Trouble And Strife

Raindrop, liquid journey, through this back and forth.

Oblivious, kid at the back, shouting, wisecracks about


Tourists. Cameras snapping

At the heels of

Boredom, commuters. “Better than walking – just…”

Raindrop, at the front of this,

Icebreaker. Pushing through.

Tired and

A long night.


Until I see it, as you might.


#47 of 52: Sarah Stokes

Object: A Routemaster (London) Bus


Themes explored in the work included;

  • Dream symbology of buses. To dream of missing a bus can represent a missed opportunity, to drive one is to be in control, to travel around the same circuit means going round in circles just being part of a crowd, waiting for a bus suggests that one is about to embark on a new venture or phase of life.
  • The iconic status of the London Routemaster bus – a sixties icon and now a tourist attraction, operating on ’heritage’ routes. An object conceived as a utilitarian workhorse came to be symbolic of an era, a country, a city and a way of life. People travel the world to spend a few minutes on a bus, cheek to jowl with those that make the trip to and from work every day.
  • Shared space and experience. On a crowded bus, many people share the same physical space but not necessarily the same experience. To some it’s horrible – a claustrophobic and anxious time while others love the opportunity to people-watch. A bus journey can be “quiet time”, a slice of the day that busy people get to be truly alone in themselves, to reflect on the day and what matters on life.

The Project52 Tribe also introduced some influences, such as;

  • Red – the colour of war (mars) and anger.
  • Wanting to snag the seat at the front on the top deck – because it has the best view.
  • University – a time in life when the focus was on learning, experimentation and exposure to new ideas and perspectives. Although I knew of their music, I heard the Beatles “A Day In The Life” for the first time while I was in uni. It’s a powerful, epic piece and I recommend you check it out (it’s on the album Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band). Amongst other things, the song includes references to Paul McCartney’s reminisces of riding the bus to school. There’s also a commentary on the media coverage of the death of a close friend of Lennon and McCartney’s, 1960’s drug culture, and news articles about the state of the UK’s roads.

In the final work, the protagonist sits in the top front seat of the bus. It’s been a long day and it hasn’t started well. There’s a conflict with a significant other – the title of the work is rhyming slang for “wife” – although it’s not clear who the wife is. This person has ruminated on the situation throughout the day, from their early morning commute (the kid on the back), through to a late night. As the bus pushes through the traffic, they push through the day’s events, trying to find a way to come to terms with the other party. Their attempts to view the situation from other perspectives is represented by the reflections in the windscreen and the mirror in the top right of the image.

It’s a sad story – there’s no getting away from that. Hopefully, it’s also optimistic. As long as people try to see things from the perspective of others, there is always the possibility of understanding, acceptance and maybe even conflict resolution.

Project 52

Project52 is a participatory art project that explores intrigue and our relationships with objects and people. Provide a photo of an object. Receive an artwork and 52-word story. Reflect. Playback and share.

The project will culminate in an exhibition, when 52 works are completed.



To participate or if you want to know more, drop a line or contact me via TwitterFacebook or Linkedin.



Check out some of the works.

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