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Top five annoying public announcements

By Time Out London contributor

1. 'The 7.45 is delayed'

Your alarm has wrenched you out of sleep and into consciousness. Now you must sacrifice those precious extra moments in bed to catch your train. So you shuffle into life, whimpering in the knowledge that you won’t be human until your fifth coffee sometime around two o’clock. You’re at the station and this announcement reminds you exactly why you hate humanity. You hear it four more times before finding yourself boarding the rail replacement bus.

2. 'Cashier number one, please'

You’re in a queue and it’s one person deep. There’s a single till open. Directly in front of you a Yoda-like little old dear is being served. She shuffles off, content with her purchases and now it’s your turn. The cashier looks at you and as you walk towards him – holding his gaze – he reaches down and presses the button which invokes the disembodied voice to prevent you from losing your way in this three-step quest. Thanks voice, this time I could see that.

3. 'Any unattended items may be destroyed'

Automated voices are far too interested in our ‘items’. From train stations to supermarket bagging areas, they are constantly warning us to remove them, remember them or continually attend to them. This announcement is so omnipresent that it blends into the background, bypassing consciousness. And so you lose your items because you’re too busy hating the voice at Euston to realise your overnight bag is halfway to Crewe.

4. 'This train will not stop at the next station'

Against all odds, you’re on the exact tube that will get you to work at bang-on 9am, despite the fact that you only woke up 4.2 minutes ago. Your shoes are on the wrong feet, there’s toothpaste in your hair and Christ knows how you buttoned your shirt. But for now the panic has passed. You relax, dazed but content… Then this cataclysmic announcement drops and alternate routes bob through your foggy mind like croutons of woe in a soup of misfortune. You will choose the wrong crouton.

5. Anything ever said through a loudhailer at Oxford Circus

Oxford Circus is hell; a miserable gateway to Beelzebub’s front room. Between the trailing suitcases and signs for golf sales, there are people preaching religious guidance through crackly megaphones whilst you stand in the crowd huddled like emperor penguins. As the earpiercing evangelising intensifies, you begin to feel almost thankful for your descent into the tube stop of Hades. Then the overcrowded station closes and you have to endure 15 more minutes of purgatorial ranting. Clearly God hates you.

By Robert Dixon, who feels the need to publicly announce that he wrote this.

Illustrations: Nathan James Page

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