Right Tit

I feel like a right tit.

Noo, not that kind. I mean the foolish kind of tit. 

Turns out that the Audible Live chat with Richard that was announced for yesterday evening *was* actually released after streaming to all markets (as Herba, Esther and Nell have already linked to on their blogs). But not after I had worked myself up unnecessarily and been vocally annoyed about Audible communicating on Twitter that the chat would only be available to US users. Well, it’s an understandable reaction, given Audible’s track record of whipping up fan engagement – and then restricting access. And so I feel like a right tit, having jumped to a conclusion, when everything is fine, really. The live stream last night *was* indeed restricted. I tuned in but only saw a black screen. Interestingly, users *outside* the UK and Ireland *did* see the live stream. But all is good, the recorded chat is available in my territory, too, and I have just watched it.

With all criticism of Audible – including the objectionable competitive element that they like to introduce in order to create more views on SM – I have to say that the interview as such was really nice. Credit where credit is due, and edible auditor Audible Editor Katie O’Connor (bonus points for Irish surname 😉) made this a very conversational interview, which I particularly like because it gives Richard more room to expand on his answers. Rather than making it a mere Q&A with only briefly answered fan questions, it really came across as a chat where the interviewer reacted and thus prompted more insights. I think she found the right balance in that the spotlight of course still remained on Richard. Apart from describing herself as a “fan” of his work, she really came across as a sympathetic voice, and I had the impression that Richard enjoyed the chat with her.

In that sense I also think there was a good balance between the number of fan questions and O’Connor’s own even though many more fans had also posed interesting questions on the announcement post. Unusually, I had submitted a question, too. (I don’t usually do that because I dislike Audible’s exploitative marketing strategy but decided to chime in this time. Reason being that I am aware that the more resonance Audible receives for such a call for questions, the better it reflects on RA. But due to Right-Titgate this is probably the last time I am reacting with a question. In Bridget Jones’ words – “I already feel like an idiot most of the time, anyway”, so I have no need for making myself feel even more idiotic. 🤪) Apparently my question was in the running, too, because a day prior to the live stream I received a DM asking for my permission to “potentially share it”. At this point, I know very many fandom names, but it is always extra special when you see questions picked by fans you know “personally”. It means a lot to fans to have their question answered, so I was delighted to see five names pop up that meant something to me! Six degrees of separation etc. Congrats to all!

As for the content of the chat – it’s really good to know that RA has come through 2020 so well, by his own admission. It didn’t surprise me to hear that he has been busy with audio recordings and his own writing output, or with further investigation of going into the producing side of things; he has always struck me not only as “a positive person”, as he described himself, but as someone who would say something like “I want to come out of this with something to show for” (as he did in the interview). He doesn’t strike me as someone who overly wallows but who throws himself into activity and has a strong work ethic. It chimed with me, because that has been my own approach in this year of enforced isolation, with plenty of projects within my own scope (crafting) and own realm (home improvements). I also cut my own hair. It really sounds as if there could be a few interesting announcements ahead in 2021 – he’s going to play two characters from one of his audio books, and he has finished his long-form writing to be published next year. Jackman? A Hewson character? And a sci-fi novel with political undertones? *hahaha*

What didn’t chime with me is his enthusiasm for The Jane Austen Society and Bedlam, two novels that I found rather lacking in quality. The former for its predictable, unoriginal and formulaic story and characters, the latter for its contrived theme and tedious execution. But both characters he picked as roles he’d like to play – Doctors Gray and Gregory (do we see a theme here?) – would be central characters with lots of time given to in a film, so that’s something that *any* fan would appreciate, including me. Yep, grasping at straws here… I also thought that his preference of these novels doesn’t at all match with his choice for all time favourite books with a political theme. I completely get on board with Robert Harris, whose cited novel Fatherland also happens to be one of my favourite books ever. (I was also really into Archangel. The most recent one I read, Munich, however, was a bit on the tedious side. Have to give V2 a read soon.) But I guess he likes more than just one genre, fair enough!

