Listening to an American

Listening to Moyles two days ago at the gym had me searching this morning for something other then music to listen to. I wanted something that was constant over 30 minutes at least so that I could lose myself rather than hearing a track start knowing it was 6 minutes and 43 seconds long. Various podcasts were perused and I was trying to find any Ray Bradbury short stories. I used to own a book of short stories by him (it may even have been this 100 of His Most Celebrated Tales) which I’d like to read again. I ended up though at Cory Doctorow’s site and he had a 5 part podcast of I, Robot. I’ve seen the film and read the Asimov version so this sounded decent – and parts 1 and 2 weighed in at 28 minutes. Perfect.

I’ve heard Americans speak before on films, in the news, I met one of them once and I’ve had a conversation with Jennifer some time ago. But that was conversational talk – and an American reading a book is quite strange. I was brought up on Jackanory with it’s perfect diction and narration. I am – obviously – surrounded by people who speak English in a variety of ways but for the spoken word it has been an English person. Their intonation is broadly mine, their pattern of speech is familiar. Cory’s voice threw me completely. Apart from the small introduction about his hotel room and agenda which was unexpected, I sat there rowing telling myself that he was reading it all wrong. He is an accomplished speaker and an author so he knows the use of language but his emphasis was all wrong. The pattern of his talking was off, even the moments where he took a breath seemed wrong. I’m sure to a fellow american that everything was just right and I’m trying not to say that it was bad, but it was wrong for me. Instead of me concentrating on the words to build a vision I had to concentrate to build the picture after getting the words first – that sounds wrong – I was having to concentrate more on how it was said rather than what was said. That’s wrong too.
Had I not been at the gym set on a 30 minute task I would have stopped it. As it was I completed the 30 minutes the first 28 of which was the story. (The cop’s phone and gun don’t work, bots have been fried and ……. I have to listen next time I’m rowing) but it was hard work. The narration got in the way if that makes sense. But maybe a podcast by an english person would get the same reception over there? It’s cool he did the story though.

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