An Episode of Neighbours – Geordie Style

I woke up this morning (feel free to insert your own blues rif at this point) and decided that today was going to be a productive one. I needed to record a Voice Over and I had decided that today was the perfect day to do it. I was in the bathroom washing my face and brushing my teeth (two activities which dramatically improve the quality of a Voice Over. You can always tell when a Voice Over has been recorded by a man who hasn’t first washed his face and brushed his teeth. That bloke who does the voice on XFactor and Come Dine with Me: he obviously hasn’t washed and brushed before hand; you can just tell. They should sack him and employ me instead; I am evidently a more hygienic Voice Over artist and would set a much better example to the kids). Anyway, I am still in the bathroom washing my face and brushing my teeth.

Don’t worry, you haven’t missed any action while you were reading that aside. I am wondering about how to deliver the third “and” in the second sentence: should it be strong and forceful? cheeky and playful? exuberant? or deep and resonant? My musings are disturbed by a loud bang and a yell. I turn off the tap and listen, but I hear nothing and so I turn the tap back on and once more consider that fundamental question: how should I say that “and?” I decide to go for strong and forceful. Then I hear another bang and another yell that also just so happens to be both strong and forceful; surely a sign from the Voice Over gods that I have made the correct decision. Again I turn off the tap to listen, but again there is quiet. The sound seems to be coming from one of the attached flats. I have moved to Gateshead incidentally as of October so that I do not have to do four hours of bus travel everyday. I live near some rather interesting people, as you shall soon discover. I walk to the kitchen to get some water and practise that all important “and”. “and, and! aaand! aaaaaaaand! annnnnd!” My musing is again interrupted by a couple more bangs. There is something strange going on next door, but then again, the neighbours at the other side of me are probably thinking the same about their neighbour who is repeating a single conjunction at various volumes and pitches. I listen a bit longer but quiet has returned once more. I decide to say the word “and” like “aaaaaaaand!” with both forcefulness and strength; a wise decision I’m sure you’ll agree. I position myself at the microphone and start recording. As the first syllable passes my lips there is an all mighty bang, and then I hear a woman shout something like “Don’t you dare hit me!” Damn those neighbours, damn that stupid woman and her protestations towards being assaulted. she has just ruined my first syllable, and it was a bloody amazing first syllable too; perfectly executed. “I’ll call the police” the woman continues. The door to their flat flew open and the voices spilt out on to the street. I gallantly tried to continue recording the Voice Over but the argument was far too loud to be disguised by my voice. So instead I politely waited for them to finish their contretemps.

so, the computer kept recording and I maintained my position at the microphone waiting for the dispute to cease. But it didn’t, the argument got louder and more people joined in. The window was closed, but the argument was still very audible and the microphone was having no difficulty in picking everything up. Well, they had completely ruined my voice over, but perhaps there was something useful to be salvaged from this event. I edged the microphone closer to the window and decided to postpone my voice over attempts in place of some unexpected Saturday morning street entertainment. I could elaborate more about the argument but what’s the point when I’ve got the actual recording to offer. You can download it as an MP3. Half way through the recording I managed to set up the digital recorder and so you get the rest of the argument (including when the police turned up) in stereo, which is, let’s face it, how all street-based arguments should be enjoyed.

Warning: this audio clip does contain a lot of swearing, as does the rest of this blog post.) (The whole argument is ridiculous. It has seemingly resulted in a woman being hit, which is of course a very serious issue. But I lose all sympathy for either character when it becomes clear how the argument started and the infantile way that both of them deal with things. we discover as we listen that the couple have been together for eight years, but that this particular incident has apparently been the catalyst for the relationship’s demise. It transpires that the whole sorry affair started because the woman wouldn’t get out of bed and help the man clean up the dog shit. This, and subsequent events that morning, led to him hitting her which she understandably seemed pretty upset about. however the seriousness of the situation is somehow distilled by her infantile comments about her man, such as: “you look like Stig of the Dump; you need to get some new clothes, you tramp”, although the actual quotes are enhanced by a few additional swear words. When the woman chastises the man for hitting her, he offers the following, seemingly as some kind of vindication for his actions: “well, you need to shave your fuckin fanny”.

Also listen out for another of my favourite lines from the very same gentlemen which goes something like : “you know that 3 grand I owe ya? Well you’ll get it all back, every single penny, I’ll pay it all off. And you know why I will?” This question is followed by a dramatic pause while he considers his next statement, and then he adds, “because, I fuckin will!” Also, who is “Shitty Pants Shaun” who apparently the woman’s dad is scared of? And there are so many other quotes that come direct from the school playground: comments along the lines of “my dad’s bigger than your dad”. All these classic lines and more can grace your ear drums if you download the following MP3 file. Click here to download. Ha! That’ll teach them for ruining my voice over! The world may never get to hear that “and”, which is a big shame because it was amazing: it was forceful and it was strong. But hey ho. Finally, what I find ridiculous about this whole recording is how this tiny transient moment has been preserved in stereo, has been equalised and compressed, has had hiss reduction applied and has been edited so that the silences have been removed. I’ve spent more time and effort in postproduction for this than I ever do for a Young’uns podcast. O, incidentally, the next Young’uns podcast will be out by the end of the month providing I haven’t been beaten up by stig of the dump and a woman with unruly genitalia. God forbid Shitty Pants Sean gets involved; he’s pretty scary apparently. Wish me luck.

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