Contemporary short fiction, poetry and more

Audio CD for A17B: Part 1*

“Hello.  Welcome to this audio CD which goes with Open University course A17B Start Talking Bollocks.  My name is Jenny Artydrone.”

“And my name is Penny Mousewhisper.”

“I am going to talk very, very slowly, in a kind of vaguely ecclesiastical Irish voice which sounds ethereal, and other-worldly.  I am going to use a selection of literary terms, which I never bother to define, such as ‘inscape’, to make me sound really clever.”

“I am also going to talk slowly, but not as slowly as you.  I am going to make myself sound clever by talking in a very clipped, upper-class English voice, which will give the impression that I am reserved but also delicate and complex.  I will occasionally create a contrast in what I am saying by unexpectedly uttering a rude word such as ‘bugger’.”

“Referring to ‘buggery’ is very cutting-edge.”

[Slightly off-mike]  “Doing it can feel like that as well.”

“During this conversation, we invite you, the student listening at home, to try to decide which of us is the more irritating.  I don’t wish to pre-judge, but I think I’ve got this one in the bag already.  I recently visited a Buddhist retreat in Nepal, where the monks have been meditating and fasting for years in spiritual contemplation.  I got them so riled up they didn’t know whether they were coming or going.  They threw me out of a second-storey window, and said that if I ever went back there, they’d set fire to me.”

“That is as may be, but I have a powerful weapon I can use.  I’m an upper-class, educated English person, and so I can create as much irritation as I want simply by trying to do a bad impersonation of a regional accent.  I only have to get it slightly wrong, and it will grate on the ear worse than brass nails scraping down a blackboard.”

“That is an interesting example of how we can re-use personal experiences to get up people’s noses.”

“I think that is one of our foremost duties as writers and teachers.”

*None of this is true.


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