IGCSE Coursework “East Finchley Tube Station” COMPLETE


Beads of sweat surf their way down my forehead. Finally, the doors open, I am swamped by a huge wave of commuters flooding the narrow platform. My initial relief of exiting the 8 carriage transporter is quickly replaced by the realisation that I can see no hint of the tiled platform floor that I am standing on. An array of leather, suede, and velvet footwear surrounds me, reminding me of when I always used to get lost in the local market. This time all I can smell is a nasty concoction of sweat, musk and the odd waft of cheap cologne, juxtaposing the delicious wafts of jerk chicken from “Brixton’s Finest” and fresh plantain from the fruit stalls at both entrances of the market.

My fellow commuters are divided upon their exit strategies, the early birds power through the crowds and down the stairs never to be seen again, reminiscent of the older kids at primary school hustling to the lunch canteen, empty stomachs guiding their owners to the sounds of ovens roaring and knifes and forks clanking together. The rest of us stragglers reach the stairs to freedom at the same time causing a traffic jam so long, if I were tuned in to the radio, I would have heard a news alert about it. Slowly, I am shuffling forward, matching every movement that the TM Lewin suit and briefcase in front of me makes. I pass a sign that tells me when the last southbound train departs the station, 23:18, leaving me wondering if the ever growing jam of people would have disintegrated by then.

I am descending downwards, one grotty stair covered in smatterings of chewing gum to the next stair, this time splattered with dried lumps of bird excrement. I place my hand on the handrail only to discover that a sticky substance has decided to start permanently residing on it, furthermore it is clear this substance welcomes visitors, as I cannot release my hand from the sticky situation that has been thrust upon me. Finally, my passport is processed through the reader and with a newly found spring in my step I hustle through the moving gates. I bound past the “East Finchley Tube Station” sign that guards the exit. I am away.


Tapping my pockets, I breath a huge sigh of relief as I discover my Oyster card has not escaped from captivity. My breath leaves a warm lingering fog around me. Languidly, I pull my Oyster card out of my jean pocket and press it down against the fluorescent yellow reader, subsequently the machine beeps and triggers the gates to tear apart. I trundle up the discoloured stairwell, I’m sure it was white at some point during its dismal existence.

Now that I’ve reached the platform, I look up and notice the roof over my head is in fact the night sky, only made less scenic by the glare of the station road street lamps that just reach the elevated platforms. This is the first time I have noticed that this station is open top, I have never looked directly up here before, usually I am just staring  straight in front of me.

Glancing left, I am greeted with the sight of a man stumbling around the edge of the platform with a can of Fosters in his hand. Slowly, he lowers himself to the ground and positions himself on the yellow line of the platform floor, with his legs hanging over the rails. Come to think of it…I also haven’t seen that yellow line before, what with all the people occupying all the space in rush hour. I glance left again, the man has disappeared.

After 3 minutes, the rail rattles into life.  The headlights of the 23:18 illuminate the darkness as the train rattles into the station and the slowing wheels grind against the rails. The doors glide open. I’m greeted with a blast of hot air and a pig sty of beer cans, empty chicken’n’chips boxes and metro newspapers, all in a crumpled heap over the carriage’s seats. I decide to sit on the floor. After all, it’s 23:18, nobody’s watching…


Riffs and Licks

Diary entry:

Dear Diary

Today was a boring day. So when I got home I quickly made myself some toast but then a wretching smell filled the room, I had burnt the toast. I rubbed my hand across the bristley texture of the toast, it felt like the surface of the moon..at least I imagine. Next, I turned on some distorted music (distorted due to my faulty ageing CD player) and threw off my heavy, rusty, black school shoes. I then decided to eat the toast I had burnt previously which wasn’t a good idea because my mouth filled with an ashy like taste. I spat the toast out Lastly I went to bed and that was what happened today.


The bread made its descent down into the toaster, with no flickering knowledge of its own fate. I was to find out 3 minutes later when a wretching smell filled the room, making non wretching smelly particles scramble and separate. The smell engulfed all space it could. After retrieving the offending blackened article from its destroyer, I rubbed my hands against the thick layer of Luna bumpy rock the bread had acquired. The smell then engulfed my entire being as I made an adventurous mistake of attempting to consume it. My mouth felt like ash and subsequently tried to relive itself of the self inflicted agony.






Futility Analysis

The poem “Futility” is a war time poem written by Wilfred Owen in 1914, and is one of the first and most famous war poems ever written. It is therefore a very traditional war poem that is centered around the harsh feelings that are unraveled by the horror of war, such as grief and hopelessness. The poem is very raw, which is demonstrated by the narrator dwelling on the sun, crop fields, flowers, snow and the earth. This sense of rawness awakened in “Futility” is very common of a war poem, “Futility” has no decoration yet has an enormous amount of context that surrounds it.

Futility’s narrative is the narrator expressing grief that the sun can not wake up a dead soldier, having done that for all of his life, both at home and in France.  Owen is despairing with the sun, despite the exuberating power and heat it beholds, the sun can still not wake up one man lying down facing towards it. Wilfred Owen is expressing his anger and despair with war by indicating that it even destroys the sun’s powers.

Futility evokes feelings of anger and regret within me, because I feel like war has been glorified as the allies won it, however reading poems like this is very humbling and reminds me that, for the soldiers, war was pretty much the same no matter what side you were on.