Sunday, December 02, 2007

Free the London Underground Emma!

Proving that only some Brits have a great sense of humor, the nitwits who run the London Underground system fired Emma Clarke, the woman whose voice is heard on some of those famous voice announcements for the London subway system.

You know, "Mind the gap" and all that. The voice that tells you what the next stop is. The one with the accent that American feature writers always call "plummy" and the English used to call "Received Pronunciation."

Emma's offense: She got interviewed by the Mail on Sunday newspaper and allowed as how she doesn't ride the subways herself. She takes buses or taxis instead.

"The thought of being stuck in the Tube with strangers for minutes on end and having to listen to the endless repeated messages of my own voice fills me with horror," she said. Sounds to me like she was joking, incidentally, but that isn't the point.

Emma (above), a comedy writer, is also a voice-over specialist for radio and for advertisers. On her Web site, she's posted a variety of pretty funny spoof announcements. Here's the link.

I love the gentle admonition to American tourists. And also the one about people engrossed in "their Sudokos." Also the one about Londoners who think their city is the center of the world.

The nimrod PR man for the London Underground said that Emma was fired because "we wouldn't employ somebody to promote our services who simultaneously criticized our services."

I recently saw the excellent movie adaptation of the play "The History Boys," and reading the PR man's statement caused me to hear the voice of Clive Merrison, the wonderful actor who played the pinch-faced Headmaster, in my head.

Now if someone would only track down that American lady who sounds like Granny from the Beverly Hillbillies, and who does those grating, annoying announcements for U.S. airport terminals -- like that infuriating one they keep running at the Houston airport that says you will be arrested if you make "eny inappropriate remarks or commints concerning s'curity."

I'll bet that lady doesn't have a Web site with funny spoof announcements.

She could get 'rristed.


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