Thursday 26th January 2012
I've been giving audio books a go via Audible. With the long tour ahead of me I thought that listening to someone reading to me, like I was a giant car-driving toddler, would help pass the time and use it efficiently. Now I am able to effectively listen to stuff from the iPhone in my car thanks to my Bluetooth kit, it seemed like a good thing to do. You get a book a month for £7.99 which seems reasonable enough, given that you're getting hours of someone reading to you. Having done mere extracts of my "How Not To Grow Up" book for iTunes I know how long it takes to read a book out loud and it's hard not to get distracted by imagining the poor actor or author sitting in a studio, slowly going mad over the course of a few days. It's actually quite a neat process. If you make a mistake they just rewind the tape a bit (probably not literally) and you read it again.
Last month I had downloaded the Alan Partridge book as my free gift for signing up. I'd just read the book, but having it read to me by Alan Partridge himself (and I didn't feel too bad about him spending all that time in the studio as he doesn't have much else to do) added a new dimension. I would listen at the gym and when I was running and it was quite embarrassing to be bursting into laughter in the street or on the exercise bike, but it's well worth a listen.
This month's book is Dickens - A Life by Claire Tomalin which I heard great things about. I decided to start listening to it on this evening's run. It's obviously not a book that's likely to make me crack up with laughter or to really spur me on with my running, but if I could lose myself in it then it might make me forget I was exercising.
The problem with this somewhat more academic book is that I really needed to concentrate to keep up with what is going on. If my mind drifted off even for a few seconds (which it is wont to do when I am running) then it became difficult to work out who was being discussed or what was going on. It's not that easy to rewind something like this on an iPhone (especially if you're running and your phone is in your pocket) and there's a danger that the plot gets totally lost. The Alan Partridge book kept me entertained for over an hour at a time, but after about 40 minutes of Dickens' life I was mentally exhausted. It might be something that I can only tackle on chapter at at time and might be better digested in book form where it's a bit easier to go back on yourself if your attention drifts. So Claire Tomalin will get double bubble from me. She must be laughing up her sleeve.
The book seems like a good one though, with nice biographical and historical detail which had me trying to picture London in the early 19th Century. Strange to hear about farmland and hayfields around Camden and St Pancras. And stories of maids giving birth to dead babies as they work and the general fragility of life in those days. Yet some of the people who would have been anonymous and forgotten get their names remembered because of their association with Dickens. I like that.
It will be interesting to see if this audio book is too demanding for driving. One of the major issues of solo touring is staying awake on the long drive and maybe loud music will be better than biographies of novelists with a social conscience. But as I seem to do so little reading when I am not on holiday I will persist.
Funnily enough my physical energy ran out at about the same time as my mental and I had to walk the last couple of miles.
All the dates for the Talking Cock tour can be found here
Buy the Talking Cock book here
Tickets are now on sale for both my Edinburgh Fringe shows. "We're All Going To Die!" is on at the Pleasance Beyond at 8pm Book here
Richard Herring's Edinburgh Fringe Podcast is at Stand 1 daily at 14.10. Book here
You can get video downloads of Richard Herring's Leicester Square Theatre Podcast from Go Faster Stripe
A video explaining the idea can be seen here
You can buy tickets to the shows from the Leicester Square Theatre website
You can still download the audio for free from the British Comedy Guide or iTunes
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Also on your kindle (or any smart phone or tablet with the kindle app) catch up on the early years of Warming Up (with extra retrospective additions) with Bye Bye Balham and The Box Lady and Other Pesticles (only ï¿½3.53 each)
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