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The Voice of the Underground is silenced
November 26, 2007 10:17 AM   Subscribe

Emma Clarke the voice of the London Underground has just been fired for recording and posting some spoofs on her own website. "Mind the gap" no more. (To spare Emma's server and in case she is forced to remove the files for some reason: External linkage to streaming mp3's of these spoofs are below)

"Do not drop litter on the train. Please use the tramps provided"

"Warning, this is an emergency. I've chipped a nail"

"Would the passenger in the red shirt pretending to read a paper, but is actually staring at that woman's chest, please stop. You are not fooling anyone. You filthy pervert"

We'd like to remind our American tourist friends that you are almost certainly talking too loud."

"Passengers should note that the bearded gentleman's rucksack contains the following items only: Some sandwiches, a library card and a picture of a bare ankle and is no cause for alarm"

"Passengers are reminded that a smile is actually a friendship signal and not a sign of weakness"

"Would the passenger in the pinstripe suit and £1000 glasses who obviously works in the media, please take one step forward on to the track as the train arrives. Thank you."

Residents of London are reminded that there are other places in Britain outside your stinking shithole of a city, and if you removed your heads from your arses for just a couple of minutes, you may realise that the M25 is not the edge of the Earth"

"Passengers are reminded that, like all voiceover artists, I probably look nothing like you imagine and may turn out to be somewhat of a disappointment"

"Would passengers filling in answers on the Sudokus please accept that they're just crosswords for the unimaginative and are not in any way more impressive just because they contain numbers"

"Here we are again, crammed into a sweaty tube carriage. And today's Wednesday - only two more days until you can binge drink yourself into a state of denial about the mediocrity of you life. Oh, for Goodness sake, if you're female smile at the bloke next to you and make his day. He probably hasn't had sex for months"
posted by Webbster (91 comments total) 74 users marked this as a favorite

 
Booo!

Humourless dicks.
posted by Artw at 10:19 AM on November 26, 2007


“Residents of London are reminded that there are other places in Britain outside your stinking shithole of a city and, if you removed your heads from your arses for just a couple of minutes, you may realise that the M25 is not the edge of the Earth.”

She is of course wrong here though.
posted by Artw at 10:21 AM on November 26, 2007 [7 favorites]


Also it sounds like she;s afreelancer, so "fired" is not quite correct.

"Some of the spoof announcements are very funny. But Emma is a bit silly to go around slagging off her client's services. London Underground is sorry to have to announce that furhter contracts for Miss Clarke are experiencing severe delays."
posted by Artw at 10:23 AM on November 26, 2007


I'm with LU here. She is taking the piss out a company that pays her. What did she expect? I write for newspapers and magazines. I wouldn't put a piss take of one of the papers I write for on my website.

Also, she does loads of other stuff - it's not like she's been sacked from a full time job. It's more they won't use her freelance services again.

Bah.
posted by rhymer at 10:24 AM on November 26, 2007


That's incredible - how the hell did she know I haven't had sex for months?
posted by the quidnunc kid at 10:24 AM on November 26, 2007 [2 favorites]


None of which is to say her announcements aren't quite funny.
posted by rhymer at 10:25 AM on November 26, 2007


I just hope the next voice-over lady they get doesn't know about my rectal warts.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 10:31 AM on November 26, 2007


If I produced videogames I'd totally hire her to do the announcements on a half-lifesque monorail system.
posted by Artw at 10:31 AM on November 26, 2007 [2 favorites]


Also, a lot of people have been emailing me recently about my small penis and my impotence issues. I now wonder if there's some kind of connection.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 10:33 AM on November 26, 2007 [4 favorites]


Instead of using this is a positive and light hearted way ("We aren't the boring corporate drones you think we are" or "You know, we know that you underground travels aren't always perfect and that we all sometimes get thoughts like these, but we do make an effort to bringing you the best service possible"), they fired her? Morons, complete morons. Typical example of how corporate drones see problems instead of possibilities.

