Monthly Archives: November 2007

Welcome to summer!

Photo: Summer means drag racing at the Western Sydney International Dragway

Saturday marks the proper start of summer here in Australia. School kids only have 2-3 weeks before going on their Christmas/New Year holidays and it is under a month to go until Christmas. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that some people have started going to Christmas parties already. The next 3 weeks will be chaotic in the lead up to Christmas. As I spoke about in Erk Pod 58, shopping hours will increase and for a few centres, there may be the 36 hour shopping marathon.

The weather has been strange here in Sydney. You’ll see a couple of days of rain, a couple days of heat, a couple of middle of the road days. There have been a couple of really hot days but obviously more is to come. Daylight saving is pretty cool so there is an extra hour’s daylight at the end of the day

And while I’m here, I thought I’d give the site a bit of a colour change. I hope you like it!

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Filed under Announcements, Erk Pod Maxi & Round Table, General

Emma Clarke update

Earlier on in the week I posted about Emma Clarke (the voice of the London Underground) getting punted (at least partly) because of her spoof underground announcements. I speak more about this on Erk Pod episode 59 that is currently being uploaded.

The story has grown and has gone global. The website went into meltdown going from a normal day of around 3000 visitors a day to 330 000 per day before it was shut down. It is now Thursday morning (Sydney time) and the website is now back up and running complete with information from the woman herself about the events of the last few days. It seems as though my prediction was right when I said earlier in the week that it could work out well for Emma in the end with more work offerings heading her way.

As usually is the case, there is a Facebook group that has been set up and also there is a You Tube video as well that someone posted (see below) about the issue as well. Somehow though, I don’t think that this guy will be getting a TV gig like Chris Crocker. He made a pro-Britney Spears You Tube video where he says “leave Britney alone!”

Let’s hope that LU see sense. They need to talk to Emma and sort it out (one way or the other!) and then they need to get back to work and the bigger issues like…… I don’t know ……… running trains ……… or something!

It’s also a handy reminder not to believe everything you read in the media!

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Filed under General, News

Erk Pod 59 – Show Notes




Erk Pod episode 59 – 64 minutes
Photo: I swear that I did not alter this station sign!

The train on platform 1 stops at all stations to London

Welcome to Erk Pod 59. On this episode:

  • No music on this episode because Erk went over his interweb download limit for the limit. Ooops!
  • Play Erk Pod bingo!
  • Erk Sport – preview of the final round of the V8 Supercar Championship here in Australia and the World Rally Championship in Wales.
  • Erkpodding Across the Podosphere – Reality Cast played an Erk ad in their Australian Idol Finale edition.
  • Ipodding Across the Universe – Erk has heaps of podcasts to listen to over summer & Christmas. “G’day World” is reviewed.
  • Things You Overhear on Trains
  • The voice of London Underground punted. Erk auditions for the role and explains how it is done.
  • Music will return in Erk Pod 60.
  • How did you go with Erk Pod Bingo?

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Filed under Erk Pod Maxi & Round Table, Show Notes

Erk Pod 58 – Show Notes



Erk Pod episode 58 – 38 minutes
Photo: One of several entrances to Westiefield at Penrith.

Another Road Cast. Go Ambos! Motorway Madness. Federal Election Review

Welcome to Erk Pod 58. It is another road-cast edition of Erk Pod recorded live in his Subaru Forester on his way to work as “Mr Shed” (insert Leigh singing the Mr Shed song *here*)

In this episode:

  • Erk sees a Ambulance driver doing a good job at getting through the traffic.
  • Erk talks about road safety and a recent study that says that the M4 Motorway (Western Motorway) in Sydney is Sydney’s worst stretch of road in terms of accidents. Erk wonders if this is the case.
  • Erk talks Christmas Shopping including 36 hour shopping marathons at selected Westiefields.
  • Erk sums up the Federal Election that was held here in Australia on Saturday and talks about the TV coverage despite the fact that he slept throughout the whole coverage.
  • Are you playing “Erk Pod Bingo”? More info in Erk Pod episode 59 coming soon.

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The voice of London Underground crosses the line?

Photo – Please stand behind the yellow line. Yellow line? What yellow line?

As some of you may be aware, I have a soft spot for the London Underground system despite having never been on it.

Over the last couple of days, I have been reading some blogs and other websites based on life on the Tube and comparing it to things here in Sydney.

