October 9, 2012


...or at least on some of these. A few do look to be real.
posted by item at 9:32 AM on October 9, 2012


THIS! AND THIS!

SWEET JESUS, ELVIS, AND BUDDHA, can I get some of these for my 2AM transbay bus home from San Franscisco? This is my commute home from work people, I'm not coming from partying at a club.

We need one for BART station escalators "Walk on the left, stand on the right, or you will be shot with a speargun by station agent".
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 9:42 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I want a stresstwig to break sometimes at work, except there needs to be a mechanism where it emits an incredibly agonized and chilling scream when broken, such that no one will ever want to stress me out enough to break another one.

I guess I could just scream really horribly myself but there is a slim chance that with the twig I will seem less like a dangerous maniac.
posted by elizardbits at 9:52 AM on October 9, 2012 [8 favorites]


srboisvert: The police operated CCTV in public spaces almost never prevent or catch crimes in progress because there are not enough police watching the videos and the time delay of responses render them close to useless.
Pretty spot-on, except I'd say "useless for prevention, but occasionally very, very useful for conviction, and sometimes useful for detective work - narrowing the search for suspects."

But, yeah - all those movies where the intelligence org commandeers the world's surveillance cameras in real-time, also show zoom and enhance" fantasies galore.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:53 AM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Many of these are products of the brilliant (and understated) Stickers on the Central Line. They haven't updated in a few months, which is a shame. If there's anything London needs right now, it's a bit of a laugh.

Also, I would dispute the idea that they're Photoshop. I've seen a few of them in the wild. I can't imagine it's hard to slap them up during rush hour or whatever, when the trains are packed with people doing their very best not to look at anyone around them.
posted by fight or flight at 10:01 AM on October 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Please respect urban solitude.
posted by schmod at 10:07 AM on October 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


wow i really fucking need a twig right now too
posted by elizardbits at 10:09 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you need me, I'll be at the rave near the guard's compartment, naked with a blue light.
posted by zamboni at 10:10 AM on October 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Don't the pranksters deserve extra credit in light of the pervasive coverage of CCTV's in London?

Not really. The CCTV thing is largely misunderstood and overrated. First it is closed circuit. Meaning that MI5/Spooks is full of crap when they show their tech people pulling up videos from all over. They have to actually go and get the tapes for most of it. So it is only useful after the fact. They have to know the when and where of a crime and go looking for the video to find evidence to help capture or convict. It really doesn't ever prevent crime. The police operated CCTV in public spaces almost never prevent or catch crimes in progress because there are not enough police watching the videos and the time delay of responses render them close to useless.
posted by srboisvert at 8:36 AM on October 9 [2 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]



This sounds like how the Great Wall of China operated. The wall covered such a long part of the border that it was totally impractical for even large sections of it to be manned. So it was intended for guards just to catch barbarians "on the way out", *after* they'd raided some town in China and so given away their location.
posted by Bwithh at 10:27 AM on October 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


I was just in Barcelona, and rode the metro there a bit. There's a lot of graffiti in Barcelona, pretty much of the type you see everywhere anymore. There was some good street art though. One my favorites was leaving the metro at Plaza Catalunya, and on the ground were two stickers of that international figure on signs type. One was fat, the other skinny. The fat one pointed to the escalator, the skinny one to the stairs. It was perfect. If only I had a photo...
posted by Eekacat at 10:45 AM on October 9, 2012


I'm surprised that there's no "Actual Size" or other XKCD stickers in there.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:49 AM on October 9, 2012


filthy light thief: One sticker actually has a URL for where you could purchase more like these: MixTheMessage.com; and then Citizen Swkith has labeled some of his/hers/theirs, and blogs about other amusing signage of their creation and/or finding.

These are brilliant. Also note the Sorting Seat and the Fun Seat over at Stickers on the Central Line (fight_or_flight's linked the site already).

Citizen Skwith is an absolute delight, too. I feel that I am missing the topical news behind some of the pranks, though.

Are the adorable aliens scattered around Bath and Brighton in response to manufactured panic over illegal aliens attempting to vote or something?

And what's the story behind all these onions being swapped for world peace?
posted by misha at 10:53 AM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ha! I saw that 'Stop Staring' one the last time I was in London and, well, couldn't stop staring at it. So nice to know there are more of them!
posted by speedlime at 10:56 AM on October 9, 2012


This seems pretty anodyne when you think about what they could have done.

