catching sleepers

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Post on 14-Dec-2014



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What started off as a passing curiosity to alleviate the monotony of my long daily commute soon developed into a year long ‘lite’ anthropological study on the behavior of ‘sleepers’ on public transport. Through this study I have been looking at identifying the traits, behaviors and patterns of sleepers. What similarities could be found in the type of person that makes a ‘sleeper’? As well as the pros & cons of different sleeping methods and tactics.


  • 1. Presenting:Catching SleepersINTERESTING NORTH 13th November 2010E: hello@olishaw.comT: @olishawW olishaw.comHi Im olishaw, Im talking about a study Ive been doing over the last 12 months

2. What is catching sleepers ? The art of noticing and capturing aperson sleeping in publicSo what is catching sleepers? Put simply its the art of documenBng someone asleep in a public place, I came to think of it a bit like wildlife photography, where you enter into the subjects habitat and document them 3. Who am I ?A bit of context... I dont have a PhD and Im not a trained anthropologist, but I am lucky in that I can pracBce certain aspects of it in my work 4. Why did I do this study?A year ago I changed jobs resulBng in me traveling through 5 zones of the London underground and back each day, spending an hour or more twice a day on the tube I quickly ran out of things to keep myself occupied. I began to noBce a frequent number of people a sleep on the tube, with an interest in cultural research I thought I would document this phenomenon and turn it into a study... 5. Developing a methodologyI quickly realised that like any study i needed an approach, a methodology 6. How to catch a sleeper You cant use an SLR, I quickly discovered that discretion was the key to success.What became quickly apparent is that you need to be discreet, you cant go poking a big SLR in peoples faces, even if they are asleep, everyone else in the carriage starts to look at you funny 7. How to catch a sleeper + An iPhone and ninja cam was invaluableI have no aliaBon with ninjacam, but I will champion it as a great app for being discreet, basically it can make you iphone look like its o while you snap away. It does make you learn how to shoot from the hip 8. Some times you get spottedIts one of the few times you dont wantsomeone to look at the camera whenyour taking their pictureEven with these precauBons, you someBmes can sBll get spoQed, its not foolproof 9. You think hes asleep 10. oh, no Ive been spoQed 11. spoQed again 12. This guy was an interesBng one, he noBces the camera 13. wonders what Im doing doing, but even when I move seats (to capture a dierent sleeper) 14. he came and sat in front of me and went to sleep, clearly not that bothered 15. Who are the sleepers?So who are these sleepers? 16. ...all types of peopleThe bum on the sidewalk can enjoy thesame tasting Coke as the president ofthe USAAndy Warhol (possibly)Well they come from all walks of life, I like this quote about how a can of coke is the same no maQer who drinks it (theres not premium can). In the same way sleep is one of those social levellers 17. So everyone sleeps, older people 18. younger people 19. women 20. men 21. all types 22. no maQer who the are 23. ...all time of the day & yearand it happens through out the year 24. Winter Summerthrough all the seasons, hot, cold... 25. Its happening all over europeAnd its happening all over europe 26. (well I found sleepers in Berlin and Paris)Well its world wide, but I was fortunate enough to go to france and germany whilst doing the study an have documented sleepers in Berlin & Paris 27. Theyre not just on the tubeAnd sleepers are not just on the tube, public sleeping happens all over 28. On buses 29. On the overground trains 30. And even in Starbucks 31. at lunchBme on saturday (it wasnt exactly quite) 32. Some people could quite make it onto the tube before they fell asleep 33. Some points of interestSo, a few points of interest that came out of the study 34. Habitual sleepersThere are some sleepers are habitual, getting the tubeat the same time (same carriage) every working day....They must be factoring it into their daily sleep quotaI was amazed that they would always wake up in Bme fore there stop 35. Where as...Where as there are other unplanned sleepers whowould sleep though there stop... 36. ...even if it was the end of the line. 37. This lady was on a busy bustling tube 38. Even when people got on and of she remain undisturbed in her slumber 39. Now this guy 40. Was fast asleep long aZer the train had pulled in an everyone had disembarked the train (I stayed around for a while to see how long before he woke up) 41. Busy or quite a sleeper willsleep on regardless... 42. An empty tube, apart form these two seaming unconnected people at one end of the carriage (and myself) 43. This lady was fast asleep on a busy rush hour tube 44. An slept on oblivious to it all 45. On a Eurostar trip at 5pmreturning from Paris... 