By the way, who messed up the formatting of the links? Weren't the just recently a list and not a paragraph?
posted by Foci for Analysis at 10:35 AM on November 26, 2007


Pulling into Waterloo station, I always yearned to hear her announce in that deadpan voice:
"Waterloo. I was defeated; you won the war."
posted by Pallas Athena at 10:35 AM on November 26, 2007 [12 favorites]


Seems like preview mode does some funny things to lists, nevermind.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 10:38 AM on November 26, 2007


These seem mostly harmless. If they were announced on the Tannoy at a 1:10000 ratio, I bet ridership would go up and commutes would be far less droll.
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:51 AM on November 26, 2007


Her site's down now, so thanks for the external linking.

Too bad the Tube people are such humorless twats.
posted by briank at 10:56 AM on November 26, 2007 [2 favorites]


How is this in any way bad for her? There can't be that many legit announcements for her to record on a regular basis, so the publicity from getting sacked is probably a net plus that she calculated in advance.

And yes, boo to humorless morons. God forbid anyone should ever pleasantly acknowledge unfortunate, universally understood truths about their employer in public.
posted by Epenthesis at 10:56 AM on November 26, 2007


Metafilter: how the hell did she know I haven't had sex for months?
posted by Horace Rumpole at 10:58 AM on November 26, 2007


How is this in any way bad for her?

Royalties? Also, their termination notice semi-counters the "humorless" rebuttal. "experiencing severe delays", heh.

Still, I don't see why they had to fire her. Who even knew who she was, let alone knew she had a website, let alone cared about these fake announcements?
posted by DU at 11:03 AM on November 26, 2007


The LU has proven itself to be run by the assholiest of assholes, time and again. The most humour-less bunch on the planet. (Extra 'u' for my Brit homies.)

You want people to listen to these messages - you want to give them some reason to pay attention. The Las Vegas airport has the right idea - their 'moving walkway' messages are voiced by LV personalities - Penn & Teller, Tom Jones, etc. It's the dullest of the dull messages (Beware of moving floors) but people listen because you give them something interesting about the voice. There's no way to really spice up the message.

The LU was handed free publicity here, a way to bring a little light into recorded announcements played 1000 times a day. Instead of capitalizing on it, they will revert to the next boring-as-dirt announcer who has quickly learned never to crack a smile.

Because the LU is SERIOUS FUCKING BUSINESS PEOPLE. Who knows what sort of tomfoolery could result if people would enjoy the King's Cross announcement?
posted by unixrat at 11:04 AM on November 26, 2007 [7 favorites]


Well, seeing as her spoofs aren't actually funny, I wouldn't say it's TfL who are the humorless ones here. So far the wittiest thing o come out of this has been the BBC's current headline: Mind the gaffe.
posted by Flashman at 11:04 AM on November 26, 2007


...so the publicity from getting sacked is probably a net plus that she calculated in advance.

Perhaps. Then again, I'd wager that being "humorless dicks" is not an exclusive to the operators of the London Underground. As such, I suspect the whole matter will paint her with a big red "troublemaker" sign on her forehead, in the eyes of potential new employers.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:05 AM on November 26, 2007


Extra 'u' for my Brit homies.

That's 'houmies' to you.
posted by chrismear at 11:07 AM on November 26, 2007 [12 favorites]


I wouldn't put a piss take of one of the papers I write for on my website.

Why not? Did she really knock the underground or did she just have a little fun with the context? If you did it like she did, I can't see the papers minding. Or are they uptight conservative rags?

Anyway, I enjoyed this stuff. I would love to be sitting there on the way to work and hear "Would passengers filling in answers on the Sudokus please accept that they're just crosswords for the unimaginative and are not in any way more impressive just because they contain numbers?" and the rest. LU ought to pay her to do a few. They wouldn't want to overdo it, but the right recording in a train packed with grumpy commuters might improve things.
posted by pracowity at 11:08 AM on November 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


Pulling into Waterloo station, I always yearned to hear her announce in that deadpan voice:
"Waterloo. I was defeated; you won the war."


It'd work better as "Waterloo. Couldn't escape if I wanted to."

Anyway, I can see why she got fired - must at all costs avoid even the most casual associations with sentiments that could be construed as offensive or uncharitable, right right right? But wouldn't it be refreshing if just once one of these big organizations stood up and said, "What the hell, they're funny, and we like taking the piss as much as the next bloke"? I mean, isn't that the national British sport (or at least the only one England fares well at)?

