'Democracy on the Buses' - A signed, limited edition lithograph print by Chris Orr.
"This picture shows a jumble of different humanity thrown into the melting pot of the public bus. From an early age I have loved buses. Even the sound of the word is comforting and as a small boy I often pretended I was a bus, running along the pavement making a motor noise through my teeth. London is a city of the bus and I remember that the magazine Picture Post had an advert on the front of buses with two eyes under which was the slogan: THE EYES HAVE IT. It made the bus into a person. Slogans on buses have always intrigued me most recently the unadorned RAINHAM STEEL to be seen on bus side panels. Members of the public do not buy Rainham Steel so the message must have some other function. A proud boast, a cry for help?
The bus is the great leveler. Overheard conversations, especially nowadays with mobile phones, give great insight into how the other half lives and there are constant encounters with people different from ourselves. You will probably have to sit next or even touch a stranger. In the age of the conductor, the passenger was under discipline. As with the railways there was a quasi-military ambience, and the martinet was not unknown. Where you sat and how far the window should be opened were theoretically under the conductor’s control. The contemporary bus has its rules and practices. Validating the ticket, entrances and exits, giving up a seat to one who needs it more than you are essential for the proper operation of the bus.
The bus leads to hope. The hope that we can all travel together to a common destination for individual purposes. It is unity without conformity. It is slow but certain and the time on board I find a wonderful haven of nothingness between busy places. Look out of the window without pre-conditions and see the social world about its business and the intricacies of the visual and architectural panoply spread before you without fear or favour".