Top Deck Tales

You might have to move quickly to listen to this, because it was originally broadcast on Radio 4 last Monday evening, but Robert Elms’ Top Deck Tales – a ride from New Cross to Queen’s Park on the number 36 bus – is well worth a listen if you’ve half an hour free.

It features Elms chatting with the staff and passengers as the bus passes through Peckham, Vauxhall, Hyde Park Corner and the Edgware Road, and is a wonderful piece of radio. The most jaw-dropping story comes towards the end.

It was aired as part of Radio 4’s London season, which ended at the weekend.


  1. An excellent programme, thanks for flagging it up.

    Vaguely related thought:
    As a regular visitor to our ‘twin city’ of New York, I’ve always wondered, when there are infinite parallels and similarities between both metropoli and their respective inhabitants, why New York has fostered a fierce loyalty among its residents yet London hasn’t.

    Yes, Americans are known to be a little vocal about love for all-things American while we are renowned for restraint and understatement, but you have to admit that the devotion among New Yorkers for their city is not matched here.

    Why is that?

  2. Instant thought… there’s more native New Yorkers in New York, with no loyalty to anywhere else, and more of them living in the centre? It’s also easier to define NYC against the rest of New York State, never mind the rest of the US; while the concept of London being “another country” strikes me as being relatively recent. (Indeed, I’m about to make a very rare trip beyond the M25 today and I’m feeling a bit giddy.)

    And the English do like to whinge.

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