Performers and audiences


I am convinced that alongside (but poorly if at all correlated with) the personality dimension Introversion-Extroversion is another I think of as “Performer”. I am highly introverted, but love standing talking to an audience. By contrast I know several strong extroverts who really do not enjoy that sort of attention, but if thrown into a den of lions room full of people would be happily chatting to new acquaintances within minutes (I’d still be hiding in the furthest darkest corner, trying mentally to project an invisibility screen).

So, I prepare the 5 minute Bible podcasts and read the stories because I hope for an audience. The bigger, the better!

This morning I was depressed looking at the stats and realising just how few people actually listen to a full episode. (Facebook has begun to show how long people listen for, and most switch off in the first moments and few are left by 30 seconds into the piece.)

Then I got a treat, an email from Librivox from the “thank a reader” section containing this encouragement:

He reads the book like an actor acts in a movie. He acts out every character that he reads. He puts so much passion and life into his reading and he is so expressive. He keeps the listener so engaged and his pronunciation is excellent. He is by far one of the best readers I have ever listened to.

That is just what I was trying to do when reading my part in Woman in White! Then to complete the chasing away of the blues, searching for a post I had made in one of the forums I came across this reference to my voice:

his voice is: soft, tender and warm. When I listen to his voice, I have a feeling that I have just been given a freshly baked, warm and soft doughnut.

This introverted performer is delighted. Until the next time I look at the stats and see how few people do actually listen till the end.

BTW it is my birthday tomorrow (15th May) so if you want to “make my day” just invite some friends to listen to a story or a Bible podcast and drive those terrible stats up ;) I might even do an encore!

In which Christopher Robin leads an Expotition to the North Pole

Image from Wikipedia

I have added another chapter to my readings from Winnie-the-Pooh. “In which Christopher Robin leads an Expotition to the North Pole” naturally if you live in Canada, NZ and various other countries with enlightened copyright laws it is quite legal to listen and enjoy. If you live in the Disney Union or the United States of Monsato you would be committing a serious crime if you dared to listen!

Recording audio

Over the last year I have been forced (by equipment failure and an unwillingness to spend “too much”of the family budget on Internet publishing) to experiment with various options for recording audio.

I’ve done some of the 5 minute Bible podcasts using our camera (then combining a presentation with the video in the visual version of the podcast) this approach gets OK audio, except when the camera is too far from the speaker.

But most of the time I have used the internal mics on my Tascam DR-40 (digital audio recorder) at first I thought the quality was quite good. However, I have begun to wonder if it is better to attach a mic (I’m using the one I used to use with the external sound card).

I wonder if any of you would be willing to listen to a bit of the 7th chapter of Winnie-the-Pooh, and compare it with one of the earlier chapters and let me know what you think of the differences in recording quality?

It would be a big help – one of the problems with doing such stuff without colleagues or technical support is that I don’t have an unbiased pair of ears to criticise!

Two pleas, please!

Jim West needs more Logos users to “preorder” his commentary series it is a remarkable effort by one pastor/teacher to write clear straightforward comment on every book of the Bible (so far there are 36 volumes “covering 59 books of the Bible and 4 books of apocrypha”). I believe that the commentaries do not share the sometimes histrionic tone of his blog, where he claims logos are planning to kill him if the series gets sufficient preorders ;) But rather offers sensible useful comment aimed not at other specialists but at everyone.

That’s the first plea, for a serious work, but presented humorously. The second plea is not like unto it, rather it is free and without cost, but a birthday wish. To celebrate the fact that I have survived 66 years I am collecting audio and video readings of classic stories for children and adults. The request is simple, just if you have a blog link to the site, or if not share it on Facebook or other soacial media. Then people will start to visit, the great and wise Google will deign to notice its existance and my effort will be worthwhile :)

Kindle versus spindle?

For the post related to the image below see Reading Digitally

Screenshot from iPad Alice video

JPS has a post, Computers, you, and books that after rehearsing some of the common (and justified) concerns of modern-day Socrates that we use electronic texts so much that our attention span is withering. [For Socrates bemouning the terrors of writing it was memory that was in danger.] He quotes from the Chicago Tribune:

A friend of mine in her early 20s managed to poke a finger through the tissue-thin argument that iPads, Kindles and Nooks are just as good as books, that reading is reading, that content is all that matters.

