Thursday, May 26, 2011

The audio books I hate the most

A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century expired last week before I finished it and I am not going to renew it. I kept missing bits and I was getting hopelessly confused. And it was 28 hours long. That is too long.

So I borrowed La's Orchestra Saves the World by Alexander McCall Smith read by Beth Chalmers.

I don't like it. I've just realised why. It's abridged. I hate abridged story tapes. Hate them.

It doesn't help that the narrator sounds like she could be reading Noddy, Watch the Carrots Don't Boil Over! or some such.

So I've gone from one extreme to the other. From arduously long and detailed to idiotically short.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Child beauty pageants - I laugh but I do not agree

Work is a quite stressful at the moment. When I get home I can't face the Calamitous 14th Century (still only about two thirds through the 28 hours). Instead I have been watching Toddlers and Tiaras on You Tube.

Toddlers and Tiaras is pretty calamitous but I also think hilarious.

My favorite bits are:

- This girl. Hang in there - she eventually falls off her stool; and

- The Cutie Patootie song. She's only six! She's singing about shaking her booty! Oh dear!

Anyway, my partner has just pointed out that I should not be laughing at child abuse and he is right.

I will go back to being mildly diverted by the plague.

Monday, May 9, 2011


Yesterday I had a delightful Mother's Day lunch in Kyneton, which now has approximately seven cafes per square metre, more than I thought possible.

I drove back to the metrop with my sister. She is a lover of story tapes too and I was pleased that the car was stocked with Thank You, Jeeves! by PG Wodehouse for the home journey.

I was relaxing into the delightfully complicated sentences with hilariously redundant clauses when I was assaulted by the term, "nigger minstrels". Wodehouse used this phrase repeatedly for about ten minutes.

It hurt my ears.

I've read Thank You, Jeeves! before and didn't like the term then. But hearing it out loud was much worse.

I'm in two minds as to whether "nigger minstrels" should be edited to read "minstrels".

My reasons against changing it
The word didn't have the same connotations then, and it's interesting and illuminating to experience the the historical variations in language. Also, I believe in changing what you're saying not what you've said. He wrote it, it was published, the ship has sailed.

My reasons for changing it
It would be a smoother listening experience if the word was taken out. It jars in my ears, so I can only imagine how someone would feel if they'd personally experienced the word as an insult. Wodehouse is all about humorous, escapist fiction. Running into a word like that in his books is like finding a poo in a bag of pastries. Unwelcome.

(Although thinking about it, finding a poo almost anywhere is going to be unwelcome. Bascially, if you didn't already know the poo was there, finding out is going to be hard.)

Anyway I don't know. I just don't know.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The 14th Century

Well, bits of it anyway.

I'm about half way through the 28 hour long audio book The Calamitous 14th Century, but I think I've actually heard about half of it. The other half I've missed while doing incompatible activities at the same time like having a shower, putting on the washing or reading articles about Ricky Nixon's disgraceful hair and conduct.

I normally stop audio books if I'm doing an incompatible activity but not with this one. The great thing about the 14th century is that the same things happens over and over again. War, plague, war, plague, nice trip to the country, war, plague.

So I'm finding it quite easy to dip in and out of the narrative, missing chunks of it, but still getting the general idea.

But I'm glad there's not a test.