thanks for the support

It’s very hard to describe what it’s like being the focus of a large proportion of the world. As a performer, you’d think I’d be used to it – but not to anything on this scale. What’s been fantastic in this busy, difficult, challenging time are the e-mails of support that you’re sending me.

And it’s not just e-mails either, someone’s posted a really nice video on You Tube, too.

I’d like to share some of my e-mails with you…

“What happened to having a sense of humor? Your spots were quite funny and your former employer a bit stiff to say the least. Best of luck to you, I doubt you will be without offers for very long.”

“I was in London underground (twice); compared to the Paris subway’s voice, yours is really nice to hear and a bit glamorous. I wish a good luck for your new life, and thanks for the good moments, such as: ‘the next station is Marble arch’”.

“I was sorry to hear that the Underground administration did not find your spoof messages as funny as I did. Thanks for the laughs. Sorry for the rotten treatment.”

“A big thank-you for the spoof underground clips and a hope that London Underground eventually rediscovers its sense of fair play.”

“Sorry about the job loss. I hope the publicity on what happened propels you to stardom! You possess a simply lovely voice! (But you know that). And they were all so funny!”

“Just read the Guardian article about your loss of London Underground work. That’s outrageous! Where is the campaign to reinstate you that we can sign up to?

“Sorry to hear about your job, but hey you were looking for one when you found that one. Even though you poke fun at us yanks (do we really talk to loud?) I want you to know this is only the beginning of something good for you.”

“Sorry to hear about your lost job with the London Underground. Hopefully you can make up the lost income by selling ‘Mind the gap’ ring tones.”

“I will not listen to any Tube messages until the powers that be revoke their decision to sack you. Are we so serious that we cannot laugh at ourselves?”

“Just wanted to say that I love your spoofs and I think Transport for London need to get a life! They are such miserable pathetic losers and thank you for telling it like it is and keeping it real!”

“I read with dismay about your ‘sacking’ by Transport for London. I have visited England a few times as a tourist since you began your tenure with TfL. My wife and I always use the Tube to get around London and did admire its service. I want to register a protest with TfL for its lack of a sense of humor!  In this day and age we should recognize what is important, and what can add a bit of a smile to our days. Your ‘spoofs’ were separate from the Tube and could not have confused or dismayed any passengers traveling. In the US, Southwest Airlines is known for its flight attendants joking commentary made before, during and after a flight.  No one at Southwest has felt it necessary to reprimand or ‘sack’ an employee who has injected some levity into their travel. It’s time for TfL to get a sense of humor, rehire you and maybe even use a few of your ‘spoofs’ either in advertising or in the Tube. Please forward this e-mail to TfL.”

And here’s a (much) longer one, from someone I know:

“It’s a bit like waiting on the platform. At first there’s just a bit of a breeze and a distant rumble. Then suddenly, seemingly from nowhere, a great big noisy beast crashes in to view and sits there as people scurry around to get on.
“Then just as quickly, it’s vanished and all that’s left is the slight burnt smell of electricity lingering and that breeze again. I don’t know if that’s how it felt for Emma, but what a strange and traumatic couple of days.

“Not for me of course, despite my vague involvement in this whole story and mild lingering sense of guilt. You see, what seems like an age ago, I was in a session with Emma and she mentioned she was re-vamping her website and might be doing some spoof tube announcements and tripped off a few examples for me, asking me if I could think of any others.

“Now, being mildly hung-over, consequently grumpy, having just got back from a trip down to London and looking for any excuse to not do the work I should be doing, I jumped at the chance.Off popped my email and I thought no more about it. Till yesterday (Tuesday) that is.

“One of my colleagues and fellow Emma-addicts said ‘Oh! Have you seen this!’ and popped up a news page decreeing, ‘Mind the gaffe! Voice of Tube sacked!’

“On reading on, I suddenly thought, ‘That sounds somewhat familiar…’

“Suddenly a horrible feeling enveloped me – a sort of tightening of the scalp, the sort you get when you’ve been caught out lying by your parents when you’re a kid. They were quoting something I’d written ages ago, a sort of sweary, hung-over rant about London.

“I immediately thought, ‘Arses. I’ve cost this friend of mine her job.’ Of course, the next hour was spent sweeping the net for all the news pages Google could belch out after digesting the words ‘Emma+Tube’.

“That feeling of utter panic soon drained away as I realised firstly, you can’t sack a freelancer, and secondly the spoof tube announcements were not really anything to do with it at all – and, thankfully, actually seemed to be getting a more positive reaction than negative on various blogs and bulletin boards.

“It was all down to a newspaper, some might say surprisingly, other, more correct people might say, predictably, misquoting someone.

“Still an awful lot of attention for Emma though, and when I spoke to her briefly late afternoon yesterday (Tuesday), the phone ringing in the background with yet more requests for interviews, she sounded exhausted and over-whelmed at just how quickly events can spiral.

“It’s afforded me this strange perspective on events though.

“I’m safely sat here in anonymity – watching someone else face flak and answer questions over things I’m partially responsible for.

“It’s such a long time ago, I couldn’t really remember what I’d written, what had been chopped, what made the grade etc, that it was startling to suddenly see sentences I’d forgotten being quoted, misquoted, dissected and distributed around the world.

“The spoof themselves have precisely nothing to do with the transport system itself, but everything to do with the shared experiences we all have of being stuck in a cramped space with a bunch of strangers.

“OK, I’ll admit it, the rant about London is a bit bilious, but is just your bog standard North/South divide thingy played out in jest.

“Also, I work in the media and sometimes wear glasses, so that one’s clearly a piece of self-hate there.

“I can only speak for me, but all in all, it’s been a pretty odd experience – particularly strange when even my mum rang me up to ask if I knew anything about this story about the tube and how she’d chuckled at the announcements when I then say “Actually, I wrote some of those…’”


Photo by Dio Hasbi Saniskoro

I’m nominated for three VOX awards!

I’ll warn you, this is a tear-jerker

down under-ground?

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Emma Clarke

Emma is an award-winning voiceover, broadcaster and writer. Want to find out more about Emma?
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