Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Public Announcements From A Foreign Country

The reason why this blog has been especially quiet for the last few days is that I have been in the UK for a short visit. One strange thing that seems to happen after a few years outside of the country where you were born is that you start to feel more of a foreigner when you return there. What follows is a short collection of announcements made while I was travelling that gave me the sensation that things are no longer the same in the country I left almost 10 years ago:

The "please don't sue us" public safety announcement (sponsored by McDonalds?) - I had time to spare on arrival at Gatwick, so I bought a coffee. The man serving handed it to me with the words "Your coffee is hot sir". I walked down to the train platform suddenly aware for the first time that I was carrying a potentially dangerous weapon.

The "you should know we are always watching you" safety culture announcement (heard at Kings Cross station) - "Will the person playing football on platform 8 please stop, you are creating a safety hazard".

The latest excuse for why your train will not arrive (on the London Underground) - "The service on the Victoria Line has been interrupted due to a passenger action". Hopefully the person involved will be charged with attempting to use public transport with the intention of going somewhere.

Sadly, I also missed the lecture advertised by the Cambridge Basque Society on "Basque whaling off the coast of Iceland before the slaying of Spaniards". So I'm unable to confirm whether it was about tomorrow night's European Championship qualifier between Spain and Iceland, although I like to think it was. I'll get back to moaning about the PP in the next day or two.


spanishben said...

I really agree with the "you should know we are always watching you" bit - arriving at Gatwick is like walking into the Uk out of Orwell's Big Brother! Cameras everywhere, and announcements telling you how many undercover people are patrolling the place... almost scary!

Graeme said...

About the only thing you don't get warned about is the contents of Easyjet sandwiches - fortunately I took your advice on that one.

The Pillion Passenger said...

this is a passenger safety announcement: do not leave your baggage unattended. it will be removed or destroyed.

when you hear that, and you're gliding up and down those cold grey elevators under harsh ugly yellow lighting - you do feel like you're in the pages of 1984.


your coffee is hot, sir?

i should bloody well hope so!