A recent viewing of the Steven Colbert show featured Dame Helen Mirren as a guest. She read a portion of Ulysses by Alfred Lord Tennyson out loud and Colbert was visibly moved. I understood what he felt, because I was, too. This is my inferior version of the entire poem, which I am appreciating once again.
Say, I haven’t done something like this in a while. Here’s a reading of Frank Key’s THE BLIND GOOSE KILLER OF URK, a fun little travelogue with a fun ending. Sorry about the peaks and levels, it’s a little raspy in places.
Posted onDecember 27, 2016|Comments Off on My Christmas Story begins with a Decca Long Play album
DECCA – DLP 8010: Ronald Colman, Charles Laughton – Charles Dickens Classics: A Christmas Carol And Mr. Pickwick’s Christmas, to be precise. This is a vinyl recording that appears to have been assembled from two separate recordings of Charles Dickens stories that originated for the radio some time in the 1940s.
This was a Christmas album of two of Charles Dickens’ famous works– the Christmas Carol, which is justifiably famous, and Mr. Pickwick’s Christmas, which is perhaps less so, being bundled in with the Pickwick Papers, which is probably regarded as among Dickens’ lighter works.
The album was first pressed in the late 40s, and reprinted in 1950 under the sleeve you see above. Side A was Charles Laughton’s light hearted and jocular recounting of the Christmas Chapters from the Pickwick Papers. The story is very lighthearted; a recounting of the members of the Pickwick Club visiting relatives for Christmas in the country during the Victorian time period. If you haven’t read the Posthumous History of the Pickwick Club (aka The Pickwick Papers), give it a try. The Christmas chapter is a classic. My brother and I used to joke about “Joe, the Fat Boy” who was always found in a corner attacking a mince pie and falling asleep. The Pickwickians attend a great Christmas party and dance a lot, eat prodigiously, and kiss under the missletoe. It’s a fun story. The Laughton recording is outstanding, and he had the perfect voice for it:
Listen to the Audio here:
If that doesn’t work, try this. The Audio isn’t as good, but it is clear.
Side B was performed by Ronald Colman, possessor of that ultimate refined English gentleman voice, playing Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. There are few works in English literature so completely associated with the holiday than a Christmas Carol, and I don’t feel as if I have to recount the plot of old Ebenezer’s redemption and moral rescue– almost everyone knows it, or should. This particular
recording was full of all the sharp audio stings associates with old time radio plays: sudden guitar strings, organ music and all. It was downright creepy when I was 7 or 8 years old, though gradually I was less scared by it. We played it constantly during the Christmas season until, I think, my mom threw it away, as it was hopelessly scratchy by then.
Listen to the Audio here:
(if that doesn’t work, try this, though the audio isn’t as good)
There’s not much more to this memory. I remember playing this record on a succession of record players owned by my mom and dad. My older brother, in particular, enjoyed this record maybe even more than me. The crackling and hissing of this ancient vinyl album was in its own way very comforting, as was the tinny, otherworldly audio of programs recorded for the radio back in the 40s. It’s odd to think about that record, as I often do at Christmas, being as old as it was. The original recordings by Laughton and Colman date back to the early 40s, when my parents were either in middle school or high school. The Decca Long Play record that I recall (the cover you see above) was pressed in 1950, and later on in 1970, but my parents must have found their version in an old record shop or thrift shop somewhere. It was ancient even for them. Of course, in a technological age I’ve found cleaned up audio copies on the Internet Archive (easily), and I can listen to this any time I want to. But there’s an essential element missing, and it’s more than the lack of a hiss and crackle as the ancient needle made the ancient vinyl yield up the golden tones of Ronald Colman once again, barely. I think it’s all about life experience.. nostalgia, as I’ve been reflecting on lately, is kind of a prison. It’s a way of telling us we missed out on something or something has passed us by. I don’t feel that way listening to these old recordings, now. More like a bemusement grown out of experience, and more of an intellectual, vice emotional detachment when I absorb the life lessons of Mr. Dickens one more time. There’s something universal about Dickens’ Christmas message– about keeping kindness and generosity of spirit in our hearts more than just one day a year. A message that transcends faith, politics and petty squabbles. Would that the world grew up listening to that message more often.
