Audiobooks and other news

6th November 2022 |

Yesterday I recorded the final chapter of Don’t Boil The Canary. It’s a huge relief. I had no idea, when I started doing this nine months ago, just how demanding it is. For one thing my voice has been constantly on the brink of collapse, and a frog has taken up permanent residence in my throat.

When the idea of recording Jupiter’s Travels first came up I was hoping to persuade Ewan McGregor to do it, and he told me, vehemently, “I’m not the man for this job. It’s absolutely the hardest thing to do to keep it alive for days in a recording studio. I recorded five short stories once for Radio 4 and it almost ended me.”

I should have been warned then what I was in for.

Well, I didn’t have a recording studio – only the kitchen table. And I suspect that if you listen to it, as the recording proceeds you’ll hear me getting older. I am full of admiration for Rupert Degas who recorded Jupiter’s Travels with that marvellously rich, even-toned voice, with never a hint of stress or uncertainty.

My only excuse for doing it myself is authenticity, and there’s plenty of that. It’s possible, if you listen carefully, that you may hear my neighbours shouting in the street, and there was a month when the village authorities were tearing up the square.

To be honest I have no idea what will happen to the recording now. I have a friend, Iain Harper, who I hope will help to bring it to market, and I expect to make it available from this website.

So, in other news, it has taken me five years to discover that a motorcycle mechanic from New Zealand lives in the next village.

A friend of his from Los Angeles introduced us, but Peter Clark and I are now buddies, and he has carried off my 650 Funduro for a last ditch attempt to discover why it has the unfortunate habit of dying under me at completely arbitrary intervals.

You may have heard me complaining about this before. Several times I thought the problem was resolved. This will be my last attempt. You have also heard me threatening to give it up and it may come to that too, but not until I’ve ironed out this last wrinkle.

When I did my first big journey I rather took it for granted that the world was a globe, but there are some people going around now saying the earth is flat?

There was a time, many thousands of years ago, when everybody thought so and it’s easy to see why. They didn’t know if it was a disc or a rectangle, or what happened at the edges, but it didn’t bother them. They would have said that when I rode my motorcycle round the world I was just riding in a flat circle.

Today most people – pretty much everybody – knows the earth is a globe, but now, suddenly, there are people who say they got it on very big authority that the earth is actually flat, and they want us to give them money and vote for them so they can beat the scoundrels who say the world is round?

As a reward they say they will bring down gas prices, conquer inflation, and stop aliens from clambering up over the edge of the world to do bad things.

So what do you do? Do you believe them? I guess I’ll find out on Tuesday.