Thursday, 13 May 2010

The curse of auditory pollution

Having decided to ditch the car in favour of walking, cycling and taking the train I have become fitter, firmer and frustrated.

The first two F’s require no explanation. The third F began as wry amusement which has rapidly become screaming exasperation ……public announcements on trains.

Now, please don’t misunderstand me, I believe it’s vitally important to receive confirmation of platform departures and the fact that I’m on the right train, however, the apparently arbitrary nature of further announcements appears to be inexorable.

For those unfamiliar with the intricacies of rail travel please let me explain.

It begins with the train manager announcing the type of tickets NOT valid for travel, of which there are zillions. Next are the safety announcements, to which no-one appears to be listening.

Announcements for where to safely store luggage swiftly follow – on the big space clearly labelled LUGGAGE would be my guess. Then comes another announcement from the train manager about where the quiet carriages are, with further prattling about what this means (dumbing down or what?)

Then we get the on-board catering announcement, lamely attempting to seduce us to indulge in their plastic tasting bacon rolls, molten hot beverages or poor quality wines. Even more hilarious is the catering manager’s announcement that there is no catering! Intermingled throughout these ubiquitous interruptions is the unrelenting and generic recording of where the train is about to stop, and what future stops are planned…….cross country trains make up to 20 stops …..imagine how monotonous this becomes.

Sometimes the announcements are made by individuals with a severe case of verbal diarrhoea, who, compelled to come ‘off script’ add their own witticisms (rarely are they) about the service, who they are, where they come from, what they had for breakfast, in fact just about any random fact you can imagine. All the while I just want to scream “For the love of God just be quiet”.

OK rant over…… I the only person climbing the carriage windows in frustration? Compelled to start a campaign to eliminate auditory pollution ……who will join me???