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Cellist soundtracks Arsenal title demise at Highbury & Islington station

PUBLISHED: 14:54 18 April 2016 | UPDATED: 15:07 18 April 2016

Tim Gill performing at Highbury & Islington station yesterday. Picture: Benedict Johnson

Tim Gill performing at Highbury & Islington station yesterday. Picture: Benedict Johnson

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“Get in, don’t talk to me, do NOT block me on the escalator, get out.” That’s the philosophy of most Londoners in our busy train and Tube stations. Certainly, they are not associated with joy and music.

Tim Gill performing at Highbury & Islington station yesterday. Picture: Benedict JohnsonTim Gill performing at Highbury & Islington station yesterday. Picture: Benedict Johnson

Which is why cellist Tim Gill caused commuters to double take at Highbury & Islington and King’s Cross stations on Sunday afternoon. And not just for his dazzling orange suit.

Mr Gill was performing Underline - music inspired by the Victoria line - as part of Transport for London’s (TfL) Art on the Underground project.

The pieces were written by Matt Rogers, TfL’s first ever commissioned composer.

With the Highbury & Islington performance starting one hour before the Arsenal threw away the Premier League title at home to Crystal Palace, Mr Rogers watched on as fans flooded through the barriers.

Tim Gill performing at King's Cross station yesterday. Picture: Benedict JohnsonTim Gill performing at King's Cross station yesterday. Picture: Benedict Johnson

He said: “It was really buoyant because of the game, so there was already a lot of energy in the air with fans singing etc. So it felt like Tim was really adding to that.

“It sounded great and there was a really good mix of people stopping to listen, or briefly just catching some of it as they passed by. I liked that it wasn’t really forced on people. They could either enjoy it or ignore it.”

But while the Victoria line is beloved by users for its speed, can you really write music about it?

“We all use the Tube but a lot of the time we’re only focused on our destination rather than places we are passing through. So it’s about taking something you feel from one location and recreating that.”

Musicians have played pieces by Mr Rogers at Victoria line stations throughout April. They will produce a final performance at the King’s Cross northern ticket hall at 3.30pm on Sunday.

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