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Thursday, 3 February, 2000, 14:48 GMT
By BBC News Online's Sarah Teasdale
Would-be mayor of London Ken Livingstone boards the 1911 from London Victoria bound for Kent with the red-ribboned name badge still dangling around his neck.
The laminated card is not a Labour pass but one for that afternoon's NME awards.
During the ceremony he sat next to Fatboy Slim, who along with the Chemical Brothers and Blur has promised Livingstone they will play at Wembley for him if he becomes Labour's mayoral candidate.
The former leader of the Greater London Council has already played Wembley Arena with Blur as he "sang" on the song Ernold Same, on the album The Great Escape - or, as he puts it "Blur were my backing group".
"They wanted someone with a boring nasal voice to sing a song about a boring man with a boring life, and John Major was busy that day," Livingstone explains.
"I did a gig with them at Wembley in front of 10,000 people. The song is quite a soft track and Damon [Albarn] told me to come in on a certain note but I couldn't hear it because of the crowd so I just started and then caught up with the music.
"But out of that crowd of 10,000 I could still hear one dissenting voice shouting 'You're a w*****r, Livingstone, you're a w*****r'."
Before the arena can be booked again, Livingstone has to secure Labour's nomination ahead of his two rivals Frank Dobson and Glenda Jackson.
'Sweeter coming together'
At the moment the contest is on a knife edge between himself and Dobson and no one can tell which way the result will go when it is announced later this month.
"Frank is having one last great push and people are talking his hopes up," Livingstone says.
"It will go to the second ballot as it is most likely to be one per cent either way.
"The most important thing is Glenda herself and her personal vote."
During the journey, his pager goes off telling him a vote is about to take place in the Commons. The three mayor candidates have been given exemptions from voting for the time being.
It is a good thing, as Livingstone is currently on his way to Bromley, travelling alone - without even his "think tank of one-and-a-half staff" - to one of his nightly meetings with party members.
Livingstone has been fighting for the right to stand for mayor for more than a year, although the battle really began to heat up when Downing Street started seeking loyal candidates to oppose him.
The resulting public battle to choose Labour's mayoral candidate has seen personal attacks from Downing Street, Livingstone's repeated appearance before an internal selection panel and the introduction of a complicated electoral college system to select the winner.
"Having the prime minister campaign against you is an interesting development," he smirks.
"But it will make the final coming together all the more sweeter.
"The Labour mayor should still win. This contest hasn't damaged our chances if I win but if Frank narrowly wins, I think the media, Tories and the Liberal Democrats will destroy him."
He goes on to describe the Tory candidate, Steven Norris, as a "formidable old bruiser", the candidate they did not wanted to fight.
But mention the Lib Dem's candidate Susan Kramer and Livingstone is full of praise: "I'll give her a job, put her in charge of raising the bond issue for the Tube."
'As long as I win'
Despite reports of thousands of ballot papers already having been returned, Livingstone continues to campaign vigorously, although he agrees it is exhausting him.
"When the three of us get together, we agree we're totally shagged out," he said.
"We're the three clapped out musketeers. Every night I'm doing a meeting like this. I see more of Frank and Glenda than the person I live with.
"I look forward to when it's over - as long as I win."
Livingstone leaves the train talking to a local resident who warmly shakes his hand as they part company. With minutes to go to the meeting, he heads for the nearest chip shop.
As he orders chips and cod roe, the owner says: "You're Ken Livingstone, aren't you?"
In a flash, the whole family is gathered around the MP, including a baby, which he is left holding as they get their camera.
He has not finished his chips by the time he reaches the school where the meeting is held, but gives the remains to the Socialist Workers Party members picketing the door.
Among those greeting him is Rosalie Huzzard, who he first met 20 years ago when she was the political secretary within the Greater London Labour Party.
She agrees the contest is too close to call.
"Ken has a lot of support among the membership but the problem is the electoral college," she says, referring to the system Labour has chosen to select their mayor.
"The anti-Ken campaign is damaging the Labour Party. It is regrettable, but it has benefited Ken."
The pair were battle partners when Bromley Council opposed the GLC's "Fares Fair" policy and brought about its end.
Livingstone tells of his first meeting in Bromley 20 years ago which attracted a few dozen people. In 1984, he was back to defend the GLC against abolition.
Then, he says, they were turning hundreds of people away.
On this wet February night more than 100 people have turned out to hear Livingstone deliver his vision of London.
He attacks the "dullards" who run London Underground with complete contempt for customers, describes the need to end London's poverty and calls for more job creation.
"I really want to be your candidate for mayor. I really see this as the most exciting time. For the foreseeable future the vast majority of human beings will have to live in cities.
"The task of government is to create liveable cities. If you can't create a decent quality of life for people in our capital city, there's no chance for people in Jakarta or Delhi."
The questions from the audience cover all the main issues of Livingstone's campaign, though transport is by far the most recurring theme.
Asked what difference a mayor can make if the government goes ahead with its partial privatisation of the Tube, which Livingstone opposes, he is defiant.
He says: "We will screw these companies into the ground until they beg us to take the Tube back."
He tells the audience some of the companies have already withdrawn from wanting to run the Tube, citing "political instability".
It makes it sound like there is a "guerrilla army waiting in the foothills", Livingstone says to laughter.
At one point, one woman stands up and thanks Livingstone, saying: "How nice to hear something positive. Thank you very much."
She goes on to thank him for introducing bus passes for the elderly: "This man here has called his 'the Livingstone', he says 'don't forget your Livingstone and don't forget who gave it to you'."
Then someone asks what Livingstone will do if he does not win.
He confesses he "will be very depressed and I will have to work harder for Frank Dobson than I would have for myself".
As if they are a little incredulous, he continues: "I haven't got a second strategy.
"I went through the '83 election, saying we were going to win it. I even believed it myself.
"I don't think about what happens if I lose."
He tells the meeting he has spent £70,000 on his campaign, of which a recent round of leaflets cost £19,000.
"You've had five of them from Frank, so how much do you think that has cost?" he asks.
To applause, he adds: "We've spent a quarter of a million between us, we've got to make sure we never do it again."
A lot of people have told him how they did not want to stay in the Labour Party, he says.
"People say they will stay to vote for me and if I win then they'll leave."
But on a more serious note, he continues: "The Labour Party belongs to us, we shouldn't walk away from it if we lose out or if we currently don't like the boss. These things change."
And resiliently, he concludes: "Keep on in there, comrades."
Afterwards, people crowd around him, asking for autographs and offering support.
On the way home, through south London, Livingstone surveys the council tower block empire he built during 15 years of local government.
"People do have long memories," he says.
"That's the reason I'm heading the poll, because people remember the GLC. If no-one had ever heard of me I would have been at the mercy of this anti-Ken campaign.
He also believes the British sense of fair play has worked in his favour: "People are genuinely appalled to see the rules twisted."
Then he pulls out the book he is reading, Gaining Power at any Cost by Richard Shenkman, an analysis of American presidential elections.
Reminiscing about his afternoon among the stars, he says: "I met John Peel, he's a national treasure - you could say I was one too.
"You can either be popular with the people who haven't got any power or you can be popular with the establishment," he adds. "But you can't be both."
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