Not So Funny To Some

The movie 3 and Out, directed by and starring Mackenzie Crook of The Office, opened here to protests. The movie’s protaganist is a London Tube (subway) train engineer who tries to take advantage of a work rule that allows him an early retirement and nice pension if a third person kills themselves by jumping in front of his train. Two lost souls have already made that jump and so he sets about finding and paying a homeless person to make it three. Dark comedy ensues.

Potentially a dark and funny premise. However, the real Tube train engineers here in London don’t think so. Running someone over with your train, and having a front-row seat no less, is traumatic and scars the drivers for years, they said. The situation was exacerbated by some ham-handed comments by the director on a local TV show. So the engineers protested outside the theatre.

The newspaper coverage produced some interesting stats:

3,000 – the number of drivers employed by the Tube
40,000 GPB – their annual salary (that’s $80,000); they also receive nine weeks annual leave and a pension upon retirement
35 – hours in their work week
50 – people, on average, who commit suicide by jumping in front of London Underground trains each year

There is, incidentally, no such "3 and out" work rule. The whole thing is food for thought the next time I ride the Tube. And maybe that was part of the director’s intent.


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