Monday, March 12, 2012

Goodbye Phillip Madoc, hello William Boyd

Catching up on emails I finally opened the Radio 4 Extra newsletter. My intial joy at reading that they were broadcasting again the Bert Coules adapted Cadfael stories of Ellis Peters was tempered by the news that this was to honour Phillip Madoc, the voice of Cadfael in this series, who had died.

If you haven’t heard these then you really should listen here. Philip Madoc is sensational his rich, deep tones adding immensely to the wonderful Coules script. I often wondered why they had not used this team to greater effect by simply making more productions. Sadly of course it cant be now but we do at least have these examples to remind us of just how good radio drama can be.

Voice is so important and it was fascinating to listen to William Boyd at the Aye Write festival in Glasgow speaking about the choice of narrators for his works when rendered in to audiobooks, praising Rosamund Pike and Timothy West in particular. He made a a telling and accurate observation, a good actor is not necessarily a good reader, and that reading for audiobooks is a very particular skill. How true.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

In praise of RTE, Marian Finucane and the art of conversation

Okay I am the most inconsistent blogger - I know. Almost a year since the last post. But TESCAPE has been rather dormant for that period. That said things are about to change so watch this space. So in the spirit of publishing more regularly I offer this.

Spokenword is something we love and whilst listening to a single voice can be wonderful soothing, informative and entertaining so too can conversation. If we come across sources of good spoken word then we like to share it an this is no exception.

A few years ago I spent time with one of TESCAPE authors riding across Ireland. Well he was riding his bike I was driving the support car and as I spent a jolly weekend surveying the glorious Irish countryside from Dublin to Galway, mending the odd puncture, filling water bottles and that kind of thing I also was introduced to RTE Radio 1 and some of the magnificent spokenword they produce. In particular I became aware of a star of Irish broadcasting the very fabulous Marian Finucane. Like many broadcasters RTE produces podcasts of their shows and Marian’s shows are no exception. On the weekend she does an interview show on the Saturday and a review magazine type show on the Sunday. The interviews are always interesting and Marian has that rare ability to be disarmingly polite but still skewer evasive interviewees. The Sunday review is a joy to listen to as current affairs and life are discussed with an eclectic and articulate group who both sound fabulous whilst managing to take contrary positions without having to shout or argue. They discuss. I just love feeling like I am part of the round table chat. Wonderful - listen to it.

I have just re engaged with it as I stocked a new MP3 player - a ZEN by the way - and thought I should share it with you.

For all my praise though I will say this - RTE you are hopeless at tagging your MP3’s really, really, really bad! Please add the necessary detail - show, artist etc etc etc. It really isn't that hard.