Friday 22 November 2013


A Londoner named James Wannerton experiences the underground (or as we call it here, the tube) in an entirely different way than most. Due to a condition called synaesthesia, certain of his senses are linked that usually exist separately. So when James reads the names of various London underground stations, each one brings up a very strong and unique taste in his mouth. (I’m seriously nauseous already; often just thinking of the underground can make me puke) As he describes it, at certain stations, he tastes of sausage and eggs, and at others, ‘putrid meat’. How lovely, as if public transport wasn't awful enough.

Mr. Wannerton took it a step further and created a whole unique map of the underground transport system in order to bring light to this disorder – (which is obviously a great thing, as before this man’s divulging of his condition I had never heard of such a thing). Each station on the map is now replaced with a taste, be it pea and ham soup, pork scratchings, or jam sponge cake. What is amazing about the map is how many different tastes this man experiences and how intricate they are. And moreover, some tastes are much more palatable than others. So clearly, riding the tube for this individual can be heaven or absolute hell on his taste buds. Then again, I can confidently say that most people have that experience with the tube. Some are cleaner than others, some more crowded, some downright frightening, and it can certainly have me running for an exit thinking of a hot shower (at least it’s not a hot shower with putrid meat).

Apparently he has been making the map since 1964 (that is seriously a lot of time dedicated to one thing) and hopes it will teach society about what synaethesia is all about. He also claims that despite the occasional bad taste in his mouth, he would never want his condition to be taken away as he’s learned how to temper it and appreciates how it has made him unique. You can say that again, James. I suppose my best advice to Mr. Wannerton is instead of subjecting yourself to the putrid meat that washes over you at Kilburn Station, take a bloody cab! 

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