She and her classmates at the University of Notre Dame were invited to the home of a revered professor. It was a gleaming palace of erudition, she said: Room after room was filled with elegant floor-to-ceiling bookcases; each bookcase was filled with beautiful volumes; each volume seemed to glow with the written legacy of the world’s wisdom.

It was, she recalled, breathtaking.

Alphabet book by Muffet

Alphabet book by Muffet

Here, lightly edited are my comments:

I’ve loved books, all sorts and conditions of book, for at least sixty years now. But, there are increasingly few books I am willing to fetishise. Some because this particular tome has memories, like the copy of Just So Stories my father read to me, some because the physical production is just so beautiful… but such volumes are rare, and becoming less commonly available and at a higher relative price. I notice that even renowned bibliophile Jim West hesitates before the cost of Brill’s handsome volumes…

Esther scroll from a Sephardic Synagogue (Wikipedia)

The issue, as always, seems to me to be not the format of books, but the forming of readers. That requires not the rants of creaky old curmudgeons, but the time and energy of influential parents and grandparents (or those temporarily, perhaps, in loco).
Now I do not mean that either JPS or others of you who bemoan the (not yet accomplished, indeed looking likely to survive with far more life than the scroll has done) death of the codex are  curmudgeons, but I do think you may resemble the King Canute of fame and fable ;)

The real job is reading to small children who then learn to want to read, whether on Kindle or spindle matters much less than the simple desire!

Woman in White review

Free Listens has reviewed an interesting Librivox project I was involved with a while back. (This recording has also been getting good reviews on

The Woman in White is a mystery novel, told like a court case in the voices of different “witnesses”, so for the Librivox recording we used different people for these characters retelling the story. That probably makes the nineteenth century prose an easier listen than it might otherwise be. The novel has also been adapted into a musical by Andrew Loyd Webber, and filmed several times. Two recent books have also provided a “sequel” and a reimagining of the story.

Several of my other recordings have been getting 4-5 star reviews on :) Including the old (poor quality) Just So Stories I think so far the new Librivox version is un-reviewed…

Audio week again: More William

Cover of Richmal Crompton's More William

I did say this was audio week round here, didn’t I? Well the Richmal Crompton  project More William that Barbara and I collaborated to read has appeared. It had a somewhat checkered history, a victim of house sales and buying, and B’s new job in Tauranga, but over Easter we finished the reading and now it’s all available.

More William by Richmal Crompton (free audio book) also at

“It was on Christmas Day that the centipede appeared on Aunt Evangeline’s plate, the library clock was found mysteriously dismantled, and the conjuring trick with the egg went disastrously wrong. But as William’s Aunt Lucy told him, A Busy Day is a Happy Day – and William is always eager to please adults.
The terror of the Brown family is back, leaving a trail of havoc behind him – with the very best of intentions.” (More William book jacket)

Lovers of British family sitcoms are either already William fans, or are likely to become avid followers of the dogged and imaginative child and his not always patient family.

Richmal Crompton’s William series of books tells the relationship between adults and children from a child’s perspective hilariously highlighting the different viewpoints. Most of us have been William (e.g. children who cannot understand the strange and arbitrary or contradictory rules the adult world imposes) or have dealt with a William (never sure whether he is the little boy pointing out the emperor’s lack of clothes or a nuisance defending his crimes with infuriating [il]logic. Although the world of middle class homes with cooks and gardeners has long vanished generations of adults and children alike laugh at William’s explotis, and often sympathise with either the hero or his long-suffering family.

Somehow Crompton’s William is so real, though somewhat larger than life, that he reduces the other characters to bit-players, and her female leads seem restricted to mere supporting roles. Despite (or perhaps because of) this her stories are enjoyed by girls as much as boys.

More William is the second book in the series and was published in 1922. It contains fourteen hilarious family comedies.