Thursday, May 10, 2012

My all-time favorite alarm clock

is the Good Morning, Sir alarm clock from Voco. Though you can still find it for sale in multiple sites online, Voco's Web site was unavailable when I checked it just now, so if it interests you, act now, before it's gone.

The clock resembles a part of an old building. Its feature set is minimal: you can set the time, set the alarm, turn it on and off, change the brightness and volume, and press a button to stop the alarm.  No snooze, no fancy controls, no music playing. It runs on batteries, so, yes, it might well fail one day when you need it most.

What makes it my favorite alarm ever is, of course, the way it wakes you. First, birdsong plays gently. Then, a man clears his throat. That man is Stephen Fry, the brilliant British actor and comedian whose work you almost certainly already know.  (If you do not, go straight to any DVD set of Jeeves & Wooster to see his amazing performances as Wodehouse's Jeeves.) Fry then delivers a wonderful line or two.  For example, I've awakened to

The world has been very anxious to hear from you for the last eight hours. Shall I inform the news agencies you're about to rise, Sir?
Oh, dear.  Come, come. Let us not be defeated, Sir. Let us seize the day and take it roughly from behind, as the Colonel used to say in his unfortunate way.
After Fry speaks, a very annoying alarm sound repeats until you get up and push a button on the clock's front.  (I consider this a feature, not a bug, because I do not ever want to use a snooze button.)  Once you do, Fry signs off with a lovely comment, such as
Sir has a firm touch, but very fair.
I cannot help but feel cheered by Fry's greeting.  Yes, I know the whole thing comes dangerously close to being a silly British stereotype, but it's so damn funny and cheerful that I don't care at all.

If indeed Voco is in trouble, get your own Stephen Fry alarm clock while you still can.

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