Arts & Entertainment
Off the Platform, On to YouTube
Station Platform Announcer, whose A.A. Milne poems are a much-cherished and uplifting part of the daily commute from Wokingham, is taking his voice online.
As the silence that comes with self-isolation settles over the country, residents of Wokingham are desperately missing a voice that has been key in getting them amped for a day at work: the voice of Tony Knight (65 and 3/4), Wokingham Station Platform Announcer. Every morning, Tony can be counted on to keep commuters aware of any issues with their journey and cushion any delay blows with one of the many Christopher Robin poems he enjoyed as a child.
The idea to turn the standard “Please stand behind the yellow line” daily announcement to something more was sparked in February 2017, three years into his role as Platform Announcer, when something in the phrase he had said countless times reminded him of a poem he’d loved as a child. The poem in question was “Lines and Squares” by A. A. Milne. Driven to share this memory, Tony went home, dug out his two Winnie the Pooh books he’d had since childhood, brought them with him to work the next day and regaled his captive audience. The commuters simply loved it. He quickly realised how words can impact community and has been delighting Wokingham commuters ever since.
With many now forced to spend time indoors as we face the unpredictability of the next few weeks or months, Wokingham resident and Flamingo Punk co-founder, Amanda Baker, offered to work with Tony to take his voice online – an offer that was enthusiastically accepted. By doing this, Amanda hopes to bring some sense of normality to very uncertain times. But it also allows Tony – who believes that “Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh are wonderful, and that the poems should be heard by more people, not just Wokingham” – to reach and delight a wider audience with something he is very passionate about.
The beauty of Christopher Robin poems is that they are a delight not just to adults, nostalgic for childhood but also the children no longer in school and having to deal with a sudden change they might still not fully understand. With poetry being an excellent tool in helping people focus, develop or learn new skills, Tony’s morning poetry recitals are just what people working from home and children being homeschool need to start the day.
And so, from Monday 6th April 2020, a new recital from Tony will go live, daily, at 9:00am, on YouTube. Listeners, can log on to the FlamingoPunk channel, every weekday at 9am and spend a few minutes listening to Tony bring Christopher Robin’s poems to life.
With negative experiences able to impact our productivity for as long as 3 years after the fact, now; in a time when there is so much uncertainty, anxiety and fear, is the best time to grab onto little moments of joy, keep spirits high so that we can keep going.