Summer has taken a detour for a few days while the country is battered with rain. Last week it was fires, this week floods. What better to do on a rainy day than lock oneself inside sewing a quilt and herding 2 cats while listening to a recently acquired audiobook version of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, unabridged of course.
The ‘cover picture’ of the audio book is a version of Alice I do not own – that illustrated by Camille Rose Garcia (pictured left). The narrator is Christopher Plummer. Actually, it doesn’t say ‘narrator’. It says ‘performed by’ Christopher Plummer. And perform he does.
Plummer does an outstanding job at bringing the text to life. While I may not always like his choice of accent for certain characters, I can only applaud and admire his energy and consistency of delivery. The Mad Hatter has a voice which reminds me of someone from the young ones although with an even further reduced intelligence. He doesn’t fit with my notion of mad.
In contrast, the dodo – a character who appears ever so briefly in the caucus race – is inspired. He has an air of an elderly gent consistent with Tenniel’s original interpretation of a well dressed bird with walking stick in hand. The inspired part is that he stutters. I have no idea whether Lewis Carroll himself had a stammer or not. I do know that the Dodo bird represents Carroll, drawing from his real name of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. Even if Carroll did not stutter, I can imagine him as a man with a less than perfect speaking voice.
As for the Queen of Hearts, Plummer performs this giant of fiction with a parodied German accent similar to Herr Flick in ‘Allo Allo’. When Plummer launches into part of the Queen’s dialogue at the trial of the knave of hearts, I found myself laughing openly as he yelled in an over-the-top German accent:
Collar that Dormouse! Behead that Dormouse! Turn that Dormouse out of court! Suppress him! Pinch him! Off with his whiskers!
This audiobook acquisition comes as I join the gaggle of people with an iPad. At $395 for a basic model, they have now become affordable and with most people at work sporting them and notetaking on them, I was starting to feel ridiculously old fashioned with my pen and notebook. It is somewhat stupid to be handwriting notes in a meeting, only to go back to your desk and type up an email of the actions.
This leads me to wonder what is the best app for notetaking? There are so many available and each with their pros and cons. For the moment, I’ve given up trying to figure it out until my more experienced iPad-ster colleagues give me their lists of ‘duds’ to strike off the list.
In the meantime I’m alternating between listening to Plummer’s Alice in Wonderland and Miriam Margolyes in Dicken’s Women, both of who use accent and voice alone to create intricate and colourful characters.