On preview: DU, are you under the impression she gets a "royalty" every time a train pulls into Kings Cross or something? Or, like, when the compilation album comes out?

And good call, unixrat. I'd totally snap out of a transit trance if Ali G's voice - or John Cleese's, or even Noel Gallagher's - was making the announcements.

posted by gompa at 11:09 AM on November 26, 2007


"Sudokus [are] just crosswords for the unimaginative" is wrong two ways, too.
posted by DU at 11:11 AM on November 26, 2007


On preview: DU, are you under the impression she gets a "royalty" every time a train pulls into Kings Cross or something?

Something like that. I mean, the longer they use her voice the more she gets paid somehow. Or doesn't she?
posted by DU at 11:12 AM on November 26, 2007


"We'd like to remind our American tourist friends that you are almost certainly talking too loud."

Woooooooowwww...when I visited London this year I actually did wonder if talking was not allowed on the Tube or something. I was discussing this with another tourist I'd befriended about how preternaturally quiet it was and we worried we were being rude by talking at all (not even loudly mind you). We eventually reasoned that we were just more "loud" because we were on vacation and everyone else was on there with a job or specific place to go to or something so we'd just caught them on a grumpy weekday mood. Perhaps we were wrong...

Also, did I count as being a loud American tourist if the language being loudly spoken was Korean? Or does this go strictly by which passport you hold?
posted by kkokkodalk at 11:19 AM on November 26, 2007


pracowity wrote:


[quoting me] I wouldn't put a piss take of one of the papers I write for on my website.

Why not?


Because I want to continue working for them.
posted by rhymer at 11:19 AM on November 26, 2007


According to the BBC report it's not because of the spoof announcements but because she is alleged to have called the tube "dreadful". She says that she was misquoted.
posted by johnnyfive at 11:20 AM on November 26, 2007


BBC report here
posted by johnnyfive at 11:21 AM on November 26, 2007


A less-tabloidy news source (BBC) claims that she "upset her paymasters by allegedly saying she did not use the Tube because it was 'dreadful'. . . ."

"An LU spokesman said: 'It's not because of the spoof announcements. It's because she has criticised the Underground system. Some of the spoof announcements are very funny. But Emma is a bit silly to go round slagging off her client's services.'"

If I very-publicly derided my employer's product I'd expect not to get more contract work.
posted by D.C. at 11:25 AM on November 26, 2007


the longer they use her voice the more she gets paid somehow. Or doesn't she?

I doubt it. Freelancers are usually work-for-hire; you record the announcement, we pay you X, end of story.
posted by languagehat at 11:29 AM on November 26, 2007 [2 favorites]


If I very-publicly derided my employer's product I'd expect not to get more contract work.

If I very publicly declared I was an adherent of Islam, I'd expect to get thrown off a plane, but that doesn't make it right.
posted by DU at 11:33 AM on November 26, 2007


The Las Vegas airport has the right idea - their 'moving walkway' messages are voiced by LV personalities - Penn & Teller, Tom Jones, etc. It's the dullest of the dull messages...

I don't know if they still do it, but for a while NYC cabs had similar recordings playing when the fare started. It was disconcerting at first, but when someone like Robert Deniro tells you to buckle your seatbelt, you do so.
posted by thanotopsis at 11:41 AM on November 26, 2007


If she hadn't used sweary words and suggested people step into the path of a train, she probably would have gotten away with it.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 11:42 AM on November 26, 2007


She told BBC Radio 4 just now that she didn't call the Tube "dreadful" - she said it was "dreadful" to travel on the Tube and hear her own voice all the time.

In any case, the dreadfulness of the Tube is not really a matter of opinion. Even if she had said it she would just be stating a fact. Water is wet; the Pope is Catholic; London Underground is a catastrophically badly managed nightmare run by two nine-year-olds and a badger.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 11:43 AM on November 26, 2007 [12 favorites]


OUTRAGE! DISSERVICE TO BADGERS!
posted by seanmpuckett at 11:53 AM on November 26, 2007


If I very-publicly derided my employer's product I'd expect not to get more contract work.

If I very publicly declared I was an adherent of Islam, I'd expect to get thrown off a plane, but that doesn't make it right.



