Welcome to the final installment of our current Tale for Our Time - published in 1889, Jerome K Jerome's comedy classic Three Men in a Boat. Thank you so much for your various reactions to this latest of our radio serializations. John Wilson, a First Week Founding Member of The Mark Steyn Club from Colorado, especially enjoyed it:
Mark, this has been my favorite Tale. Got to thinking: do you sit and record these in long sessions or do you break it up over many days? I'm guessing you hit your "marks" on the first take. Is this true, or do you need a few retakes? Also, do you pre-read and think about character development ahead of time? Or do the voices come to you on the fly?
All very interesting questions, John. To take an example, today's opening sentence is:
We spent two very pleasant days at Oxford.
That took two full days to record. For most of the first morning, I read it as "We spent TWO very pleasant days", switched in the afternoon to "We spent two VERY pleasant", but by the end of the second day was pretty much settled on "We SPENT two very pleasant days AT". Unfortunately, I kept mispronouncing "Oxford", so the version we use in tonight's presentation is actually cut and spliced together from nineteen different takes. So see if you can spot the join...
After all that grueling effort, please allow me a quick plug for our Tales of Our Time home page in its handy Netflix-style tile format. It's super-easy to pick out whatever tickles your fancy of an evening, and Timely-Talers from around the world seem to like it.
Meanwhile, on to Three Men in a Boat - and the grand concluding episode. No matter how sturdy your sea legs there are times when you just want to get back on dry land - if only to swap one's oars for knife and fork:
I must confess to enjoying that supper. For about ten days we seemed to have been living, more or less, on nothing but cold meat, cake, and bread and jam. It had been a simple, a nutritious diet; but there had been nothing exciting about it, and the odour of Burgundy, and the smell of French sauces, and the sight of clean napkins and long loaves, knocked as a very welcome visitor at the door of our inner man...
'Well,' said Harris, reaching his hand out for his glass, 'we have had a pleasant trip, and my hearty thanks for it to old Father Thames—but I think we did well to chuck it when we did. Here's to Three Men well out of a Boat!'
Members of The Mark Steyn Club can hear me read the conclusion of Three Men in a Boat simply by clicking here and logging-in. Earlier episodes can be found here.
If you enjoyed our fortnight plus with Jerome K Jerome, I hope you'll join me later this month for a brand new and very different Tale for Our Time. And, if you've yet to hear any of our Tales, you can enjoy the first two-plus years' worth of audio adventures - by Conan Doyle, Kafka, Conrad, Gogol, Dickens, Baroness Orczy, Jack London, Louisa May Alcott, Robert Louis Stevenson and more - by joining The Mark Steyn Club. For details on membership, see here - and, if you're seeking the perfect present for a fellow fan of classic fiction, don't forget our Steyn Club Gift Membership. Alternatively, if you'd like a book in old-fashioned book form, over at the SteynOnline bookstore there are bargains galore among our Steynamite Special offers.
For the next few days, we're setting aside audio pleasures and will be in full high-def vision all week. Join me bright and early on "Fox & Friends" just after 8.30am Eastern on Monday morning (I'll be sticking around for the after-the-show show) - and then at the other end of the day for a full hour's guest-hosting at "Tucker Carlson Tonight".
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