One such blog is the London Underground Tube blog. I was reading the website on Monday and I was reading about Emma Clarke who is the voice of London Underground. Apart from doing announcements for LU, Emma does other voice-over work as you can see and hear on her website. She also has a few short podcast episodes.

Anyhoo, apart from the usual serious stuff on the website including show reels and other examples of her work, Emma also has a fun page on her site where you can hear various other pieces of audio that are not serious. Indeed, she has called them “spoof announcements” delivered in the style of her LU announcements.

Then at work this evening (Monday), I read the free newspaper Mx (the afternoon freebie version of the Terrorgraph) that mentions Emma and these announcements. After I get home, I read on the LU blog that I mentioned above and it says that LU aren’t happy with Emma and her spoof announcements and according to Metro, she has been sacked. In other words, Emma has been canceled or in Australian TV parlance, boned. The ironic thing in all of this is that the Transport for London spokesman who is speaking in relation to the spoof announcements admitted that some of them are funny. But in circumstances like this, there is always a big BUT and the big “but” here is that LU doesn’t like their “voice” being critical of them.

However, will this derailment lead to more work for the voice-over artist? I am presuming that many people will view her website to download the announcements and there must be some people who want to hire her. I can’t imagine that recording LU announcements would take up much time in terms of total work but it would be a big contract nonetheless.

This situation actually reminds me of what happened with the then voice of CityRail here in Sydney, Grant Goldman. Apart from being a previous voice of CityRail’s recorded announcements, you will recognise Grant’s voice from TV, radio and being the ground announcement at Stadium Australia and Brookvale Oval among others. After being the voice of CityRail for many years, Grant quit after getting fed up with being associated with the transport operator. This was especially when CityRail started to get negative press and to many people, Grant Goldman WAS CityRail.

This may not have been helped with the spoof announcement that unknown person/s created after copying and pasting various Goldman words and phrases. Spoof announcements such as “the next train does not stop at this platform. Customers may join this train by running down the platform. Doors may not be open” or “Owing to a defective driver, trains are running late and out of timetabled order. CityRail apologizes……” blah blah blah. Announcements such as this even made it to national radio programs and Goldman was not happy.

So maybe while LU might not be happy with Emma Clarke, she might have actually got onto the front foot by recording her own spoof announcements, putting them on her website and having some control of them before someone else does it for her. And if it leads to extra work on a regular basis, could it be a master stroke?

UPDATE: Emma’s website has had so many hits since the story has been reported in the mainstream media that it can not keep up with demand. She suggests on the site to check back in a day or two.

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Filed under General, News

Station Signs

I like railway station signs. So here are some random examples that I have photographed which gives you an idea of the range of station signs around on the CityRail system here in Sydney.

Above – Blue & white sign at Campbelltown. This is the newest style of station sign. In the background there is an Endeavour train used in regional areas.

Above – Granville station sign. One advantage of the new style of sign is the amount of information that can be placed on it including interchange, way finding and Easy Access information. There is no colour coding, though.

Above – Original style station sign and bench at St James on the City Circle.

Below – Station signs at Museum on the City Circle. For some reason, St James has been colour coded green and Museum has been colour coded brown. Despite being upgraded, both of these stations retain the old style feel.

Above – Colour coded station sign at Minto (or as it is pronounced by locals “Minno”). This type of sign is being replaced. The line under the station name shows the line colour on system maps but the maps and the line colours have been changed.

Below – mixture of colour coded and old style station signs at Leightonfield station.

Above – old style sign at Riverstone in western Sydney.

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Filed under Photo Stories, Work

Things that are (at least) mildly annoying me

Here are some things that are at the very least mildly annoying me at the moment.

* Having to wait for ages in the drive-thru at KFC. The car ahead of me (see pic) was at the speaker for at least 5 minutes! This is not to mention the cars that were ahead of this car.

* People who write my driver diagram and who seemingly don’t know that it is pointless to spend 40 minutes in a helicopter to drive a train for 20 minutes. Basically, they have given me 38 minutes to get from Point A to Point B for a 20 minute trip without giving me a train to ride or drive on. Then on the way back, they have given me one hour to have something to eat and get back from Point B to Point A. Again, there is no train for me to ride or drive back.

* Super duper early mornings

* Adjusting from super duper early mornings to super duper late afternoons

Apart from that, everything’s going not too badly. I may record Erk Pod episode 58 tonight after work.

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