What a terrific analogy!
posted by rhymer at 11:55 AM on November 26, 2007


Woooooooowwww...when I visited London this year I actually did wonder if talking was not allowed on the Tube or something.

In my experience of both countries, Americans are far more likely to talk to strangers than Brits are* - and Americans tend to speak more loudly/animatedly as well. On top of that, there's something about the Tube that makes you want to shrink into yourself, ignore everyone around you, and just get to the destination. Something about being so crowded and hot that it would be illegal to transport livestock in those conditions. Something about being half an hour late for no reason. Something about knowing you have to get off the train you're on and onto another, worse one, then do it again on the way home. And every day over and over again.

On topic: I thought these were funny. They play up the stereotypes/archetypes that any tube traveller recognises. I'm sure I can remember an advertising campaign that used similar ideas/themes. Firing her is silly.


*Unless you get the Brits in a pub or something. Alcohol is the great loosener.
posted by Infinite Jest at 12:08 PM on November 26, 2007


What a terrific analogy!

Just pointing out that common outcomes aren't necessarily good outcomes.
posted by DU at 12:12 PM on November 26, 2007


This is a great post.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 12:21 PM on November 26, 2007


If I very-publicly derided my employer's product I'd expect not to get more contract work.

They will probably have an impossible task replacing her now since I doubt there is anyone in London who hasn't said something about the Tube. Really, who out there enjoys the cramped environment, stale air, heat, line shutdowns, filth, noise and 18 miles of corridor you have to walk in Waterloo to ride half a mile? If you find someone who has never slagged off the tube you shouldn't hire them because they obviously have never used it.
posted by srboisvert at 12:25 PM on November 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


They will probably have an impossible task replacing her now since I doubt there is anyone in London who hasn't said something about the Tube.

That might be the reason they hired Ms Clarke in the first place—she's from Manchester. Maybe next time they will have to get someone Scottish.
posted by grouse at 12:33 PM on November 26, 2007


That bloke who does the voice overs for Big Brother perhaps?

Anyway, I'll stick up for the tube. It does it's job, is not particularly overcrowded or uncomfortable outside of rush hour in most places, is easy to navigate and is a lot nicer than, say, the NY Subway system.
posted by Artw at 12:45 PM on November 26, 2007


"Passengers are reminded that a smile is actually a friendship signal and not a sign of weakness"

I really liked this one. I think it would be fantastic to hear non sequitur affirmations on my ride to work.
posted by quin at 12:51 PM on November 26, 2007


game warden to the events rhino: London Underground is a catastrophically badly managed nightmare run by two nine-year-olds and a badger.

Are you from Switzerland, Germany or Japan? 'cause its gotta all be relative as found the tube to be pretty decent in the two weeks I spent traveling on it. Far from perfect, but better then the commute I do by car often. And I am from Canada, which often seems to aspire to Swiss levels of efficiency.
posted by Bovine Love at 12:56 PM on November 26, 2007


And I kinda like badgers. Though admittedly they may not be the best managers. Probably could keep the 9-year-olds in line though, especially if it was a Wolverine.
posted by Bovine Love at 12:57 PM on November 26, 2007


Oblig. XKCD
posted by Richard Daly at 1:08 PM on November 26, 2007 [5 favorites]


Every time I hear one of those pre-recorded messages, I'm reminded of the white zone/red zone bit in the beginning of Airplane!. And then I always hope that the announcer will break free from the tape recorder and start attacking passengers verbally or just freak out.
- Listen, Betty, don't start your white zone shit again. There is just no stopping in the white zone.
- Really, Vernon, why pretend? We both know what you're talking about. You want me to have an abortion.
- It's really the only sensible thing to do. If it's done properly, therapeutically, there's no danger involved.
Alas, I'm pretty sure it will never happen. But those sound clips gave me a taste of what it could've been like. So I'm a very happy camper right now!.
posted by soundofsuburbia at 1:09 PM on November 26, 2007


I flagged you for being a humorless twat.
Find something worthwhile to be incensed about.


