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The Voice of the London Underground

The voice of the London Underground.jpgThe Voice of the London Underground taken outside and shot.

I used to work in radio in Australia and one of the stations I had a gig at was a brand-new FM channel whose on-air talent was mainly made up of recent radio school graduates. One of the things they loved to do of a Friday night, after the General Manager had left the building, was to play silly-buggers on the intercom. The Breakfast Jock did a really funny impression of a supermarket check-out chick asking for a "Price Check"...another did a tone-perfect rendition of fighter-jets taking off - complete with conversations from the planes to the tower. Somebody else impersonated the Company Secretary giving the Chairman a blowjob in the dunny. It was very funny stuff. So when I saw this post it really struck a chord. Emma Clarke the voice of the London Underground (The Tube) has just been fired for recording and posting some spoofs on her own website as well as, a London Underground spokesman said, "slagging off her client's services". Clarke said she was "wildly misquoted."

"What I actually said was that traveling in a Tube train would be dreadful for me, listening to my own voice and seeing the haunted faces of commuters being subjected to me telling them to 'mind the gap'" ..."I would find it quite an uncomfortable experience in the same way that when I call a company when I'm their on-hold voice and it's me saying - "please press 2 for accounts - it's a creepy experience to be honest".

Here's some of her spoof announcements -

"Do not drop litter on the train. Please use the tramps provided."boomp3.com

"Warning, this is an emergency. I've chipped a nail."boomp3.com

"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."boomp3.com

We'd like to remind our American tourist friends that you are almost certainly talking too loud."boomp3.com

"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 concern."boomp3.com

"Passengers are reminded that a smile is actually a friendship signal - not a sign of weakness."boomp3.com

"Would the gentleman 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."boomp3.com

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."boomp3.com

"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."boomp3.com

"Would passengers filling in answers on their Sudokus please accept that they're just crosswords for the unimaginative and are not in any way more impressive just because they contain numbers."boomp3.com

"Here we are again, crammed into a sweaty tube carriage. And today's Wednesday - only two more days before you can binge drink yourself into a state of denial about the mediocrity of your life. Oh, for Goodness sake, if you're female, smile at the bloke next to you and make his day. He's probably not had sex for months."boomp3.com

Here's a free London Underground ringtone for you - unfortunately not Emma - Send ringtone

Emma Clarke's wonderful site is up again. She writes about the effect the enormous publicity of the last couple of days has had on her life. There's lots of interesting stuff there. Including her bio which includes writing for -

The Now Show (radio comedy) Stop the World (radio comedy)
Mummification (a one-off radio play) Share and Share Alike (radio sit-com)
Get your Ears around my Mouth (radio sit-com)
Casualty (television drama)
Private Viewing (radio sit-com)
Teleluvvies (an acclaimed play for the Edinburgh Fringe)
The Song’s in the Story and the Story’s in the Song (a mockumentary, for independent local radio, telling someone’s life story through the lyrics of a song)
The Write Stuff (a Channel 4 children’s educational show, for which Emma contributed sketches)

She also tells us she's a keen writer and has been working on her first novel for the last five years and is currently writing a one-woman play for the Edinburgh Fringe. She is also working on several ideas for children’s television programmes, a comedy drama about a couple who meet over the Internet and poetry. She's a hell of a talent this Voice of the London Underground

You might find This story somewhat droll and all.

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Reader Comments (17)

But now Emma Clarke, who has provided that safety warning for years, has been fired by her employers after what she calls a giant misunderstanding. The 36-year-old was quoted as saying she wouldn't ride the subway because she found it "dreadful." But she insists what she really said was that hearing her own voice and watching people react to it onboard a train would be "dreadful."

November 27, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMe
But you do not need to give credit to her and her website, right?

Mal: what are you? The fucking net Police? Her site is down. I'm not linking to a dead site.
November 27, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAlex
When did Britain lose its sense of humor? These are hysterically funny. Ms. Clarke is to be commended. Does anyone remember LAUGHTER?

November 27, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterGordon Wagner

she took it down because she can't deal with the bandwidth of all the attention.

Mal: yes...thank you Bill. We know that. Maybe if she pulled her finger out and bought some bandwidth we'd link to her from the story.
November 27, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterBill Paxton
You should have provided a link to Emma Clarke's web site in the original post.


As of 11.27/2007 it was down due to overwhelming traffic - but it should be back up in a few days.

Mal: Another net policeman. Why doesn't she just host the files somewhere else and it won't cost her bandwidth. Geeze.
November 27, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterPaul -V-
This is all about censorship. Even in the US, censorship is becoming our favorite past-time. The US gov't (and their corporate friends), already detain protesters, ban books like "America Deceived" from Amazon and Wikipedia, shut down Dr. Ron Paul and fire 21-year tenured, BYU physics professor Steven Jones because he proved explosives, thermite in particular, took down the WTC buildings. Free Speech forever.
Last link (before Google Books caves to pressure and drops the title):

Mal: Huh? What has this got to do with censorship? The girl posted spoof voiceovers on her site - spoofing her employers, The London Underground. They are obviously a bunch of humourless deadshits to give her the flick but it hardly has anything to do with censorship. What the dopes should do is capitalise on this and turn her spoofs into radio spots for the London Underground.
November 27, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterZack P
Actually, it's not about censorship. It's about the London Underground protecting their "brand".
November 27, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterd6
Welcome to the nightmare world of corporate control ran wild.

Nothing works, nothing is in any shape prone to working, yet the list of dos, and don'ts are getting longer, and longer, the new age, is the paranoia of baby boomer's compounded with the suspicions of their parents, distilled into the worst autocracy in the human history.

enjoy the misery, and despondency folks, it is liable to get even worse, so much so that these days are to be remembered fondly.

What do you expect from ascendancy of morons, and rule of incompetents? Bankruptcy of thought, and ideas, only yield what you see, and live with.

November 27, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterteedoff
"Mind My Gap"
November 27, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterVagina Monologue
See it as a blessing in disguise, Love. Let that incompetent, hardwired, two-dimensional, ROM, borderline retarded, humourless organisation (aka London Underground) stew in their own juice. There’s a big, wide world out there with media outfits falling over themselves to sign up an “English lady” with the posh-talking chat. Why in Japan you'd be a media personality within the first month. “Britain sucks” says it all. Hate it and leave it.

November 27, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Milner
I get the censorship argument. Being punished for free speech = censorship. I just work for the net police to police the opinions not the link etiquette.
November 27, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDavol
She should sell these to a mobile content producer to be made into ringtones. Make some money out of her misfortune!
November 27, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJustin
According to Emma herself on a BBC article, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/7113545.stm it was not because of the voice overs but because of a misinterpretation her saying she would not ride the tube herself because it was dreadful.

November 27, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Gribben
Emma Clarke's firing is absurd, but will hopefully lead to a thriving career doing radio and television commentary. She should do a British Rail-sponsored "comedy train" tour. New York's MTA should hire her (after all, doesn't every New York firm want a British woman's voice on their outgoing messages?).Another casualty of an Orwellian age; we have become our former (and future?) enemy, Russia.
November 28, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJohnny and the Gap Band
Here in Adelaide the announcements are something along the lines of an indecipherable version of this )(*R()*_)$#)#)sss. At least these are understandable and funny. My memories of the tube is that it was pretty undesirable as a method of transport. Not as bad as New York or buses in Nepal mind you.
November 28, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterColin Campbell
Watch 7/7 Ripple Effect for the truth about what happened on 7th July 2005 in London Underground.
November 28, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterFremen
These just make me want to go back to London this second! These sound bytes are hilarious!!!
November 28, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLindsay

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