46. walking the length of the train I discovered a whole train full of sleepers 47. Some more prepared then others 48. Some more asleep then others 49. Behaviours of the sleepers 50. Personal security: What do with your belongings?One of the biggest quesBons I asked myself was what about their belongings, and I noBced some techniques employed by the sleepers 51. The holding tight, 52. This guy had white knuckles because he was holding the bag so Bght 53. Or use the bag as a head rest... 54. Strap it on,Dont think you have the mind to hold your bag when asleep? Try strapping it to yourself for security 55. This lady clearly prioriBsed her bag, one (more precious) strapped on and the other sat beside her 56. The Condent(between you legs), 57. One strapped, one between the legs 58. This behaviour was typically a male favourite 59. This guy looked like he might drop hes phone he was in such a deep sleep 60. The Over-Condent(the offering) 61. Here is my bag... 62. ...please take it from me 63. Now this was my favourite, almost a zen like prayer 64. The Berlin technique,And then there was the Berlin technique 65. as seen at 3am on Friday evening 66. Getting ComfortableContrary to what you have seen its not easy for everyone to nd a comfortable sleeping posiBon 67. This guy was swaying for about 30mins one side then the other 68. She thought she was comfy, but nope, she slumps over 69. This guy relaxes into it... aZer a Bme 70. This lady without any fuss moves seat mid sleep to gain a more comfortable posiBon 71. This lady moves seats and gets really comfy 72. Am I comfy? Ah maybe now... oh this is beQer... Ah thats the spot! 73. Has a yawn and then give into the sleep 74. The train goes over a bump, and he slumps forward 75. This guy is denying hes sleepy, he slowly starts to succumb to it 76. Then the sleep takes hold 77. What to do with your head ? 78. You can hold it 79. The head back technique was quite a popular one 80. This lady was well insulated and cushioned, a 360 pillow 81. The head forward slump... 82. Use what is around you,Or you could use the structure around you 83. Make the most of the space around you 84. I have to bring special aQenBon to this guy, he has got his head balanced on 2 inches of plasBc, its an art form 85. Im not really sleeping!Then there are the people who pretend that they arent really asleep 86. Hiding behind their bags 87. The readers... 88. Now Im not sure if they fall asleep reading, or if they make it look like they are reading then fall asleep 89. Listening to a lullaby 90. This guy slumps of a bit later in the journey 91. Its summer, sunny, you have your sunglasses on... 92. But then you slump forwards and everyone can see your fast asleep 93. Im asleep and I dont care!The unashamed sleepers 94. Hood up and I dont care 95. No hood, use what you have 96. This guy looked like he could have almost be posing for me - if it wasnt for the snoring 97. Is it infectious, like yawning?So I began to wonder, is sleeping infecBous like yawning is? 98. This guy seems to be infecBng the lady next to him 99. 3 strangers sleeping together in public 100. The most I had in one tube was 5 101. This guy managed to infect two dierent people sat next to him 102. How do you know when its adeep sleep?Apart from snoring... 103. Lets take a closer look 104. its the mouth open imminent drooling 105. Catching sleepers gameSo to maintain my enthusiasm for the study throughout the 12 months, i made up a game 106. The Game of catching sleepers + A Cross between and pub cricketIts a bit like noBcings and the old game of pub cricket 107. +1The sleeperSo... 1 point for a sleeper 108. +2 The improvised pillowmore effort to make a pillow, an extra point 109. +3 The pillowit take some preparation to bring a pillow so more points 110. +2The unique2 points for a unique pose / position 111. +2The end of the line* extra points for an empty carriage 112. +10The yawner* must be caught in actionThis is an especially hard one to catch in action 113. +3The hiding3 points is you can rumble a hiding sleeper 114. +3 The shameless3 points for a shameless sleeper, theyre more rare to nd 115. +5The open mouth* mega points for documented drool!You get extra points for documenting some drool! 116. +1 +1x2The Multiplier* times by the number in shotMultiplier points 117. +1 +1x3The Multiplier* times by the number in shot 118. +1 +10 x2 The Combo MultiplierCombos! 119. +20The offering* such a unique poseAnd mega points for my favourite pose 120. Things I learnt on the waySo a few things I learnt about sleeping on the tube... 121. Tips for sleeping on the tube Dont have a bag or any belongings your not wearing Get an seat at the very front or very back or the tube If you think you might miss your stop, dont sleep 122. Tips for sleeping on the tubeMost importantly:Dont fall asleep if you dont want some one to takeyour photo! :) 123. Insights from desk researchOnce I had completed the study, I thought that I should (retrospecBvely) do some desk based research on sleepers 124. I found this this venn diagram...Ill leave that with you[Sorry cant nd a link to the source - FFFFound] 125. Even superheros sleep on public transport[Sorry cant nd a link to