Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Mind the Gaffe - Tube Announcer Fired

This photo is of Emma Clarke the until recently largely anonymous face behind the voice of the London Underground; 'mind the gap' and so on.

This photo was taken by the photographer Laurie Fletcher, one of a series of pictures of hithertoo anonymous voices, unveiled at an exhibition in August.

Perhaps Emma Clarke should have taken it as a warning her anonymity would not survive such exposure, for after in a piece in the Mail on Sunday where sher reported vowed not the travel by Tube her bosses fired her.
Being the voice she was ideally positioned to mimic herself too and had already posted spoof example of Tube announcements on her website.

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

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

"Here we are crammed again into a sweaty Tube carriage. ... If you're female, smile at the bloke next to you and make his day. He's probably not had sex for months."

All very funny and in her distinctive voice all the funnier. You might have to wait to listen to them though, Clarke's website has buckled under the deluge of dowloaders who have swooped to listen to the mp3s in the wake of this story. Although if you take a look at BBC News they are playing it too.

When you drill down into the copy the really interesting part is how the honey-toned Clarke is actually claiming the Mail on Sunday misquoted her. She claims she said words to the effect it would be dreadful to travel by Tube if it meant she kept hearing herself. Very different and probably not worthy of a sacking!

Absolutely she was unwise for speaking to the Mail - or very clever as she will be in greater demand now. So much so when London Underground decide she was wrongly sacked they will more than likely be unable to woo her back.

However, the moral is for London Underground. They have been widely and variously quoted by the world's media and universally seem a bit harsh. It would have been better to have kept comments brief while an investigation was carried out and slowed down this runaway train.

But then that would presume they spoke to a decent PR consultant before jumping on to the live rail.

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