Via Kirk comes this story that makes me wish London Underground had a sense of humor.
LONDON (AFP) – The woman known as “the voice of the Tube” on London’s underground has been sacked after criticising the network and making spoof announcements including making fun of US tourists, officials said Monday.
Emma Clarke has for the last eight years been famous as the voice warning travellers to “Mind the Gap” between the train and the platform, and to “stand clear of the closing doors.”
But the 36-year-old, a professional voice-over artist, annoyed her employers with a series of light-hearted spoof announcements posted on her own website, at http://www.emmaclarke.com.
In one she says: “We would like to remind our American tourist friends that you are almost certainly talking too loudly.”
In another she announces that the passenger pretending to read a paper but actually staring at a woman’s chest should stop, since he was “not fooling anyone, you filthy pervert”.
In addition Clarke, who lives in Highgate, north London, said she used to use the Tube herself but no longer does so because it is “dreadful.”
A London Underground spokesman said the problem was the criticism rather than the spoofs. “Some of the spoof announcements are very funny. But Emma is a bit silly to go round slagging off her client’s services,” he said.
“London Underground is sorry to have to announce that further contracts for Ms Clarke are experiencing severe delays,” he added, according to the London Evening Standard.
Clarke told the daily she was surprised by the decision. “I don’t feel that I have been slagging them off — that was never my intention. It was just a bit of a laugh,” she said.
But said a Tube spokesman: “We won’t be providing her with any more work. It’s not because of the spoof announcements. It’s because she has criticised the Underground system.”
Good for her. I think that London Underground is really shooting themselves in their far-too-seriously-pompous foot. In fact, they should have hired her to make more amusing announcements — perhaps not quite as questionable as these, but certainly something more amusing than “Mind the gap!” to brighten passengers’ days. When one is in a crush of people on the platform at Marble Arch on a rainy day, it would elicit more than a few smiles to hear the tube voice make an announcement along the lines of “The weather here in the Underground is 72° and dry. Enjoy your trip.”