South Park Self

'tis the voice of the lobster

So, there's this thing about voices. I'm not consciously aware of how important voices actually are to me until (a) I sit through an hour's meeting run by someone with a horrible voice and stagger out feeling as though I've been compulsively running my fingernails across a chalkboard, and (b) I do a quick check of a judicious sample of my various film and TV obsessions over the last few years and realise how many of them are inhabited by actors with beautiful voices. (Also beautiful hands, but that's another post entirely). I'm not sure if this is about musical training and a somewhat musical ear, or if it's about being hyper-linguistic and all about the words - probably a combination of the two.

The admin person with the horrible voice is actually a very sweet and efficient person, but ye gods, her voice. It's nasal, high, weirdly inflected, and cursed with an unpleasantly Souff Effrican accent which flattens and slides the vowels. It makes me think she's probably tone deaf, which is a diagnosis I tend to make about people with that strange flatness of tone, following the excellent example of Lord Peter Wimsey, another of my teen literary detective crushes. (Also ran: Sherlock Holmes, Albert Campion, Archie Goodwin). It doesn't help that she's also given to the exact opposite of incisiveness, and is capable of wandering on for several minutes enthusiastically agreeing, in excruciating detail, with my suggestion that the point under discussion should be taken outside the meeting as being boring and irrelevant to all others present. And it really doesn't help that I was in three different meetings with her today. My teeth are on edge.

Fortunately there are counter-irritants, actual and remembered. Snape. Alan Rickman reading Shakespeare sonnets. Alan Rickman reading my largest and least favourite board schedule, for that matter. Jackson's Tolkien is full of them - Galadriel and Arwen's contraltos, Gandalf, Boromir. Sean Bean has a lovely voice, it's always one of the trip-you-up unremembered pleasures of an Oblivion replay. (Voices are hugely implicated in any gaming choices I make: to be honest, I only ever romance Fenris in Dragon Age because of his voice). Smaug. Ye gods, Smaug. Sherlock, for that matter. What the fanfic does to Sherlock's baritone is quite something to behold. Thor's slightly gravelly dignity. Patrick Stewart doing pretty much any character. Annie Lennox.

There's a theme here, of course. A baritone is a lovesome thing, god wot. Or, if female, a contralto. I will have me some timbre on my ear. It's soothing. As is, apparently, a beautifully-enunciated British accent.

In other, tangentially related news, my Tumblr feed has just presented me with a string of ten different images of Benedict Cumberbatch crinkling his nose. My day has improved materially.

The subject line is Lewis Carroll, just for Scroob. I am in the brief, abated pause between the frenzy of orientation prep and the first programme hitting on Monday. You have baked me too brown, I must sugar my hair.