Notes from Overground


“Man is born free and is everywhere in trains.”

I’d like to recommend a twenty-year-old book called Notes from Overground by Tiresias.

It was probably my favourite read of 2013. Strangely enough, the Guardian mentioned it recently too, so maybe it’s time for a Tiresias renaissance.

The book should be held dear by any Escapologist. Treasure it. Keep it in your breast pocket, close to your heart. (If nothing else it might intercept a bullet during a particularly exciting post-employment misadventure).

It contains no practical information on how to escape the 9-5, but it’s a beautiful plaintive cry on behalf of commuters everywhere.

As it happens, the author Tiresias (real name Roger Green) eventually escaped. He went to live on the Greek island of Hydra to continue his life as a poet.

But before escaping, he commuted daily between Oxford and Paddington for twenty years. In Notes from Overground, he gives us extremely witty and highly-literate musings about life as an intelligent person relegated to white-collar purgatory. Do read it if you can find a copy.

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Robert Wringham is the editor of New Escapologist. He also writes books and articles. Read more at

2 Responses to “Notes from Overground”

  1. Spoonman says:

    I commute to work by bus. Believe it or not, it’s a hell of a lot better than driving in LA traffic. I’ll pick up this book and read it on my commute!

    Btw, my wife and I are hoping to make our own ERE-style escape later this year or early next year. So we won’t be commuting much longer =).

    In LA we have a train system that is not commensurate with the size of the city, it’s truly not that great by international standards. I used to commute by train (light rail), but I quickly found out that as charming as trains are they still suck during rush hour.

  2. Oh definitely. I’d take the bus over a drive any day. I’m vehemently anti-car. If you have a copy of New Escapologist Issue 3, take a look at my article “Be a pedestrian”. Lots of anti-car business in that!

    Best of luck with your escape. Tell us about it any time.

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