Please don't do this. Regardless of whether you feel the complaint was justified or not, rejoinders like this make MetaFilter an unpleasant and unwelcoming place. In case you missed the recent MetaTalk discussion of the issue, we're trying to avoid this stuff. Thanks. (And you people who favorited it, please don't favorite boring insults. Thanks.)
posted by languagehat at 1:10 PM on November 26, 2007 [5 favorites]


Are you from Switzerland, Germany or Japan? 'cause its gotta all be relative as found the tube to be pretty decent in the two weeks I spent traveling on it.

Heh, everyone says that for the first few weeks. I said it when I first moved to London.

I'm guessing that as a visitor you were using it during the day, not at rush hour? Trust me, it's pretty unpleasant during rush hour. And once you realise how frequently the trains should be running, and how frequently they are actually running, your opinion starts to change.
posted by Infinite Jest at 1:11 PM on November 26, 2007


That bloke who does the voice overs for Big Brother perhaps?

Awesome. That would actually be my personal idea of hell. The London Underground with that twat mouthing off in my ear.
posted by slimepuppy at 1:15 PM on November 26, 2007


She is taking the piss out a company that pays her. What did she expect?

How is she taking the piss out of a company that pays her? By using "the voice of the Tube" in unorthodox recordings? At "worst", she was taking the piss from Londoners, typical Tube passengers and highlighting quirks of human behaviour in public transit.

Perhaps I'd have less sympathy if they weren't actually charming or clever.
posted by dreamsign at 1:25 PM on November 26, 2007


She has a fantastic voice.
posted by dobbs at 1:26 PM on November 26, 2007


London Underground is a catastrophically badly managed nightmare run by two nine-year-olds and a badger.

I'd like to see you manage it better. I don't think that current bad management is the problem. Years of chronic underinvestment, followed by the Brown Treasury's decision to give control over important pieces of infrastructure to private companies in order to make the government books look better probably have a lot more to do with it. The current people at TfL are probably doing the best they can, considering.
posted by grouse at 1:27 PM on November 26, 2007


I have just spent far too long on the phone to Orange and those fuckwits have got someone who sounds like Julia Sawalha talking to you while you wait and it makes an already stressful few hours of tension and agony just that little bit worse. Who needs a smiley happy chummy friendly voice aggravating you when you already want to kill someone?
posted by criticalbill at 1:29 PM on November 26, 2007


I'm guessing that as a visitor you were using it during the day, not at rush hour?

I'll admit to using it during rush hour a couple of times and not wanting to repeat the experience. OTOH, when I sit in traffic for an hour I don't know that really any big city is good during rush hour.
posted by Bovine Love at 1:30 PM on November 26, 2007


My favourite announcement is at Waterloo station: "Please note that it is illegal to ride bicycles or use skateboards on the station. It can be dangerous, and is illegal."
posted by randomination at 1:42 PM on November 26, 2007


The voice of the new Bangkok skytrain sounds a lot like her. I wonder if she got that gig.
posted by dreamsign at 1:52 PM on November 26, 2007


*Unless you get the Brits in a pub or something. Alcohol is the great loosener.

And then you have to chat them up quickly, before their bladders explode. (exploude?)
posted by papercake at 1:58 PM on November 26, 2007


dreamsign - about ten years after the internet became a mainstream phenomenon, only an idiot would post something potentially contentious relating to their employer and not expect possible payback.

How is she taking the piss out of a company that pays her?

Actually, to be more accurate, she is taking the piss out of her employer's customers. On the only announcement I listened to, she called people who looked at ladies' boobies perverts. Were I an ogler, I might be reasonably be offended at this characterisation.

Could some of her stuff cause hassle for LU? Absolutely. Might some people not find it as funny as you did? Totally. Might they think it odd and annoying that an agent of LU was laughing at them? Perhaps.

I'm not saying I would have sacked her. But I am saying that by doing what she did, she took her chances. If I was her boss at LU, I might feel that this sort of thing was fine from a stand up comedian, but probably not an employee.

And no, it's not a freedom of expression issue as a lot of people seem to think. It's a stupidity issue. She was free to say what she did and LU were free to sack her. It's really no different to someone calling their boss an idiot on facebook or sending up their workplace on a blog.
posted by rhymer at 1:59 PM on November 26, 2007


Could some of her stuff cause hassle for LU? Absolutely.

