Over the last weeks, as I’m sure you’re aware, I’ve been doing sweet f.a. with my time (although I have fit in quite a bit of cleaning here and there). I tried watching videos and reading books and even going outside – I know, it’s insane really – but haven’t found anything that’s suitably distracting from the silence that I can get things done, whilst actually taking something in at the same time.
After some trial and error, I finally figured it out: Audiobooks!
Probably not the most fascinating of brilliant ideas I’ve had, but I think it was a stroke of genius. When I was a kid, I used to listen to audiobooks in tape form to get to sleep. In fact, I can still see my old room from the view from my loft bed in my head, and the tremendous effort it took to go down and flip the tape over when I hadn’t gotten to sleep before the side had finished. The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett was one of my favourites, and still is, in fact. His writing style is brilliant and funny and witty, and very self aware as many books aren’t, which – although you might presume the opposite – helps with the immersion of the story. If you haven’t read any of the Disc World novels, I’d suggest having a gander at The Colour Of Magic, prequel to The Light Fantastic, or even grabbing the audiobook off Audible (narrated by Tony Robinson, who’s vocal talents add endless effect to the tales of Rincewind the Wizard). They’re both fab.
Among others, including a number of Roald Dahl tales (which are easily some of the best children’s books on the planet), I also loved my Harry Potter audiobooks – narrated, of course, by Stephen Fry. In fact, in my scouring of the internet to find a perhaps more frowned upon version of these, coming across anyone else reading these books just felt wrong. I couldn’t enjoy them, thinking of the ways Mr Fry would say certain words and emphasize certain things slightly better.
It’s these books I’ve found myself listening to recently. As a matter of fact, I haven’t really been doing an awful lot else in terms of media intake. The benefit of audiobooks, you see, is they only require your ears. But, unlike when I listen to music, I find myself listening more intently and actually paying attention, instead of slugging through album by album not really considering what’s passing through my eardrums. It’s so immersive I ploughed through The Chamber of Secrets in a day and a half. I can get on with cleaning the house and pretending to care when Harley shoves his rank tennis ball under my nose, without having to have my eyes glued to something to understand what’s going on.
Something else I’ve found listening to the Harry Potter’s is that I really don’t relate to Harry and Ron like I used to, and find myself understanding Hermione’s sensible point of view. In fact, when Harry and Ron couldn’t get through the barrier at King’s Cross (#spoilers) and went to fly the car (#ruineditforyou), I was asking myself why on God’s green earth they would think flying a car to Hogwarts would be a sensible idea. Surely any sensible person would have just waited for Mr and Mrs Weasley to come back. Instead: Nah, let’s just pikey dad’s car like a pair of proper little shits and piss off to Hogwarts. Who gives a monkeys how they might get home. Or what might happen. If my kid had stolen my car, I wouldn’t have sent him a shouting letter, I’d have posted myself off to Hogwarts, given him a kick up the arse and demanded he have detentions through to next Christmas.
This is the point I truly realized I am no longer a child.
I think like an adult. I consider danger and risk and effects before fun and excitement. My brain’s been programmed to think in ‘Big Picture’ mode. It’s funny how one set of books about a skinny kid with a serious disregard for the rules can change your entire view on your existence. (Well, not my whole view, I’m not exactly gonna stop climbing up trees and doing cartwheels for shits and gig’s XD)
Keep doing that awesome thing that you, kids, cause I love it, and I’ll catch you later.
P.S. I’m sure we’ll get our letters eventually. 😉