It wouldn't work as well with something more shocking. They're great because they're subtle enough that you don't really notice anything different. If they had sexually suggestive or political messages on them, they'd stick out and riders would complain almost immediately.
posted by Sangermaine at 11:05 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, we saw this sign in Paris and it made us laugh. Our interpretation of it was Please Do Not Steal This Sign.

I confess: we thought it was a real, official sign that we simply did not understand. Because the French.

Actually the work of a talented street artist, who has done the same thing in Florence and Rome.
posted by misha at 11:08 AM on October 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


NO SALESPERSON
MAY LEAVE THE FLOOR
OR GO TO THE DOOR
WITHOUT THE AUTHORIZATION
OF A SUPERIOR.

THE MGT.
posted by Windopaene at 11:17 AM on October 9, 2012 [9 favorites]


"We apologize that all apologies for the chronic overcrowding on this train are shallow and meaningless."
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:28 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Some of these are both clever and dry, but I feel compelled to point out that the "Submarine to Somalia" sign for the Tottenham Court Road tube stop strikes me as patently racist; imagine a similar sign for BART stops in Oakland, or other destinations with a large non-white population, and it isn't very funny. YMMV, but that's my takeaway...
posted by mosk at 11:33 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


On a red line metro train I once saw an awesome sticker that looked just like the no-bicycle stickers that go on the middle sets of train-car doors. But then I looked again and realized instead of a circle with a line through a bicycle it was a circle with a line through a stormtrooper. I found a pic of the sticker online here. I found this quite pleasing.
posted by atomicstone at 11:37 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


mosk: Some of these are both clever and dry, but I feel compelled to point out that the "Submarine to Somalia" sign for the Tottenham Court Road tube stop strikes me as patently racist; imagine a similar sign for BART stops in Oakland, or other destinations with a large non-white population, and it isn't very funny. YMMV, but that's my takeaway...

Hmm. That crossed my mind when I saw the image, but without knowing much about London demographics I figured I'd assume the best -- that it was just a silly bit of surrealism. Sad to know that's not the case.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:01 PM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


You have the luxury of reading Metafilter at work?


You don't? You should speak with your H.R. department or union representative about that.
posted by louche mustachio at 12:03 PM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


When I get into elevators, I like to say, gleefully, "free hats!" and point to this button. I also like to turn to face everyone else in the elevator and smile.

Not nearly as cool as the matching typography and content of the OP though. I used to love doing similar things though, and this warms my heart. It's very Operation Mayhem / Poetic Terrorism in feel.
posted by exlotuseater at 12:04 PM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


These are great, I liked the reserved seat sticker on the Stickers on the Central Line site.
posted by arcticseal at 12:12 PM on October 9, 2012


Some of these are both clever and dry, but I feel compelled to point out that the "Submarine to Somalia" sign for the Tottenham Court Road tube stop strikes me as patently racist; imagine a similar sign for BART stops in Oakland, or other destinations with a large non-white population, and it isn't very funny. YMMV, but that's my takeaway...
I'm struggling to see how this could be intended to be racist. It strikes me as someone thinking "what's the bizarrest method of transport to the most obscure country".

I'm not from London, so maybe there's some subtlety that my provincial mind has missed, but "submarine to somalia" really doesn't strike me as a particularly effective way of making a racist comment.

Anyway, according to these maps Tottenham Court Road is actually one of the least black areas of central London.

Do you say that as a Londoner, or as an outsider? The British attitude to race is quite different to that of Americans. Maybe someone else can give their thoughts?
posted by leo_r at 12:26 PM on October 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


There is nothing especially black about Tottenham Court Road, and there is nothing racist about that particular bit of vandalism.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:32 PM on October 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


- You have the luxury of reading Metafilter at work?
- You don't? You should speak with your H.R. department or union representative about that.


And we wonder why Republicans hate unions to much.
posted by aught at 12:34 PM on October 9, 2012


I'm not from London, so maybe there's some subtlety that my provincial mind has missed, but "submarine to somalia" really doesn't strike me as a particularly effective way of making a racist comment.

