I am holed up in a tiny B&B about 7 miles outside Leicester in the village of Mountsorrel for four days. What can an international jet-setting man of my stature being doing in the Midlands you might ask? Well, I am reading a book – my book, “The Self Illusion” for an audio version. I was so unimpressed with the audio version of my last book, “SuperSense” that when the invitation to record the audio version of my new book was made, I jumped at the opportunity to give it my personal delivery. They said it would take four days and I reasoned that I would be done in two. I mean, how difficult is it to read a book? Especially one that you wrote yourself? Well, I have had a large helping of humble pie. Doing audio books is a really tough gig and I am lucky if I finish in the four days. We never appreciate how much we miss and slur our words when we read and the audiobook engineers pick you every lost syllable.
The studio in Syston where I am recording my book has an excellent set-up and I was totally surprised to discover that a fellow reader was none other than Pat Gallimore. When we were introduced, I knew she sounded re-assuringly comforting and very familiar. She explained that I might recognize her professional persona of Pat Archer. Gasp.. For those of you unfamiliar with “The Archers,” it is and has been the leading Radio Four soup opera for the past 60 years and Pat Archer is one of the main characters. The show has one of the strongest, most loyal fan bases in the world.
So Pat and I have been hanging out and discussing the difficulties of voice artists. I now have a new found appreciation of what they do and more importantly, the difficulty of understanding the written word. For example, I have a problem with the word, “similarly” and vow to avoid this in future books of mine. I dare say this will be the last time I do an audio reading of my book but it has been a valuable learning experience. But I have come to loath the sound of my own voice.