Some people like the sound of their own voices. I, categorically, do not. If I have the proverbial face for radio (which I do), then I also have a voice tailor-made for silent movies. Let me put it this way: I have about as much chance of being referred to as ‘mellifluous’ as Simon Cowell does of being called ‘modest’ or the average Premier League footballer does of being tagged as a ‘Nobel Prize winner’. Possibly less. To paraphrase Star Trek’s Dr McCoy: I’m a writer, not an orator. The pen is mightier than the microphone. You get the idea.
So why exactly have I agreed to lend my monotone drawl (complete with added bonus stutter) to a podcast, of all things? There is something about wanting to try something new and exciting – if fretting and shaking like a leaf for fully 24 hours before my debut performance counts as ‘exciting’. And I will admit that it gave me an excuse to go out and buy some new kit – purchasing my new microphone very much appealed to my inner geek, if not to my bank manager. But the reality is that I wanted to give it a go – and apologies if this sounds a bit glib – “‘because it’s there”.
Basically, I’m doing it for much the same reason I started blogging: why the hell not? Some people build model ships. Others spend hours down the gym looking to hone the perfect body. (It’s way too late for me now on that front.) Me? I like to mould words into something that means something to others. And while I still love blogging for the technical and creative challenge involved in committing fingers to keyboard, the written word is definitely my comfort zone – a warm fire and a snug blanket on a cold winter’s night. Turning my hand – or should that be vocal cords? – to podcasting is more like being stuck on the outside in polar conditions and making the most of it.
Of course, it’s hardly a life-and-death situation. I’m launching into this new venture – make that adventure – with two friends, one in London, the other in Virginia, USA, thanks to the wonders of the internet and Skype. So it’s not like I’m flying solo. And, besides, what’s the worst that could happen? We launch the podcast, three people listen to it and it’s a failure. No one dies, except perhaps any flickering hopes of me fulfilling my childhood ambition of being a TV sports anchorman.
Anyhow, we’ve done a pilot recording now so there’s no going back. (Knowing Chris, he’ll have probably edited all the tracks together and uploaded it to iTunes in less time than it’s taken me to write this post.) I’ve got nothing to lose except my pride. It doesn’t really matter. That’s what I keep telling myself. Except of course it does matter to me. A lot. I don’t like to fail at anything, whether it is work, as a father or losing a game of tiddlywinks. Now that I’ve started down this road, I desperately want it to work – and, more importantly, I don’t want it to fail due to my hopeless inarticulacy.
I wonder if some vocal coaching might help? Or maybe I could hire a stunt voice, in the same way that Hollywood actors use stunt doubles or body doubles to make them look good? Does anyone know if Ken Bruce is available? Hmm.