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I had completely forgotten that I had discovered an audio host with a free starter option about 3 years ago called TINDECK until I was chasing some obscure link referrals. Tindeck appears to be pretty no-muss no fuss, and simplicity itself.
Pro vs. Basic (what I have)
Maximum Upload Size
with no listens
Here’s a sample of an audio report going to FALL IN! 2011. The audio is decent enough. Sounds like I recorded it in a hotel room with an Ipad.
For 15 dollars for a lifetime upgrade, that’s a risk I could take.
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Posted onJune 25, 2014|Comments Off on The Things, by Peter Watts (audio)
Today is the thirty-second anniversary of the release of John Carpenter’s movie THE THING, which was the second attempt at filming John W. Campbell‘s classic Short Story “Who Goes There” as a film. The first, as the SF cogniscenti will surely inform us, was “The Thing From Another World” starring James Arness (pre-Matt Dillon) as the titular alien, who was more of a classic horror boojum than 1982’s horrific polymorphic alien.
Gad! 32 years ago!! I thought I’d celebrate the anniversary by citing Peter Watts’ excellent 2010 short story “The Things”, which appeared in Clarkesworld magazine and actually was nominated for a Hugo Award. The Things assumes the viewpoint of the “monster” as a terrified organism that’s attempting to commune with humanity, but it shocked and saddened by what it assumes to be our rampant xenophobia.
Posted onApril 30, 2014|Comments Off on Airy Persiflage » Blog Archive » The Will, by Eoin Flynn
This is an interesting Irish short story by Mr. Eoin Flynn, written in 2004 and copyright Eoin Flynn. It’s hard to categorize this story. It seems wistful at first, yet has elements that are downright supernatural towards the end, even a bit of a horror story, even. Who needs a category, eh?
This is a short read to test my new pop filter (which worked) but I was recording late-ish and it’s not my best read by far. My attempts to lapse into a Gaelic accent are awful, but I was game to give it a go.
Posted onApril 14, 2014|Comments Off on On the Bad Vicarage, by Frank Key, read by Walter O’Hara
Read by.. me! (repost from Airy Persiflage)
“The vicarage is bad indeed, as bad as any vicarage in Christendom. But the vicar whose sinecure it is is, shall we say, a fair to middling vicar. I would not call him good, but he is by no means as bad as the Bad Vicar of old.”
Click on the picture to go to Airy Persiflage
Not for the faint of heart, Mr. Key’s spine tingling tale of a monstrous vicar of old and the evil that he wrought!
It was high time we did a Frank Key piece here, and this tickled my fancy when it was written two years ago.
Posted onDecember 22, 2013|Comments Off on Born of Man and Woman, by Richard Matheson
Yes, I know, this isn’t exactly Christmas material, but I’ve been on a Matheson kick lately. So take it in stride. This is a repost from my audio blog, Airy Persiflage. If the audio doesn’t play for some reason, follow the link to the original and play it there.
Born of Man and Woman is not a pleasant story, as it depicts a child born a hideous monster in our eyes, kept chained in the cellar by his parents, where he is beaten and abused regularly. It is, however, a memorable one, written by one of my favorite writers in the short story form, Richard Matheson, who is perhaps more famous for his television work on the Twilight Zone and other famous shows. This is my second short-short SF piece in a row by Mr. Matheson, having just read STEEL AND OTHER STORIES, where I picked up Lemmings, the previous audio story I read a couple weeks back.
Born of Man and Woman is a story I read as a younger teenager– probably 13 or so, and I recall it being in one of those Science Fiction Hall of Fame anthologies edited by Robert Silverberg. It’s one of those stories that sticks with you.. Matheson paints a vivid picture of the unnamed child’s suffering by having him recount events in a broken journal form. At the end of the story, you have to ask yourself who the real monsters are.
I’m a fan of Charles Bukowski’s poetry. As I was a little antsy tonight and trying to exorcise the demon of a raspy voice in the wake of a nasty cold, I decided to put that gravelly voice to good use and record a little Bukowski, from my favorite book of his, LOVE IS A DOG FROM HELL. As usual I posted these at Podbean.com, at my Airy Persiflage site. However, there is no blog post for these recordings because the website automatically associates one audio file with one blog post, and I cut six little audio files tonight. So, without further ado, here are Six Poems from LOVE IS A DOG FROM HELL, by Charles Bukowski, read by your humble narrator.
To play, click the little play button under each title. This is a Flash enabled player so if it’s not working, sorry about that. My only other option was to edit all six little poems into one giant file, and I prefer to post them as six small audio files.
Drawing of writer Charles Bukowski (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Words by Robert Howard, narration by your humble narrator.. it’s a Golden Hope Christmas.
Robert E. Howard
A GOLDEN HOPE CHRISTMAS was famed pulp writer (and creator of CONAN) Robert E. Howard’s first professional sale. He won a cash prize for having his story published in the Tattler, the Brownville High School newspaper, in 1922. A Golden Hope is by no means the best of Howard’s literary efforts, but one can discern the seeds of the writer that Howard would grow up to be in this short Christmas themed effort. A Golden Hope was the December “group read” for my Goodreads Robert Howard Fans group.
I will depart from usual practice of posting my own reading on Airy Persiflage and post an excellent recording of the signature work of a hero of mine, General Smedley Butler. General Butler was the real thing. A Major General in the United States Marine Corps, he participated in several campaigns and little “Banana Wars” around the turn of the century and was twice awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. During his 34-year career as a Marine, he participated in military actions in the Philippines, China, in Central America and the Caribbean during the Banana Wars, and France in World War I. By the end of his career, he hadreceived 16 medals, five for heroism. He is one of 19 men to twice receive the Medal of Honor, one of three to be awarded both the Marine Corps Brevet Medal and the Medal of Honor, and the only man to be awarded the Brevet Medal and two Medals of Honor, all for separate actions.
In his 1935 book War is a Racket, he described the workings of the military-industrial complex and, after retiring from service, became a popular speaker at meetings organized by veterans, pacifists and church groups in the 1930s. Attached to this post is a recording of WAR IS A RACKET, read by a Librivox reader named Jules Harlock. The recording is posted under the Creative Commons License.
Posted onJune 17, 2012|Comments Off on National Flag Day! Father’s Day History Mystery
The answer to the last Audioboo was “James Polk“, who was our 11th (not 14th) President. Sorry, I was working without notes, recording on the Ipad using the Audioboo app. Doesn’t Garrett’s introduction sound nice?
The QUESTION for next time is: How many national flags have flown over the modern United States since independence from Great Britain? (discounting aboriginal tribal totems, which may or may not convey the same message as a flag).
Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
- Samuel Beckett
The Third Blog of Mister Nizz: Covering history, wargaming, reading, writing, game design, miniatures, science, NASA, space exploration, cryptography, politics, society, mathematics, mindbenders, contests, various computer geegaws, gadgets, and gizmos. In other words, an eclectic mix of stuff.
O My Ruritania!
The Blog of Jeff Wasilewski, a great GM and RPGer. I like his convention games
ludology and dramaturgy—a high-falutin’ way of saying games and stories—put together to make something new. This is about the business of creating games and stories, too. Gameplaywright is about writing and design, aimed at pros and amateurs.
My Life of Crime, Murder, Missing People and such! Above all else, never forget the victim, that the victim lived, had a life and was loved. The victim and their loved ones deserve justice, as does society.