She Didn't Mind The Gap

Imagine you have a microphone and a captive audience of cattle on auto-pilot, but the only thing you ever get to say is "Mind the gap" and "This station is..." Wouldn't it be great if you could say whatever you wanted? Well, that's just what voiceover artist Emma Clarke, the voice of London Underground, has done. Bursting free of her corporate straight-jacket, she has recorded some spoof announcements. In one message, she says: “Would the passenger in the pinstripe suit and £1000 glasses who obviously works in the media please take one step forward on to the track as the train arrives. Thank you.” Pretty good advice if you ask me. In another, she says, “Residents of London are reminded that there are other places in Britain outside your stinking shithole of a city and, if you removed your heads from your arses for just a couple of minutes, you may realise that the M25 is not the edge of the Earth.” Factually accurate, surely? You can hear them all on her site.
Unfortunately the joyless suits at Transport for London, the local authority which controls London Underground, don't see the funny side. A spokesman said, "Some of the spoof announcements are very funny. But Emma is a bit silly to go around slagging off her client's services. London Underground is sorry to have to announce that further contracts for Miss Clarke are experiencing severe delays." In other words, 'you're sacked, love'. See more on the story at the London Underground Tube Blog and on video at the BBC.

Black & White In Colour

Is the white working class second class citizens in their own country? Is 'Victim Of Racism' a trendy label looked upon as a designer exclusive by some ethnic minorities? Perhaps, perhaps not... BBC Two will screen a series of programmes in the New Year on the subject of race - but there's a twist. The season, dubbed White Season, is all about the feeling of some white working class people of being "under siege and as if their very sense of self is being brought into question." Roly Keating, controller of BBC Two, said: "It's BBC Two's role to reflect contemporary society and this is a timely moment for us to examine the roots of this debate. The White season is a complex look at how life has changed for the white working class in Britain. It will enable the audience to consider the views and circumstances of people who have a strong point of view and join in the debate, both online with the BBC and in their own homes and communities." Drama White Girl is about an eleven year old white girl's sense of isolation in a largely Muslim community. All White in Barking looks at prejudice in volatile East London. The Poles Are Coming is a "subversive look at the reality of immigration in Middle England". Rivers Of Blood examines the impact, forty years on, of Enoch Powell's infamous "rivers of blood" speech (about the dangers of uncontrolled immigration). Is the white working class second class citizens in their own country? Is 'Victim Of Racism' a trendy label looked upon as a designer exclusive by some ethnic minorities? Perhaps, perhaps not... It should be interesting to hear a different point of view in the never-ending race debate, and one that, perhaps, is often silenced in fear of political correctness...


Here's a picture of the new Tube map, due to be introduced later this month, and seen here thanks to it being leaked by someone at TfL who Mayor Ken has probably now had shackled in the Tower of London for a week as punishment.

If you ask me, it's all got a bit complicated, what with the addition of the London Overground line, the imminently closing East London line and the new Heathrow T5 station sticking out of the lefthand corner, making the Heathrow loop look like a flacid penis. Or is that just me?

Meanwhile, the Hammersmith & City line gains a new station, Wood Lane, which isn't the Wood Lane station which closed in 1947 but a brand new one for the Big Shopping Centre which Shepherd's Bush needs like a hole in the head (at least it'll give the Australians something to do other than drink beer and roll around in their own vomit in the gutter).

Hotel Babylon

Phwoaar!! A hotel for the gays - those hot-blooded Latins have the right idea, what. Yes indeed, Guardian Unlimited has reported the opening, on 31st October, of the Axel Hotel in Buenos Aires (for the benefit of American readers, that's not a suburb in LA, it's Argentina's capital).

"The receptionists are slender young men in sleek suits, the brochure features chiselled male torsos, the rooms are soundproofed and stocked with condoms and every now and then Judy Garland croons in the bar..." says Rory Carroll in his article. Sounds good to me.

The hotel, which has only cost them £3.5m, is for men only - and it isn't just gay-friendly (a term I loathe more than my bitch graduate boss), but is gay. Gay gay gay, I say. Not a child or fish-wife in sight. In fact, the website describes the hotel as being heterofriendly "...or, in other words, a space conceived, developed and designed for and by the gay public, but open to everyone." Well, I suppose it doesn't hurt to have one or two breeders loitering about.

Darryl Stephens

Here's a gratuitous snap of favourite eye candy Darryl Stephens for you lot. He's only after being photographed by François Rousseau for Out, so he is. Strapping lad, isn't he? Stephens, of the sadly-departed Noah's Arc, is one of Out's 100 Men And Women Who Made 2007 A Year To Remember. They say: "(He is) consistently funnier, hotter and tougher than any of (his) straight counterparts. Coincidence? We think not." The article goes on to say: " a year of revolving closet doors for TV actors, we can also offer one long-anticipated quiet confirmation: Darryl Stephens, who has declined to discuss his sexuality while playing a series of nuanced gay roles. He doesn't exactly talk about it, but he proudly joins the other queer honorees in our pages." Declined to discuss his sexuality, huh? The cheek of it! Who does he think he is, this actor person? Anyone would think his sexuality was his own personal business!
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