A few months ago the MBTA here in Massachusetts unveiled its “pay your fare, it’s only fair” announcement, an attempt to guilt-trip those who jumped on the trains for free and get them to start paying their way. It wasn’t long before the pre-recorded rhyme line became an annoyance to passengers who not only had paid the fare, but were forced to hear it over loudspeakers after every stop. It was quickly suspended.
Perhaps the recording would have gone over better amongst natives if it were voiced by Jarvis Cocker. The Pulp frontman has re-voiced a series of tram announcements for his hometown of Sheffield, as part of BBC Music Day.
Cocker does a masterful job casually alerting the stations ahead, and with the sexy confidence pulled right from the lyrics of “I Spy”, he gives us all good reason to grip the closest pole (“Hold tight, please”). Commuter tensions, no doubt, should be eased across Sheffield’s public transit system.
Obviously, we need this here in Boston. We need to hear Cocker say “Government Center”, lure us to Cleveland Circle, and maybe, just maybe, hear how much Oak Grove turns him on.
Next stop, Bar Italia.