100: The Contrary Line

The Contrary Line is an impossible railway line running under Glasgow. Each part of the line, each “Contrary Station”, is not spatially connected to another. Instead, the Contrary Line is a purely conceptual framework that allows travel between several different points throughout Glasgow (and its alternates), a psychogeographical walkway that takes the acolyte to a place most in-tune with their subconscious mind.

To ride the Contrary Line, the acolyte must first locate a Contrary Station. These are found all over the city of Glasgow, but are difficult to find – acolytes that do find one often mark it as such using graffiti that only another acolyte would recognise – usually a pictogram of another Gideon Key – near the entranceway that allows access to the Contrary Line (a door, tunnel, ladder, hallway…). Indeed, many of the locations described and documented in the Gideon Keys contain a Contrary Station nearby.

The acolyte must then lead themselves into a highly associative mental state. This can be achieved in various different ways; many acolytes opt to meditate on the graffiti at prominent Contrary Stations, and several Stations have graffiti created by acolytes for this explicit purpose – look for related motifs arranged in a web-like pattern near an entrance into a dark or underground passage, and focus on unlocking the elements that link them all together. Other acolytes choose to compose spontaneous, nonsensical poetry in a stream-of-consciousness style, or carry books written in free association for that purpose.  The acolyte must then venture into the opening at a Contrary Station, all the while contemplating inter-related symbols, ideas and themes that mesh together in various ways. Focusing exclusively on one specific idea will prevent the Contrary Line taking effect – “sleight of mind” is a requirement.

Using the acolyte’s generation of interwoven ideas, the Contrary Line will transport the acolyte to the station most closely aligned with the topic that is linking together most of the acolyte’s thoughts, with a vast majority of these stations existing partway or entirely in Stained Glasgow. Those who focus on disease will travel to the Contrary Station at the Chapel of Our Lady of the Gory Bell. Those who focus on escape will find themselves in Trenchton, halfway between the only known exits of Rutherglen Rig. Those who focus on uncovering secrets will find themselves trapped in a dark, metal room with a slowly rising water level and The Man in the Tower – and, though they may not realise before too late, they are also deeply asleep.

Travelers beware: do not let your thoughts focus too heavily on death. This is almost unavoidable for those new to exploring the darker spaces of Glasgow, who cannot help contemplating the danger they may be in. Those whose minds resonate to strongly with death will be brought to the High Street Bone Railway Station, and may witness atrocities that force them not only to accept their inevitable termination, but welcome it – and rightly so. In the world above, there is no recuperation for a mind lost to the Bone Railway Station.


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