How? Do people hear her humour and then decide not to take the tube after all? Or do they start rioting down in the bowels?

I understand your point about cause and effect; she did (A), so they did (B), and I understand that in may not be entirely unexpected that (B) follows (A), but I should think that is reasonably clear here since (B) did, in fact, follow (A). What I don't understand it your point. Are you saying it is morally and/or ethically correct for them to sack her for her actions? If so, just say so instead of the ' you have to expect... ', which sounds a lot like saying that anyone with a lapse in wisdom deserves what they get or else your just stating the obvious.
posted by Bovine Love at 2:08 PM on November 26, 2007


You're right. - twat in this context isn't especially offensive in English English. And besides the English insult each other in this way far more often than Americans do.
posted by rhymer at 2:13 PM on November 26, 2007


All I'm saying Bovine Love is that if you post silly stuff to do with your employer on the internet there may be payback.

I think the problem for me here is that a lot of people seem to believe that this issue lies on some higher plane, taking in issues such as human, rights, ethics and notions of causality. Plus some weird notion that freedom of speech on the internet is not only absolute but also entirely consequence free.

For me though it lies in the realm of simple common sense. It's not really a momentary lapse either. She put a lot of effort into getting canned.

(unless of course it's all a ruse to raise her profile which is possible - we live in wised up times)
posted by rhymer at 2:20 PM on November 26, 2007


Honestly, I don't think my coworkers at Disney would've survived had they been forced to refrain from making the occasional (and yes, VERY politically incorrect) Mauschwitz jokes. Sometimes survival is all about humor... ya just gotta laugh about the stuff that makes you want to scream.
posted by miss lynnster at 2:20 PM on November 26, 2007 [2 favorites]


The current people at TfL are probably doing the best they can, considering.

Passengers are reminded that constantly providing excuses for poor services is how the government gets away with it.
posted by srboisvert at 2:30 PM on November 26, 2007


I agree, srboisvert, the blame should be placed on the government, which is responsible for the state of affairs, and gets away with it whenever people blame TfL management instead.
posted by grouse at 2:33 PM on November 26, 2007


I agree with you miss lynnster. Of course, everyone jokes about their work and gripes about their companies - but if you tell a Mauschwitz joke to a couple of people it's pretty deniable. If you put it on the internet, the world can see it.
posted by rhymer at 2:35 PM on November 26, 2007


From the BBC article "She said she was "disappointed and perplexed" that LU had not contacted her but instead had decided to dismiss her via the media."

WTF? I get that LU is badly run, but this is how they terminate a contract with someone?

This seems a very strange overreaction. Reprimand-worthy perhaps, not axed-worthy. Even if she did say that she thinks riding the Tube is dreadful, well, so what? She's not paid to take the Tube, she's paid to tell people not to fall to their deaths while using it.

Agreeing that her satirical announcements don't even slag "her clients services." They specifically don't mention the actual transit system, in fact, and are really just observations of varying peevishness about normal human behaviour. (bonus "u" for the UKians.)
posted by desuetude at 2:50 PM on November 26, 2007


Well, one of the animators I worked with actually went as "a Mouseketeer gone bad" for Halloween WHILE we were working at Disney. He stayed dressed for the whole workday that way. And to say it was derogatory is understating it... he wasn't subtle in the slightest.
posted by miss lynnster at 2:55 PM on November 26, 2007


this is how they terminate a contract with someone?

I don't think she had a current contract with them. They're saying that she won't be hired for additional work in the future.
posted by grouse at 2:55 PM on November 26, 2007


(He owns his own business now...)
posted by miss lynnster at 2:56 PM on November 26, 2007


this is how they terminate a contract with someone?

I don't think she had a current contract with them. They're saying that she won't be hired for additional work in the future.


It actually sounds quite a lot like it could be a snarky comeback given when some media type decided to bother them about the web stuff.
posted by Artw at 2:58 PM on November 26, 2007


That bird is peng!
posted by Samizdata at 3:13 PM on November 26, 2007


Okay, I stand possibly corrected. I fix it thus:

This is how they end a longstanding business relationship with someone?
posted by desuetude at 4:24 PM on November 26, 2007


FWIW, I think that the word "twat" (short "a" sound) is viewed in a slightly different (read: less offensive) context in a UK-related discussion. Search for how often it appears in The Guardian.
OTM. We're going to have to have another thread, and hopefully flag, about US-centrism.
posted by bonaldi at 4:35 PM on November 26, 2007


"...You are not fooling anyone. You filthy pervert."

