Last week, sitting for three days in a studio booth in Queen’s Park recording the talking book of Liver with the very able Patch McQuaid of ID Audio. We got a rhythm going: reading, fluffing a line, he picks me up intuitively – on we go. Ah, but the voices! The croaking piss-artists of Foie Humain, the Schwitzer-Deutsch of Leberknödel, the snappy ad-men of Prometheus and the whining junkies of Birdy Num Num.
Who will listen to this stuff? I’ve never been huge on talking books myself, and back in the day the demographic – older, plusher, Mondeo-folk – seemed to be beyond the horizon of my work … but now? Well, now I am those folk – oh, yes, oh yes indeed. And to confirm this I run into some guy in the street who recalls meeting me first with Barney X (notorious junky) in Oxford in 1980, then in Freddy B’s flat in 1998 (another of the same, and his flat is the setting for Birdy Num Num), and that latterly he is in touch with James Z (notorious junky, the model for Prometheus in the story of the same name). In truth, I can’t remember who this guy is – but given his CV is this surprising? I told him about the book, omitting to mention the strange coincidence: his knowing two of the mise-en-scenes there depicted. I don’t know if he’ll read it – he’s in a half-way house for recovering addicts – but by the time he’s back on his feet, the talking book should be available.