I live in London and that sticker did give me pause. I'm not sure if it was intended that way (swaying towards "not"), but I can see how it could be a commentary on the city's immigrant/non-British population, especially the increasing number of people who are seeking asylum (a submarine could be an "easy" way for people to enter/leave the city). Although, as you pointed out, Tottenham Court Road is not itself an area known for its immigrant community, so if it were supposed to be a racist joke, it's not a very good one.
posted by fight or flight at 12:45 PM on October 9, 2012


Sorry if I jumped to an incorrect conclusion. I am not from London, but I did live in the greater London area for a time as an exchange student back in my university days (although admittedly that was a number of years ago). I read that one as being less innocent than the others, but apparently that subtext that isn't warranted. Sorry for my mistake.
posted by mosk at 12:57 PM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


On the A train.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 12:59 PM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


On the A train.
Ha! There's a woman in Sheffield who gets on the Supertram, sings Christian songs, and encourages others to seek god. She's usually awfully kind, but the conductor will ask her to stop or alight.
posted by Jehan at 1:22 PM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ha! There's a woman in Sheffield who gets on the Supertram, sings Christian songs, and encourages others to seek god. She's usually awfully kind, but the conductor will ask her to stop or alight.

How delightful. On the A train here in New York we sometimes have raving homophobic racists who babble about white devils and Jesus. And the conductor is never seen.
posted by Liquidwolf at 2:43 PM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm setting up my own stresstwig station right now. I can't wait to get really steamed!
posted by amanda at 3:46 PM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


On the A train here in New York we sometimes have raving homophobic racists who babble about white devils and Jesus. And the conductor is never seen.

A lot of those people have untreated severe mental illness.
posted by sweetkid at 8:03 PM on October 9, 2012


I love these so much. I wish I lived somewhere with a subway, so I could participate.

The police operated CCTV in public spaces almost never prevent or catch crimes in progress because there are not enough police watching the videos and the time delay of responses render them close to useless.

To paraphrase Grant Morrison's "The Invisibles":
"You can cover the entire world with security cameras, but you can't stop the guys in the control room from jerking off or playing the sixteenth sequel to "DOOM" all day long."
posted by rifflesby at 8:09 PM on October 9, 2012


Beautiful.
posted by homunculus at 10:30 PM on October 9, 2012


You have the luxury of reading Metafilter at work

I imagine that the majority of users read and post on MetaFilter while at work.

A lot of posts & comments come into better context once you take that into consideration.
posted by hamida2242 at 10:44 PM on October 9, 2012


My favourite sticker (not from the FPP).
posted by jaduncan at 11:46 PM on October 9, 2012


(Internet) pranksters add their own signage (using their Photoshop skills) to the London Underground with perfectly matched design & typography.

If they were just going to photoshop them, I doubt they would have bothered to make the white station overlays look like obvious decals.
posted by ShutterBun at 12:04 PM on October 10, 2012


Key points: 1) A subway is not a mode of transportation; it is a pedestrian underpass, ie a tunnel. 2) The area around Tottenham Court Road has recently been turned into a giant and rather remarkable hole in the ground -- buildings knocked down, ground works dug out - for a transport project. "Subway to Somalia" refers to this. It is no more or less racist than "dig a hole to China" or "dig a tunnel to China" and is making much the same joke.

No, Somalia is not the antipode of the UK (nothing is) but neither is China the antipode of the US.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:49 PM on October 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Photo of the ten-thousand-square-metre hole in question. Looks like sat imagery was taken before the excavated area - which knocked three entire blocks around the corner of Charing Cross Road and Oxford Street - actually became a hole which consumed even the street that ran through it.

[What they're building.]
posted by genghis at 2:04 PM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mornington Crescent!
posted by ShutterBun at 6:07 PM on October 10, 2012


Also, Somalia is alliterative :-)

And in regards to the charges that these are just photoshopped images? They're not. I've personally seen about half of them in the flesh. They're all over the tube. Nice to see some that I haven't come across though.
posted by aychedee at 12:48 AM on October 11, 2012


That's a good point, but the sticker says submarine, not subway.
posted by fight or flight at 2:01 AM on October 11, 2012


Then think "slow boat to China" (which is the phrase my brain was looking for instead of dig a tunnel to China) except in this case, it is below ground and thus a submarine.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:44 AM on October 11, 2012


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