Wednesday, March 29, 2006

be.sketches: train announcements

There seems to be no standardisation or training given to conductors regarding in-train announcements. They range from terse "We're going to Charleroi" to incredibly long-winded monologues, from barely comprehensiblely mumbled to carefully articulated and from deadly serious to the taking on of silly voices.

Yesterday, yet another novel spin was put on it (the announcement is now, for me, as much of a standard to be given a personal interpretation as any Tin Pan Alley tune): the conductor sounded like before working on trains, he had been a pilot for Sabena. Incredibly smooth and articulate in both French and Dutch, with that this-is-your-captain-speaking warm evenness of tone that conveys a kind of parternalistic sense of responsibility for the passengers. The conductor even went so far as to "wish [us] a pleasant journey and a good evening." I was half-expecting him to give us the local time and weather in Charleroi.