From the 149 on Kingsland Road, London

From the 149 on Kingsland Road, London

I just spent three days in London, East Croydon to be exact, recording In a French Kitchen. There, I was in the good hands of Neil Gardner at Ladbroke Audio ( we were  recording for Blackstone Audio).

It was, in the true sense of the word, awesome.

The awesomeness came from the amount of concentration required to read one’s own words without trying to edit them; to focus on the actual words in the phrase without jumping ahead; to command one’s intestines NOT to digest the lunch that one has just eaten; to read the ingredients and methods of a recipe slowly and articulately without bursting out laughing.

Neil is a master at his job. He records the famous BBC production of the Dr. Who television series for audio books, as well as a host of books for publishers all around the globe. He kept me on track, slowed me down, reassured me that everyone’s “tummy” rumbles, and  occasionally interrupted with “Is that REALLY how they pronounce it in America?” In a French Kitchen was his first cookbook and after each session he said he was  starving. A higher compliment doesn’t exist!

Ladbroke Audio recording studio, home away from home for three days

Ladbroke Audio recording studio, home away from home for three days

Neil’s recording studio is a silent, climate controlled box within a box and entering it was a bit like entering the muffled atmosphere of a chapel.  It was punctuated with the scent of fresh coffee that Neil brewed each morning, and the herbal drops he melted into boiling water to keep the air – and my throat – fresh. He was also armed with filtered water, jugs of jelly beans, fudge, and honey, for the five o’clock “sleepies”.

I read from an ipad because there is no sound of flipping pages as you go, beginning with black words on a white background which are, according to Neil, the easiest for the uninitiated. By day two, I’d graduated to white words on a black background, much easier on the eyes. By day three, I was reading with my eyes closed. (Not really).

The days were punctuated with running up and down the stairs when I couldn’t read another word, having lunches at a nearby café, getting back to my hotel early evening, then taking the train to London for dinner.

Except for night two. Once I got to the hotel neither love nor money would have encouraged me to leave. So I did what any sensible reader would do. I went to the bar and ordered a whiskey. The glass arrived slightly moistened on the bottom.

Triple Pour

Triple Pour

“This isn’t very much whiskey, sir,” I said to the bar man.

“It’s the regulation pour, Madame, it’s the law,” he sniffed.

I looked at it. I looked at him. And I promptly ordered two more, all to be poured into the same glass. This gave me approximately 1/2-inch of whiskey to sip, about the amount I’m accustomed to sipping on those rare evenings when nothing but whiskey will do.

I looked at the menu and ordered what any recording artist would – chips – because nothing else appealed. And that was dinner, because by the time I’d languorously sipped that huge glass and nibbled on those chips, I was good for nothing more.

By the end of day three the book was read, the pages closed, the experience over. Almost. Two corrections came in and we re-recorded them the next morning and called it good. All in all, it was a great experience, thanks to Neil.

But, I ask myself, will I have the courage to listen to the recording? I hope some of you will, and you can let me know how it sounds!  I’ll make the high sign when it’s out.

 

 

 

 

 

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18 Responses to Audio Recording of In a French Kitchen

  1. Oh my, I can only imagine how strange that must be to listen to yourself read something you wrote… for days! I applaud you. I am very excited you have this book on audio because it will feel like you are in the room with me and we are reliving your experiences together. Fabulous.

    • Susan says:

      Cath, thanks for this. Yes, it was odd because of course I do hear myself. One tries to be generous with oneself, but not always possible. I had no idea I pronounced “creme fraiche” with a French accent.

  2. Kelly says:

    Sounds awesome! Can’t wait to hear it. I’d share the whiskey with you any day. Brings to me the one evening every year when nothing but whiskey will do: Christmas Eve assembling the kids’ toys!

    • Susan says:

      Kelly, Well you know how to do that ,and my front door is always open to you! Yes, I can imagine. For me, it’s when I’m cross eyed and just want to sip and think! xx

  3. Laura in Texas says:

    Neil’s studio even had Totoro watching you! How cool! Congrats on the recording 🙂

    • Susan says:

      Laura, I’m so glad you told me who that was. But who is it?! Neil had lots of creatures in his studio, one of the nicest, and warmest spots I’ve been in a long time!

      • Laura in Texas says:

        Totoro is a character in the Studio Ghibli movie called my friend/neighbor Totoro. It is a Japanese animation film that’s been dubbed into English (and other languages). Totoro is a magically creature who watches over and protects special people, like the little girls in the movie, or in Neil’s studio, You! 🙂 Totoro loves being warm and comfy, probably a lot like the studio. The film is one of my favorites and is directed by Hayao Miyazaki.

        • Susan says:

          Laura, You’ve convinced me that I have to see it. Neil is a Japanophile…explains everything!
          Thank you!

          • Laura in Texas says:

            Yes, please do see it! It is a cute movie and the characters are awesome and so cuddly. I first saw it in Japan in the 80s and now have it on a English dubbed version for us and the kids. Neil has good taste 🙂

          • Susan says:

            Laura, thanks!

  4. Chris Roberts says:

    Always look forward to your emails …. Ordered your new book and can’t wait for it to come
    O sure hope one day I will be able o take one of your courses … In the meantime ………….
    Chris

  5. Dory Herrmann says:

    That must have been truly awesome and perhaps exciting too. I will enjoy hearing your voice. Mum

  6. Lindsay Kinder says:

    Wow! What an interesting experience — how can I get my hands (or ears?) on the audio version? Would love to start my morning listening to you, instead of thinking about traffic!

    • Susan says:

      Lindsay I’ll definitely let you know the pub date. I’m not sure. I can just see you “virtually cooking” on your way to work! With your hands on the steering wheel.

  7. Jo-De Davis says:

    Susan,

    Were you recording this for an audio book? Did you have to record all of the recipes, too?????

    I’m going to pour a whiskey right now just thinking about all that work!!!

    • Susan says:

      Jo-De,

      You’re right on my wave length!!! Yes, it was book plus recipes but, honestly, good fun to record!

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