SEPTEMBER 1995, 23:51 GMT


BIG: Why do we have to change the name again?

Tu-Pac: Because "Railcrew" sounds more undercover, got more edge.

BIG: Hey don’t go to Chuck Norris with this.

Tupac: Easy Chris. I’m just trying to keep this thing tight. I met some people you know? Could be good connects.

BIG: O.K. but don't show them the list man, not at the first meeting anyways.

Tupac: You got it. Don’t worry. Hey you want to here about my latest log?

BIG: That’s what I’ve been waiting for. Come on give it up.

Tupac: OK, OK. Right. Well this morning, it was at 5.36am, I saw a Comeng M car with a huge "B" plastered in-between the two front windscreens down at the Q extension. The "B" looked just like the Bayside Logo man, except the train was coming in from Scotland. And then I saw it again on 508W on the up side at Clapham at 11:31am this afternoon. I was trippin’.

BIG: That’s a superb sighting. Get a photo?

Tupac: Both sightings.

BIG: Nice. Wow those Brits have got a sweet railway system. I’d love to go back. The UK’s train watchers have got it sweet. Tell me some more about the scene.

Tupac: Well, I met this guy called Brian. He lives with his mum near a town called Staines just outside London and let me tell you, he’s got logs that will make you blind.

BIG: He showed you just like that?

Tupac: Yeah. First time we met.

BIG: Those Brits I tell you.

Tupac: Plus he gave me half of his ham and egg sandwich. His mum cuts the crusts off and everything.

BIG: That’s mom love for you.

Tupac: Yeah, so I went and saw him today after a few hours in the studio, trying to get this new album done. It's such a bore, but you know what I’m talking about.

BIG: Hey, I’d rather be out there on the tracks writing my logs man, but the business gotta be taken care of. Only today some fool from the record company called wanting me to use a big speedboat in my new video. I said to him I want a steam train.

Tupac: What did he say to that?

BIG: Hip hops not ready for steam locomotion.

Tupac: You know sometimes I think we are ahead of our time. Like you I try and slip in some train rhymes, but the esexs always take them out.

Tupac: I know you just try and slip Hicube boxcars, cargo sprinters or Type "F" automatic couplers in your rhymes and they have you do another rewrite.

BIG: Listen I got the same thing, but one day it won’t be like this. Come on cheer me up man. What else happened?

Tupac: OK, well after I hooked up with Bri’ for a pint of bitter, he took me to some track near Nunhead and man, I don’t want to make you crazy but, it seemed that from where me and Bri’ were standing the Armdale portion of the Edinburgh Explorer run, at least on Friday at 10:54, had a rail car missing.

BIG: Oh come on! Are you trippin on me? It's an express train dog, operating over long distances. People would be aware of that sort of shit when they get on. And besides Maglev is on separate track isn’t it?

Tupac: Hey, I'm just telling you how it was man at 10:45am. Verified by myself and Bri. I mean some of these rail guys they employ here are just plain blind. They don’t even bother to operate by the timetable.

BIG: Wow. So whose the rest of your crew over there?

TUPAC: Well apart from my man Bri, there’s Gary from Croydon. He also lives at home with his mum but he gets a disabled allowance on account he’s got six toes on each foot. Plus he also gets a trust fund after his uncle used to make him give extras to the dog after he had to groomed it every night.

BIG: Damn. I hear those Brits like their animals but that’s nasty.

Tupac: Yeah the dog comes along every time we go out train logging. He loves Greg.

BIG: So a couple of typical English boys then.

Tupac: Yeah. Oh and there’s Mani as well. His parents run a corner shop, and he always brings along some of his mum’s samosas. They really warm up an afternoon on a cold platform. Mani gave up pharmacy to study trains full time. Except when it’s his turn in the shop of course.

BIG: Better than being outside on the corner. So how's the disguises going?

Tupac: Yeah, good. Kitted myself out with a don windcheater and a genuine flat-cap from Yorkshire.

BIG: Styling! Down with the country gents.

Tupac: Yeah for sure.

BIG: And no one recognized you?

Tupac: No. Bri doesn’t recognize who I am since he only listens to train sounds on his walkman, but the other day I thought for a second I was recognized by a lieutenant from a rival click who told me he thought I was a guy from the Dr. Shoal’s orthopedic running shoes ad.

BIG: Close call. Hey I tell you some of the homies be glad with that arch lifting support. Helps with the lower lumbar backache when you gotta keep stood on your corner all day to do business.

Tupac: Word.

BIG: Hey. Wasn't I right about the Huddlesfield Express TL?

Tupac: Yeah. I was buggin'. It’s got to be one of the best examples I’ve seen. Got my zoom out for that one.

BIG: OK T, I got to go. Dre's come over with a video of one of the only few 155's that escaped conversion to single car 153 units. It’s gonna be hot.

Tupac: Smoke one for me baby.

BIG: You know it. Out.

By Edward Wilkinson-Latham. EWL©