59. 7pm. Top deck, on the right behind the stairs.
Directly in front of me, blocking my view, was a screen displaying the images from eight (yes eight) different CCTV camera angles on the bus. I found myself watching the images flick over and over, in their fixed order, trying to see how they could add up to a consistent narrative about me and my fellow passengers.
As I watched, the images became a sort of mesmerising, minimalist, silent film. Most of the characters in this film were blank-faced and grey, swaying together (but also somehow not together) in their seats. Every few minutes someone would briefly shine, appearing dramatically in two consecutive shots (looming bobble hat caught by camera 2; lurching, zombie-like, away from camera 3) before melting into the swaying rows. A swinging handrail was the star of camera 7, but it was perpetually out of focus. This began to feel like a metaphor.
Luckily I got off the bus before I disappeared any further down this strange train (bus) of thought. However, in case you are curious and would like to script your own short film, here are all the camera positions/perspectives:
Camera 1: Positioned bottom deck at the back, pointing straight down the middle towards the front
Camera 2: Positioned top deck above the stairs, pointing vertiginously down (good for close-ups)
Camera 3: Positioned halfway down top deck, pointing down the middle towards the back
Camera 4: Positioned top deck at the back, pointing forward towards the left
Camera 5: Positioned top deck at the back, pointing forward towards the right (interesting ‘spot the difference’ possibilities in relation to Camera 4)
Camera 6: Positioned top deck at the front, capturing the whole top deck
Camera 7: Positioned near bottom of the stairs, pointing at the back doors (with symbolic swinging handrail in foreground – avant garde)
Camera 8: Positioned bottom deck at the back, pointing at the wheelchair space
NB: Each shot lasts around 5 seconds.