Audiobook? A book? In audio?


The Egyptian went straight over and crashed to the cobbles, 40 feet below, where he gurgled twice and died.

Next week, I’m off to Cardiff to record an audiobook of Where Did It All Go Right? This is a long-held dream, and it’s coming true thanks to Go Faster Stripe, who, as you may know, put out comedy DVDs of quality and distinction, including those of Mr Richard Herring, something he is too shy to point out every week on our podcast. So, for research and to improve my mind, I decided to download an audiobook and listen to it, on my iPod, which is quite the new thing, I understand. I guess these two things were made for each other: a book you listen to, and a handy device you can listen to stuff on. Because I would never think to pick up and buy the papery version of a Frederick Forsyth novel – not out of snobbery, just because I don’t read many novels and have way too many pending non-fiction books piled by my bedside – I opted for The Afghan (Abridged), read by Robert Powell. It’s four hours and 31 minutes long. (The Unabridged is 10 hours and 43 minutes.) I have started listening to it.

I suspect Forsyth’s clear, clipped prose suits the medium particularly well, and Powell is a skilled enough actor to drop into accents without them sounding too comedic, such as Irish, Pakistani and American (it’s a tale of international terrorism and intrigue that moves seamlessly from Hampshire to Peshawar within the first ten minutes).

Anyway, I know I’m not Frederick Forsyth, or Robert Powell, and nor is my book The Afghan, or an exciting spy novel, but it will be an interesting experiment to have a go at one of my own slim volumes of provincial solipsism. I’m certainly looking forward to trying. Anybody else into audiobooks? (I note from the iTunes audiobook charts that I think all of the Top 10 are something to do with Ricky Gervais – is there any corner of the market he does not dominate?)


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