Daily Archives: November 16, 2006

Sound and Sensibility

Some of you may have seen that our friends at Digiview Entertainment have introduced a new line of “bargain audiobooks”. You can buy single CD audiobooks two for five dollars, and longer ones are two for seven dollars.  Finally, the same quality and cheapness we get from Digiview’s DVDs. Wonderful, right?

Um. Well.  No.

Today I finished listening to Digiview’s production of Sense and Sensibility. It’s not exactly a full cast production, but there are two actors involved: the narrator, Claudia Tyler, who also performs all the female characters’ dialogue, and an uncredited male actor whom I swear I’ve heard on audiobooks before. Neither are English, but both are fairly competent and convincing. I could ask for more vocal variety from both actors, but you can tell characters apart just fine. The only serious problem is that both actors mispronounce words fairly regularly. (And I suspect that’s more a problem of rushed production.)

But the production problems are pretty serious. The ends of many tracks are clipped off — and by “many”, I mean more than half. Important bits of quite a few chapters appear to have been accidentally abridged. At least one track on the last CD seemed to have been sped up to make it fit. Most spectacularly, the seventh track of the fourth CD consists not of the course of Marianne Dashwood’s illness, but of static and bits of some radio station. And finally, the whole thing ends with the words, “End of Project Gutenberg’s text of Sense and Sensibility”, which in a non-Gutenberg project is a breach of Project Gutenberg’s terms of service, to my understanding. (Not that anybody would care in a non-money production, but….)

Yeah. Those are some impressive technical difficulties. And I speak as one who is extremely experienced with screw-ups!

Well, tomorrow I have a ton of billing to do, to the accompaniment of my second Digiview audiobook (Wuthering Heights, which I have sworn I will wade through before I die). This is pretty funny, as Charlotte Bronte apparently regarded Jane Austen’s work with abhorrence, as being produced by someone who didn’t have an ounce of real womanly feeling in her body. (Which just makes Charlotte sound even more like Marianne Dashwood, and probably made Austen laugh heartily from the hereafter.) I will recall Jasper fforde’s dictum that every character in Wuthering Heights needs counseling in anger management issues, and try to regard the characters with the same sympathetic understanding I give to opera characters yodeling their way to insanity. In short, I’m fairly sure that any audiobook actors will give the Gothic Miss Charlotte a good deal more sympathetic rendition than my mind ever has.



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From the Banks of the Maumee

Just a Comment is a blog dedicated to the beauties and wonders of Toledo, Ohio.

Yes, seriously. Go take a look, o cynic, and see. The same blogger also runs The Roving Medievalist.

I think this kind of city blog is a real service to humanity.

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Roman Filks!

For all of you Latin lovers and legionary-wannabes, click on over and sing some Legio XX Songs! These aren’t from Roman reenactors, btw, but rather from Roman LARPers.

Possibly the best song is a rewrite of “I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General”:

My family’s patrician, we’re descended from a deity
With pietas and dignitas, but never spontaneity
We clap politely at the games when gladiators spear their foes
And when we write a speech it always sounds like one of Cicero’s

Fittingly, we also have math/linguistics/filk guy Kevin Wald’s oldie-but-goodie:

I am the very model of a heroine barbarian;
Through Herculean efforts, I’ve become humanitarian.
I ride throughout the hinterland — at least that’s what they call it in
Those sissy towns like Athens (I, myself, am Amphipolitan).
I travel with a poet who is perky and parthenian
And scribbles her hexameters in Linear Mycenean

However, this otherwise excellent site features an unaccountable absence of Kipling’s quite wonderful marching song from Puck of Pook’s Hill, “Rimini”:

And I’ve tramped Britain, and I’ve tramped Gaul,
And the Pontic shore where the snow-flakes fall
As white as the neck of Lalage—
(As cold as the heart of Lalage!)
And I’ve lost Britain, and I’ve lost Gaul,
And I’ve lost Rome and, worst of all,
I’ve lost Lalage!

But Suetonius is the guy who kindly preserved real Legion marching songs for us. Read his Lives of the Twelve Caesars for that and many other fun scurrilous tabloid details.

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