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Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
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Saturday, 15 September 2012

This time I'm not joking


Took a call yesterday from Nick, my younger, non-blogging brother. Nick isn’t in good health and such calls are rare - as I might add, to my shame, are calls in the other direction.

He apologises for wasting my time as if my time were more valuable than his. I reassure him but it’s no use; that’s his way. He’s phoning to chat (albeit briefly) and I take the portable upstairs and lie on the bed. Soon I’ll get to talk about sailing, something he introduced me to late in life and which affected me enormously. There we are, above, in happier times. He’s in blue.

But it’s not sailing. Conrad (Sir Hugh), our middle brother has been telling him about a book I’ve written: about flying, in France. It sounds interesting, Nick says. His kind of subject. He’d like to read it but admits his eyes are going and this would be difficult. I am, as our mother would say, heart-slufted.

I should add: I never ask my nearest and dearest to read my stuff. But if they ask they can. Conrad asked.

I say I’ll investigate getting someone to read it, create a recording. Nick says that would be nice and rings off. I reflect. I need an acting voice (I’m anti-amateur), it’ll take hours and will cost a bomb. I don’t care. It’s the least I can do. The ideal reader would be an American woman, like the central character. An American voice would catch the resonances. But one which can handle the French words and the poetry.

Mrs RR tells me not to be finicky. But this is the Internet and I’ve access to worldwide resources.

Can you hear me out there? Please respond.

11 comments:

Lucy said...

If you'd settle for a non-American, non-acting voice, in fact one which tends to sound like a petulant five-year-old's staccato, I'd do it. I could at least more or less manage the French. I have my own copy and would be quite happy to read it again anyway. (I liked it, BTW.)

But I know you could do better, and that's not false modesty or wilful self-deprecation.

Hope you find your ideal reader, but I do mean it that you can keep me in reserve.

Roderick Robinson said...

Lucy: That's very generous of you and I will definitely bear you in mind. I have of course spoken to you face to face and I don't recognise that simile. More particularly, I have also heard a quite lengthy recording by you (describing the interior of a church for the Q lot) and that was astonishingly different from your day-to-day voice.

If I make a provisional decision (and one has to recognise this is an acutely subjective matter) I would ask you to record half a chapter - not the first - so that I can make a final judgement.

Since you are not a professional (who, I suppose, would be capable of simulating enthusiasm) liking the book is important. I'm pleased that you do, obviously.

Finally I should say there will be a fee. In an earlier transaction you seemed happily surprised by my offer. On that basis I trust you'll be astounded when I reveal the figure I have in mind for this job.

The Crow said...

May I audition to be a reader? I might not have the voice you are looking for, but I'd enjoy trying.

Oh, I'd probably gum up the pronunciation of the French, though.

Still...

And, finally - a photo of the man, handsome devil!

Roderick Robinson said...

The Crow: On checking I realised there was more French than I first recalled. Many of the proper names (of people, of locations) are French and they are repeated. However if I am unable to find a pro and Lucy gets the nod there is a perfect solution: you could audition for the Interlude chapter in the centre of the book: Jana's affair with Roy the vet, all of which is set in Arizona. So long as you aren't put off by bull's jizzum.

Handsome? That was then, a decade ago. Now tells a different story.

Rouchswalwe said...

Your brother will be thrilled! Super idea, RR! I wish I were qualified to participate in some small way, however my French is truly terrible and my only experience in the recording studio has been to read test questions on national high school English examinations in Japan. I'm crossing my fingers for your success with this hearty project!

The Crow said...

Bull's jizzum...you've seen one creature's semen, you've seen it all. The only difference is quantity.

If it works out, I'd be honored to help in any way possible.

Plutarch said...

II doesn't have to be an American voice. A woman would be ideal. Not an actor. But someone with a good clear voice. Hard to find but not impossible and you already have two excellent candidates. I will watch and listen with interest.

Roderick Robinson said...

RW (zS): I've often wondered about your accent. Is there a tinge of German still left? Is there any Japanese?

Crow: How about a difference in the end-product? Giving birth to something with horns might lower your status in the neighbourhood.

Plutarch: I will be answering some of the points you raise in a post this week.

Rouchswalwe said...

I was never able to speak English with a Japanese accent, even though I tried just for fun. My natural accent has become 'American' over the years (my childhood English teacher was British) tinged with a slight drawl (no doubt from my time in Mississippi). When I'm in professional situations, I tighten the drawl so that on occasion, somebody will ask me where I'm from. In any case, I don't sound like I'm a native of these parts, rather my accent falls within the Midland dialect.

Rouchswalwe said...

Oh, sorry ... you'd asked if there is any trace of German left ... there can be if I choose to do so. It iss a wery simple madder to schlip into a German accent vhen I vant to make my friends laff.

Roderick Robinson said...

RW (zS): Second comment terrific. It proves all sort of entertaining points. In fact it makes me wonder whether you have much higher standards of pronunciation than I have and whether this self-denigration about French is worth taking any notice of.