Friday, 20 January 2012

Girl on the Brighton Platform Smile

I picked up today on Sipech's response to the Archdruid's rant about the "Girl on the platform smile" advert.

Sipech, who blogs at "the Alethiophile", remarks that the station appears to be in Sussex. And after paying very careful attention to the advert, I believe he is right. You will notice that at one stage the man with the ukulele is standing in front of a destination board that clearly contains the letters "IGHTON" - which I would take to be short for "Brighton".

But this gives me pause to think - because the list of stations that the young man hazards for the young woman's destination are all in the North. It is unlikely that anyone would have a choice of Hull and Wigan from the same station even in the North - they laying at nearly opposite ends of the trans-Pennine route - unless indeed they were in Liverpool. But the chances of guessing she is going to one of these stations when she is sitting in a small station south of London are remote indeed.

And this afternoon, being in a similar romantic predicament to the man with the beard, I tried serenading a young lady from the opposite platform at Bletchley station with a ukulele. She did cross the platform, but then started hitting me with the ukulele and telling me to stop singing.

So I have come to a reluctant conclusion. Playing the ukulele at railway stations does not make you successful in love, and the people in that advertisement were not in the place they were pretending to be. I strongly suspect they may be actors. It would appear you can't trust anybody these days.

I have tried on-line dating agencies in an attempt to find a second wife myself - my first wife threw me out for "being boring". But when I enter my hobbies - train-spotting, Java programming, cycling and real-ale - into most websites I get a 404 error. I try not to take it personally.


  1. Burton, I'm surprised that you haven't done your proper trainspotter's research but have jumped too quickly to the conclusion that "IGHTON" implies "Brighton". There are many other stations in England ending with these letters, such as Albrighton, Knighton (the town is in Wales but the station is in England, probably a unique distinction), and of course you will know Leighton if it is reunited with its Buzzard. All these from memory, so I'm sure an exhaustive search will bring up more examples.

    Yes, I know, none of these are likely final destinations for a train. But the simplest solution to the riddle is that the real destination is New Brighton, a terminus on Merseyside. If the man's train is going there, the woman's is going to Liverpool Lime Street, where she might well change for Wigan or Hull.

  2. Clearly not Leighton Buzzard, Peter, as (a) the word "Buzzard" is missing and (b) there are no overhead lines.
    I also think - although it's cut cleverly - that is probably the Southern train operating company livery. So I'm still going with south of London and some special instructions as to how to get to Brighton. You're not getting me to give up my theory that these are actors.

  3. Java programming and real ale ... boring? The woman was clearly deranged. ;)

  4. Sorry to disappoint you all, it is Sutton, Surrey

    Why then does he think she is going to Wigan?

    Personally I have avoided romantic railway station encounters after seeing what happened to Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard in Brief Encounter [OK I am VERY old]and George Forby put me off ukelele players for life.

  5. Angela, since Sutton is south of London this makes me very happy. And I think she is going to Wigan because "pies" rhymes with "eyes".

    And, as it would be a deep failing in me not to point this out, Formby didn't play a ukulele. Despite his fibs to the contrary he actually played a banjolele. George Formby was born in Wigan, the home of pies. Which also rhymes with "lies" as well as "eyes".

  6. Fair enough, Burton, but Sutton is not in Sussex and there are no direct trains (at least no regular services) from there to Brighton - nor to Wigan or Hull. But I will allow that it is served by Southern trains.

  7. Reading the above, it is too late, but since I am proud of having spotted it, I'll mention it; Brighton doesn't have a bridge; as a terminus, all the lines are joined at the end instead.
    And actually, Sutton only has a sort of a bridge; the station base is perched above the lines and one descends to each platform from it.


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