Ah, this takes me back to my undergrad linguistics-major days and the discovery in phonology class that "pervert" said in RP is the funniest word in the English language.
posted by kittyprecious at 5:28 PM on November 26, 2007


After our recent vacation to London, my 6-year-old does a note-perfect impression of her. Perhaps she could do any further announcements. Her favorite stop name: Waterloo. Mine: Cockfosters.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:16 PM on November 26, 2007


[a few additional comments removed, please take the twat derails and arguments to either a new metatalk thread or the same old one. thanks!]
posted by jessamyn at 6:17 PM on November 26, 2007


Has the song by Amateur Transplants been posted yet? [nsfw language]
posted by milquetoast at 10:43 PM on November 26, 2007


languagehat's link has introduced me to my favorite word of the day:
DIPHTHONGS
posted by tehloki at 11:26 PM on November 26, 2007


These are great. I'm an American studying abroad in London, and I think the tube announcements are going to be one of the things that stick with me the most. (Yeah, I smile going home every day when I hear Cockfosters.)
posted by finrod at 2:07 AM on November 27, 2007


I used to take an overground train home from London Euston every day and one of the drivers was possessed of a sense of humour. He would say things like:
"Welcome to your super-friendly service to Watford Junction. If you've had a busy day, relax and enjoy the scenery. I'll do all the hard work."
Or, if someone had been frantically running to catch the train, just as the person had leapt on, he would say:
"Happy that you've kept everyone waiting? Perhaps I can start the journey now?"
People would look up from their papers and smile at each other, and it made the daily grind a little easier. I agree that LU could have made more capital out of this, but it doesn't seem to have done Emma Clarke any harm.
posted by Myeral at 4:00 AM on November 27, 2007


finrod - my girlfriend and I sing the theme tune to Ghostbusters every time we see a train heading to "Cockfosters". It's the little things, right?
posted by triv at 4:47 AM on November 27, 2007


If I was her boss at LU, I might feel that this sort of thing was fine from a stand up comedian, but probably not an employee.

From Webbster's second link:

Emma Clarke is as articulate with her pen as she is with her mouth. The 31-year-old mother - yes, she is a real person - is being hailed as the next Carla Lane or Lynda La Plante after being commissioned to write a six-part sitcom to be broadcast on Radio 4 next September. This follows a successful three-year stint as a professional writer, having penned two stage plays which have been performed at the Edinburgh Fringe - something she would rather be recognised for than her work for the Tube.
posted by rory at 5:18 AM on November 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


On top of that, there's something about the Tube that makes you want to shrink into yourself, ignore everyone around you, and just get to the destination.

It's the overcrowding - if you put too many monkeys in a cage, they'll do the same thing - no body language, avoid eye contact, stop vocalising. Wish I could remember where I read that... Desmond Morris, maybe.
posted by Leon at 6:35 AM on November 27, 2007


It's the overcrowding

But people don't behave like that in overcrowded NYC subways. It's the culture.
posted by languagehat at 7:26 AM on November 27, 2007


It's the culture.

Hmm. Maybe there's an overcrowding threshold. Ok, I'm going to need a small cage and a bunch of Americans...
posted by Leon at 8:40 AM on November 27, 2007


If anyone else wants a local copy of the MP3s, I've retrieved them and zipped them here.
posted by quiet at 9:08 AM on November 27, 2007


Quiet - thanks for the MP3s.
Very cool.
posted by Sully at 9:19 AM on November 27, 2007


There's something about the Tube that makes you want to shrink into yourself, ignore everyone around you, and just get to the destination.

Which is awesome. It's extremely tiresome when people don't do that.
posted by Artw at 9:20 AM on November 27, 2007


Tourist in Tube: Do you know the way to Cockfosters?
Paul Hogan: Sure, serve it warm.
posted by QuietDesperation at 1:42 PM on November 27, 2007


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