Alice Jones: From the heavens to the seven ticket gates of hell, the internet will find you

 

Share

These are dark days for shirkers. The London Underground has installed WiFi, which means that the 21st-century adult equivalent of "the dog ate my homework" – "I had no signal" – will no longer pass muster. Soon there will be no part of the Earth, except perhaps the wireless-free paradise of its molten core, that emails from one's boss cannot reach. We will be expected to attend to the constant ping of our inboxes without delay or respite.

The innovation comes on top of last month's decision by Virgin Atlantic to permit mobile phone calls on long-haul flights. I was on one a fortnight ago, and while most people used the opportunity to call home and shout "I'm on a plane! I know! In the AIR. Gotta go. Costing me a fortune. I know. I know! In the SKY!" ad infinitum, once the novelty wears off, fielding work calls will become routine at 35,000ft above ground.

Now, emails at 80ft below ground are to be the norm, too. King's Cross, Warren Street, Oxford Circus and Green Park were the first to switch on this week. By the end of July, 80 stations will have free WiFi on their escalators and platforms. A further 40 will be added after that, meaning that more than half of the network will be live, buzzing with office memos, tweets and ranty Facebook updates from people stuck on the Circle Line.

On top of giving Londoners more time and bandwidth to indulge their favourite pastime – complaining about the Tube – constant internet will also foster our most unattractive tendencies: namely a self-important reluctance to switch off from work and inveterate lateness. Very few emails are so vital that they need a misspelt "Sent from my iPhone" response within 20 seconds of being received. And now that it's possible to communicate from the underworld, no one ever need be on time for anything ever again. You can send a "Sorry! Stuck on Tube" email when you know very well that you haven't even left your desk yet.

Meanwhile, the Tube, this week flooded with two million litres of water from a leaking pipe, is getting ready to crack up once and for all as a million extra passengers arrive to stand on the wrong side of the escalators for the Olympics. Delays of up to 90 minutes are expected. Meltdown is guaranteed – but at least we'll be able to log on to the service updates from TfL while we wait.

* It's official: toad in the hole is the new rock 'n' roll. Simon Cowell has launched his latest talent show and, having noticed that people are more likely to swoon over cupcakes than crooners these days, he is on the lookout for a star chef. Great idea, which is presumably why hundreds of television producers have thought of it before him.

Masterchef alone has four separate formats on the boil – all reassuringly shouty, albeit with slightly different mixes of contestants and judges.

Food Glorious Food's unique twist will be to add a £20,000 prize, the chance to invent a dish to be sold at Marks and Spencer and a generous dollop of X Factor-style sentimentality into the mix. On what might be called the "Eggs Factor", "every recipe tells a story", say producers. "And every family has a special recipe that tugs at your heart strings, makes you smile, brings back memories and sums up all that's great about food." Cue contestants talking about the "journey" their dead grandmother's pineapple fritter has come on, and excitable judges telling them: "You made that cottage pie your own."

Over in America, meanwhile, Nigella Lawson and the famously acerbic Anthony Bourdain have signed on to present a cooking show "unlike any other" on ABC which offers home cooks, moms and dads and college students to compete a "life-changing opportunity" in food.

Oh, for those simpler, less emotionally draining days when Loyd Grossman deliberating, cogitating and digesting was the only trial amateur cooks had to face.

Twitter: @alicevjones

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Web Designer / Front End Developer

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast expanding web managem...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: Why it won’t be the i wot won it – our promise to you

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
A relative of dead Bangladeshi blogger Washiqur Rahman reacts after seeing his body at Dhaka Medical College in Dhaka on March 30,  

Atheists are being hacked to death in Bangladesh, and soon there will be none left

Rory Fenton
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor