Weaving the Strands

Surprised myself this morning by being somewhat poetic. My wife spends part of the week down at UC Irvine during the academic year and we usually speak a couple of times a day on the phone just to check in – sometimes I spur her on and sometimes she spurs me! Today I was wrapping up the conversation and I said: “Well, I’d better pull together the strands of the day and see if I can weave something beautiful”. It rather surprised her (this dumb klutz of a husband saying something that might be termed ‘inspirational’)…  it also stunned me! Anyway, the thought stayed with me and inspired me to launch into a blog in which I pull together some of the loose strands from almost a year of blogging.

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Let me begin with the one in which I praised grandfathers. In that blog I regretted not having a photo of my Father’s Father to place beside that of my Mum’s Dad – the Commodore in the Merchant Navy. Shortly thereafter my sister sent me this photograph. He’s clearly a young man here and given that he’s wearing a uniform I would guess this might have been taken during, or very near to, the First World War. I wonder if anyone in the family knows what he got up to then?

That’s the badge of the Royal Army Medical Corps on his lapel and I know he was a doctor in his civilian life, so maybe when he volunteered he was already a qualified medic. Incidentally, the word in the family is that his wife (my paternal grandmother who died when I was about 6) was one of the first female graduates of Queen’s University, Belfast.  She also became a doctor.

Anyway – this is to Grandpa John, long gone, but certainly not forgotten!

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There’s always the hope when raising your profile on the web that long lost friends will get back in touch.  But I was very surprised when my first wife, Jo, contacted me to correct my facts in the last blog about ‘Animals’.  In that, I’d said that I always mistakenly called Simone a ‘he’ because she has short hair and the short haired cat of the pair Jo and I had was male.  When Jo emailed me through the website she gently pointed out that both cats were female and we had named them Champagne and Charlotte – from Champagne Charlie – and they became Champers and Charlie.  Now, Charlie died nearly 15 years ago so I apologize here and now to her memory for ever disrespecting her sex.  And many thanks Jo for putting me right (a perfect ex-wife – haven’t seen her in over 20 years and she’s still correcting me… no, I kid!)

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If you’ll check out the beginning of my video blog (at the top of the right hand column) you’ll see me as a beginning drummer… inspired by my son who seems to be rather good at it.  I promised a short clip of him performing and that’s just what is below – only 30secs.  Can’t remember the song they’re performing right now – I’ll insert that later.  A word of warning – it might be loud. So here is Acid Tent performing locally with ‘my boy’ on Drums… 1…2…3…4:

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Getting back to the subject of past relationships:  Last year I recorded a book by a Finnish author, Arto Paasilinna: The Year of the Hare.  It was written in 1975.  It so happens that during that year I met a young Finnish girl and we had a relationship that lasted till the end of 1976 (I spent 3 months in Finland in ’76 – a memorable time, a beautiful country).  I lost contact after that and haven’t been in touch since.  While doing the book I thought I’d see if I could use the wonders of the internet to find out if she’s even still alive.  Well, sure enough I found her on Facebook and we’ve exchanged a couple of messages back and forth since (using Google Translate – my Finnish is terrible).  So, Ulla! A copy of the book will be in the mail shortly.

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Let’s jump back to that blog about grandfathers.  If you read it you’ll see that I was also celebrating the arrival of a new generation with the birth of a friend’s new baby.  The child was born prematurely and there were some difficult moments in the following weeks, but I’m happy to say he passed through the immediate dangers and is now thriving. I will ask you to keep your fingers crossed in the next month or so as he still has a lingering issue that requires him to undertake an operation – not an easy thing for such a nipper.

This photo from a few weeks ago may not be the best one of him (he has a wonderful smile that he’s not shy of flashing) but it shows an outfit we bought for him!  Given the nature of the way they grow he’s not likely to be wearing it very much longer so I wanted it on record.  iPoo’d/iPod… get it? The menu choice on the ring is ‘change me’! (if he can still fit into it maybe his mum will put him in it this weekend and I’ll try for a better shot…?)

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I just looked back at the blog on Syd, Proust and Jimi and saw some links were broken to the photographs.  They’re all corrected now.  Since I wrote that I did take the family to see Roger Waters’ performance of The Wall – and the boys are agreed it was about the best rock concert they’ve seen.

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When I began this blog nearly a year ago I was about to head to New York for the Audie awards, and I’m about to  head there again (end of May) for the 2011 Audie Awards ceremony.  I have my name attached to three nominations – Paul is Undead by Alan Goldsher as well as The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest by Steig Larsson, the third is for a SciFi collection of short stories to which I contributed.  There’s some stiff competition so I won’t hold my breath… but I always hope!

Incidentally, for the third year running I’m in the Audible.com Tournament of Audiobooks.  This year with that third in the Larsson Millennium series The Girl Who Kicked (and so on).  The first year Neil Gaiman knocked me off in the final, last year I fell at an earlier fence, but this year I have high hopes (though again, I’m not restricting my air intake).  If you enjoyed the book, please vote – if you haven’t heard it yet then buy it, listen and then vote… oh, what the heck, just vote for me anyway.

Take Care
Simon

About Simon

Simon is an actor who found his way into audiobook narrating as a side-gig and seems to have made a success of it.
With some training as an actor as a child (just a couple of hours a week, but it stuck) and 15 years working inside the BBC (ending up as one of the presenters/newsreaders on BBC Radio 4 in London) he found the ideal combination for an audiobook narrator.
Found his way to California two decades ago and never left.

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5 Responses to Weaving the Strands

  1. Leslie M March 9, 2013 at 10:03 am #

    Simon,
    You’re absolutely fantastic! I just finished “the Girl that kicks the hornets nest” as the third in the series I’ve listened to. I am an audible member having listened to over 100 books. You by far are the best narrator I’ve listened to. I’ve never looked for a book based on narrator – but now will go look specifically for your books. Was amazing how you were able to make all the characters so distinguishable.
    Thanks for your great work.
    Best
    Leslie

  2. Julia Bradley April 1, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    Simon, I picked up some books on sale at Blackstone Audio last week and decided to search for you on the Internet. My surprise to find you have a nice website, blog, and vlog. Also your range of accents, Russian, English, Swedish, etc. is remarkable. Maybe being an actor helps? You are not too hard on the eyes either. I’m thinking about joining Audible and see you have a large body of work. May check out the Vampire series soon. Finally, the little nipper in the pic is a real cutie. His large blue eyes just beam with brightness and intelligence. Please tell his parents. Best – JB

  3. Melanie March 31, 2011 at 10:14 am #

    I voted for you, of course!

    Your son’s band is quite good and energetic. My own teen boy is the bass player for his band, and singer now that their only girl bailed on them.

    If only I’d known you’d narrated The Year of the Hare I wouldn’t have picked up the hardback version last month. Ah, well. It was a fun read.

    • Simon March 31, 2011 at 3:40 pm #

      Hi Mel, Thanks for the vote!
      Yes, interesting book that Year of the Hare…
      I enjoyed checking in on your blog (http://dakimel.blogspot.com/) – but some of the New Orleans food you sampled left me a bit queasy…
      🙂
      – S.

      • Melanie April 1, 2011 at 6:56 pm #

        Yeah, more than 2 1/2 days in that city would have me, well, just a little too far down the Unhealthy Scale (and too far up on the Evil Bathroom Scale, too.)

        Apparently I’ve got a rep now regarding my regard for your work – I posted on FB today that I was cracking up while listening to A Tale of Two Cities, and as soon as I mentioned that it was Simon Prebble’s narration, one of my friends jumped in to tell me that you’d recorded it, too. (I’m listening to a sample on Audible now – lovely.) My husband said he’d change his name to Simon, too, if I would listen to him.

        -Mel

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