Lastly, I really enjoyed his answer to the question by FranEvergreen re. overcoming strong emotions while working/reading. I loved how he expressed that as the performer needs to carry a story, not *feel* it for the audience or in the audience’s stead, but helping the audience to feel the emotions without plastering his own emotions all over it. I am not surprised that in practice that means he occasionally has to push through his own outpouring of emotion – and then rerecord. Actually, it’s probably exactly what is needed in order to find the right balance of prompting the audience’s own reaction.

All in all – and grudgingly admitted 😉 – a very nice conversation. It’s good to know Richard has come through 2020 quite happy and content, with a lovely but quiet Christmas en famille ahead of him, and lots of interesting stuff in the pipeline for next year. I’m wondering whether we’ll get the customary Christmas message straight from his self-imposed quarantine, soon?

11 thoughts on “Right Tit

  1. Thanks for recap and the link-love. LOL on the right tit comment and on finding the right, corresponding image! I had missed the whole regional discussion thing, thankfully it was all much ado about nothing. 🙂
    As for the interview, I enjoyed it too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I dunno, Audible’s general behavior is s***** enough that I don’t think you need to apologize. They certainly don’t give a rat’s a** about you. But I also wasn’t very impressed with this interview or interviewer, considering it went on for half an hour. He said a few interesting things but mostly by accident, i.e., not in direct response to things she asked. I’m kind of amazed that Audible employs people like this at the editorial level — but maybe that’s their secret to success somehow — stick to the bland and superficial. I wish they’d get decent literary interviewers for this stuff instead of winging it every time. As we saw with the Greendragon interviews around The Hobbit, when someone taps into his specific vein of knowledge and involvement in a project, and doesn’t leave things at the superficial level, really interesting results can come out. But then, as you say, most of the actual content he has to talk about it is not that great or interesting in itself. He is the one who makes it interesting by finding it interesting — and I just didn’t notice that happening in this interview.

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  3. Thanks for the link! You may call me a tit too btw… or rather keep it cool as it’s their fault if you expect as much (or rather the opposite). Good that everything turned out well for everyone! As much as I loved the questions and his approach it was no in depth interview. Which I hadn’t expected anyway but still it was a nice chat. I hope he won’t ennoble any Bedlam or Jane Austen society cast on screen – I am with you in this: both books were quite weak. Fingers crossed he won’t… Btw he might really overthink his twitter profile… 😁

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  4. was a nice interview and he seemed relaxed with the interviewer (who also seemed very chill and nice)
    i’ve already mentioned on twitter that Audible are absolutely at fault, they had no intention initially of allowing the interview to be seen by those out of US or afterwards. But it seems the many unhappy tweets aimed at them made them change their mind-after all it’s a bad idea to upset a core audience! lol

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  5. I have just listened to The velveteen rabbit ( free on Audible UK)
    It’s short but very emotional and if he hadn’t mentioned it, it would have gone unnoticed, I haven’t looked for Peter Pan.
    It’s lovely that he is an optimist I only wish I were so!

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  6. I sometimes have a whinge that the good stuff drops overnight here and I feel I’m behind the eight ball until I can finally catch up, but the positive side of that is there is always someone who has done the work for me – on the blogs or Tumblr – and I don’t have to go searching! This video was up and ready to save. ☺️ I think I saw it on Esther’s blog first.
    I enjoyed Bedlam (which I’ve just finished) and TJAS, the latter in particular, shades of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society which I loved. As I do most of my listening in the car, I really don’t need audio books that affect my concentration (a certain Wanderlust scene comes to mind!) and in that respect, they were both easy listening. I’d pictured Richard in the role of both doctors so I was happy to hear that he was interested in playing them.

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  7. Who could blame you for reacting that way? To hear so much about the unobtainable Christie books made me feel like I was eavesdropping. Oooh, I want to hear them and his French accents! I enjoyed the interview though and the little nuggets he discloses. Still getting George Best vibes – not a bad thing as he was a stunning man too.

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