This Time The Role Of Author Is Played By Me



When I wrote my memoir ‘Paperboy’ I wasn’t asked to read the book for the audiobook edition. Instead, a charming actor was employed to be me. One day he rang me at home to get an idea of my voice, but although he had a very nice Received Pronunciation tone he didn’t sound at all like me. Consequently, I have never played back the audiobook, because I don’t really want to hear someone else claiming to have grown up with my parents. It was a bit ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’.

So I was very pleased when Quercus heard me give a speech and asked if I would read the audiobook of ‘The Book of Forgotten Authors’ myself. I said I’d be very happy to give it a shot. I’d spent a lot of time in film and sound studios as a younger man and always enjoyed the process. I also knew that when actors became tongue-tied in long passages, they sometimes struggled to regain the speech patterns required to finish a script, so at first it was a little nerve-racking.

Studios don’t really change much. Scripts are delivered on tablets now instead of bits of paper, but the old problems still persist; chairs squeak, mics pop, tummies rumble, lines are fluffed. Tonight we finished the book and I have to say that I loved being back in an ‘office’, ie. going out somewhere to keep regular work hours and having an hour for lunch. It’s a discipline I miss at home. It really helped that I had a great sound editor, Abigail, who had an instinctive understanding of sound design. An actor, musician and V.O. artist, when she wasn’t polishing audio she was doing handstands to keep limber. I hope she achieves all her dreams.

It was inevitable that I would feel like the older bloke in a studio complex staffed by Millennials. They’re clearly hardworking and good at their jobs, but most seem to be on freelance contracts as opposed to having the protection of full-time employment. I guess that this is now the case for many – only those in public service have guaranteed benefits like decent life pensions. But it was an honour and a real pleasure to be working with them.

It was also enormous fun. Three days in studio, close to four hundred pages of text, and optimistic charming co-workers. You couldn’t’t ask for much more than that!

18 comments on “This Time The Role Of Author Is Played By Me”

  1. Jan says:

    Good Lord you look like 1973.

  2. admin says:

    It’s a look Jan. You know I change it all the time!

  3. Jan says:

    Well before the facial fungus meets the razor remember the search for a really scary picture cover for this book of short horror stories need go no further.

  4. Jan says:

    In fact I wouldn’t rule out a Kindle.Version this particular volume could prove too hot to handle.
    There’s scary and there’s REALLY REALLY SCARY.

  5. admin says:

    I just shaved it off Jan – happier now?

  6. Jan says:

    Well it was just a look -the sort of look to put you right off your breakfast

  7. Brian says:

    No soup for you Jan.

  8. Jan says:

    Well it was a look -the sort of look to put you right off your breakfast

    The spectre of 1973 ( as I will always remember this little frightener ). Puts me in mind of that PG Woodhouse story where Bertie Wooster on a long visit to the US grows a moustache. Can’t remember if Bertie has his portrait painted or it’s a photo of him but Jeeves sells the portrait picture to an advertising agency. Berties portrait is used to sell soup appearing on billboards around the city. (Soup strainer moustache I suppose )
    Mr. Wooster is embarrassed out of New York and forced to return to the UK Jeeves intention all along.
    Well this is like a frightening updated 21C twist on that theme.
    There are no new stories!

  9. Chris Webb says:

    “This is Clem Fandango, can you hear me?”

    “I can hear you Clem Fandango.”

  10. brooke says:

    I listened to Mr. Fowler on YouTube video and wondered why he didn’t do more recording of his work. So this is good news.
    Why is Jan being so mean?

  11. Chris Webb says:

    You ought to dye it purple. If it’s good enough for the Big Yin . . .

  12. Jan says:

    Mean, mean? If I were being mean I would mention that strange expression on the Fowler features like that of a constipated moomin!

  13. Helen Martin says:

    Oh, Jan, just trying to keep him humble? He does that fine on his own. We don’t want to take him too far, it could destroy the creative element.

  14. Jan says:

    No it’s not that H it’s not that at all. This is wot Brits do. You take the Mick out out of your mates. I like Mr F. And thats wot in the this country proper mates do to each other. Rip the ®®®® out of each other.

    I think it might be a uniquely British thing Brooke thought I was being horrible to him Noooo. Don’t misunderstand us this is part of who we are.

  15. Jo W says:

    Glad the face fungus has gone,Chris. I don’t like seeing men with beards or moustaches, anymore than I care for the same on women. 😉
    Btw,that looks like a soft brushed cotton lumberjack shirt you’re wearing. Was it cold in the studio or is it another indication of time’s winged chariot catching up with you. It will be thermal undies next.

  16. Jan says:

    I suppose I’ll have to sort my post menopause moustache out now I’ve given Me F some stick. I really think I quite suit the look – it’s the accompanying goatee I am a bit dubious about.

  17. Crprod says:

    This summer marks thirty nine years of beard. My face thanks me every day.

  18. Andrew says:


    I think you have too much time on your hands!!

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