28 March 2017 | 16 °C

A Tree On The Tube

By Stuart Black Last edited 18 months ago
A Tree On The Tube

This lovely London Short by first-time filmmaker Andrew Spicer uses a deceptively simple poem by Katherine Gallagher to point out the curious fact that there’s hardly any nature on the underground.

There may not be much real sunlight down there, but considering how much time we spend commuting, it does seem weird how artificial that environment is. Here, the simple act of taking a tree for a walk seems odd — but really it shouldn’t. What’s stranger is the lack of nature surely.

Spicer told Londonist: “I came across this poem and instantly felt the urge to capture it on film. Having grown up around oak trees and the natural world, the poem really speaks to me — and from conversations with the author, it seems the trees really speak to her too. Katherine not only allowed us to use her poem she even agreed to take part in the final scene, which added a nice touch.

“The tube is one of the most underrated aspects of London. The very fact that people get so irate when tube strikes happen shows that they never quite realise how integral it is to the smooth running of the city.

“Filming down there was a real challenge. Apart from simply getting permission in the first place, the main problem came from trying to carry the tree. This particular tree was not light and so lugging it around was an incredibly difficult task. To be honest though the Underground staff were nothing but helpful and actually quite enjoyed the novelty value of the tree.

"I think the tube has a natural romantic quality and once you're down there, it can be quite an interesting place to look at. Aside from the obvious historical importance, the stations have their own individual aesthetic qualities, most of which derive from things like pleasant perspectives down tunnels, shadows from columns or the symmetry of platforms and benches. Add an actress like the incredibly talented Molly Bourne and a living oak tree and it can be quite fun.”

Maybe we should all take a tree to work tomorrow.

Want to be featured? If you have a London-themed short film that you’d like us to consider for this series, send an email with the subject “London Shorts” to Stu Black and Ioanna Karavela via our email: londonshorts@londonist.com

To see other London Shorts click here.

Last Updated 24 September 2015