Saturday, 1 August 2009


I make people fall asleep by talking to them. At least, this is what my girlfriend says and I'm still not entirely unconvinced that she's telling me I am a very boring person. Nevertheless, I call her every night, I read her a bit of a story (yes, really) and if she hasn't fallen asleep, I talk to her until she does. I don't reasonably think that The Little White Horse, Heidi, A Little Princess, The Ordinary Princess, Tom's Midnight Garden or The Dragonfly Pool would send you to sleep by themselves, so I have to admit that TD is being truthful when she says I have a soothing voice.

Do I? Do I really? I fought off partial deafness at the age of 5, took up the violin at 9 and sing lead vocals in a rock band as well as having been acting on and off. Result: I've got a really loud voice, and to top that all off, I was born and bred in North London and my accent swerves unnervingly between BBC English / RP and North London / Home Counties at regular intervals. Yeah, so Americans find my voice mysteriously sexy, but they're American and apparently British voices make them cream (their words, not mine!).

I don't think it's my voice that soothes, exactly. I made H practically fall asleep by giving her a hug once, and Mini has felt comfortable chatting to me in Regent's Park with her head in my lap (this was years ago, but I remember it) and one could visibly see that she was relaxing, so maybe it's my presence that's the clincher. Even so, some people - my sister instantly springs to mind, as she begs attention from everyone else so why not you guys? - seem aggravated by me being around, as if they have to show off to distract people from the fact that ILB is nearby.

I think, and this is wild speculation but it's the best I can manage right now, that it's mostly psychosomatic. If you're programmed to be falling asleep at night, and your significant other is on the 'phone to you, this tells your body two things: one, you are meant to be falling asleep; two, your other half cares enough to call you, and in the absence of anything to say or do (when you are together, there's something else to do, but that's last night's subject, thank you very much!), they go so far as to read you a chapter or two from a book. Well, if that were me, I'd feel pretty much cared for, right?

And cared for equals relaxed, and when you're relaxed it's a lot easier to fall asleep.

So I'm pretty sure my voice has very little to do with it. And maybe it's for the best that my colleagues and our clients, my girlfriend and my friends, my family and their families, and anyone foolish enough to see a play or listen to my band has to deal with it. It's best contained in my mouth, I think. Hang on while I answer this 'phonecall...

What's that? You want me to record a talking book? Syndicated worldwide? I'll be right with you!

No comments: