Classic tube tunesDecember 24, 2008
For the last few months, whenever I go to Wood Green underground station, I’m assailed by the sound of classical music. It’s not just Wood Green – quite a few tube stations are doing the same and pumping out music through the soundsystem in the main ticket office.
I figured that they were doing it to scare away the “yoof” on the streets, who fear classical music will turn them gay. I’ve read about various other experiments in which groups of kids have been dispersed from troublespots by calming classical music. It also has the effect of making Wood Green station feel 2.5% more civilised. Whatever that means.
The thing is that you would imagine that they would choose quite calming music – a bit of Debussy, maybe some Schubert or some Erik Satie – but the last few times I’ve been there, they are blaring out big Wagner-style epics, the kind of thing that is generally the soundtrack to Vietnamese villages being strafed by napalm. It makes striding along the escalators feel impossibly dramatic.