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October 2, 2011


“Mind the Gap” – An Update

by soundlandscapes

IN JANUARY THIS YEAR I produced a blog piece entitled, “Mind the Gap”, a piece in which I gave an account of how the French Metro announcers communicate the warning, “Mind the Gap”, to an unsuspecting travelling public.

Here’s how the French do it:

Since then, I’ve made several trips on the London Underground and they too of course have their “Mind the Gap” announcements. Having recorded these announcements in both English and French I thought you might like to hear a direct comparison.

“Mind the Gap” in English and in French:

It occurred to me that to have a collection of “Mind the Gap” announcements from different countries in different accents and different languages might make for an interesting sound art piece.

Do you have a “Mind the Gap” recording from your country and in your language that you would like to share? If so, just send me a comment and I’ll get in touch.

9 Comments Post a comment
  1. Oct 2 2011

    That sounds like a great idea Des, you could construct a really interesting soundscape with it. I remember enjoying the original post. I’d love to contribute to your idea but there aren’t any trains in this part of Australia.

  2. Oct 2 2011

    Thanks Jay. I would really like to get some other “Mind the Gap” sounds. The idea of different accents and different languages is really fascinating. Let’s hope we get some responses.

  3. Oct 23 2011

    Hello Des, I have a London ‘Mind the Gap’ announcement with a male voice, which is used as standard for platform announcements. In-train recorded voices seem to vary, perhaps by line, or else by the date at which the train was fitted with the recordings.

    Here’s a soundmap of part of the Tokyo subway system, but without a ‘Mind the Gap’ – perhaps there aren’t any gaps!


    • Oct 23 2011

      Thanks Ian, good to hear from you. Emma Clarke is the new voice of the London Underground. She is an actress and voice-over artist of some repute. Her voice is gradually being introduced I understand for all London Underground announcements. I guess it will take time for her voice to appear on all the lines. It’s her voice that appears in my “Mind the Gap” recording. I have yet to discover who is the voice of the Paris Metro but my search continues!

      • Meteor
        Dec 23 2011

        Actually, several voices can be heard on the Paris metro, both female and male. The idea behind is to give a sound identity for each line. The same way each line was given a colour for all the signage and maps system. The voices are mainly from RATP staff members who were chosen after a casting.

      • Dec 23 2011

        Thank you very much for this comment. This is timely, because I have recently heard the some of the “new” voices and I was intrigued. I also notice that on the new automatic trains on LIne 1 several languages are included as well.

    • Net
      Jan 1 2013

      There ARE gaps on the Tokyo subway. In November 2012 I saw a boy (maybe 4 years old) depart a train with his father, and the boy fell down through the gap. His body fell all the way down to the bottom where the rails are. When his father and another man frantically reached down to pull him up by his arms, he got stuck on the way up due to the backpack on his back. Fortunately before the train could leave the station someone on the train hit the emergency button on the train and the doors remained open and the train didn’t move. Just as I was going to reach down to free the backpack, the boy became unstuck and was pulled up to the platform. Very scary!! I don’t know of any “mind the gap” warnings in Tokyo, however, I noticed that there are very few gaps and those that exist are very small. I am American and can’t understand Japanese so maybe there are warnings and I just didn’t notice.

      • Jan 1 2013

        Thanks very much the comment and your interesting if slightly scary story of the little boy. Thank goodness it didn’t end in tragedy. I don’t think any of the gaps on the Paris Métro are big enough for that to happen but there are one or two places where you could lose a foot in the gap.

        I too have travelled on the Tokyo Metro. I was completely overwhelmed by how many people they manage to squeeze into each carriage, so overwhelmed in fact that the ‘gap’ was the furthest thing from my mind!

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