That “Woman’s Hour” April Fool post: were you had?

Judging by some of the earliest comments I received, a fair number of you were taken in, if only temporarily, by yesterday’s seasonally appropriate drollery. I’d apologise, but K and I are still pissing ourselves laughing about it (it was a joint conspiracy, conceived over supper on Friday night).

The clues were there all along, though. “Ria Poloff”, a woman about whom Google knows nothing, is an anagram of… well, I don’t propose to insult your intelligence (MWA HA HA!) by spelling it out. And check out the final sentence of the post: “If I merely sound foolish, then please don’t hesitate to let me know.

Mind you, that last one did rather rebound on me.

Mike, you’ve chosen something really complicated here as it involves trying to modify your own voice, putting on an accent, and the most important part which is conveying the humour of the piece. I think that you’d be more successful if you just work with the third aspect because, for me, the first two parts, are getting in the way of the third.


Ahem. Well, anyway. As you will have spotted, I didn’t exactly go to great lengths to Femme Up my little recitation. This is mainly because, when I experimented with a full-on falsetto treatment, the results were so painfully jarring that it just wouldn’t have been fair to inflict them upon you for the full four and a half minutes. So I went for a sort of Home Counties Lesbian In Sensible Shoes approach instead, concentrating mainly on eradicating all traces of Northern from my speaking voice. (K thought I sounded like the transsexual travel writer Jan Morris. I can live with that.)

Having said that, the recording did bear some of the hallmarks of a Rush Job; indeed, I ended up using the first full take. This was because I was using the only room in the cottage with a) a decent acoustic and b) an absence of those f**king de-humidifiers (or Dementors as I now call them, as they SUCK THE JOY out of everything around them). This meant banishing K to the upstairs bedroom for the duration, as I am a complete Prima Donna who Cannot Possibly Be Expected To Rehearse In Front Of An Audience. However, as I am also a Prima Donna With A Guilty Conscience About Banishing My Lover To A Cold And Lonely Place, I ended up spending less time on the recording than perhaps I should have done.

(Also, those “Hungarian” comedy accents were sheer bloody murder on the throat. How I suffer for your entertainment.)

My thanks to those of you who played along, and especially to Lionel for coming up with Ria Pollof’s reply.

Extra special thanks to Abby “One Track” Lee, for agreeing to let me desecrate her oeuvre in the first place, and for being such a jolly good sport about it all.


However. All of this knockabout japery has given me another Medium Sized Idea. (OK, it gave Lucy a Medium Sized Idea, which converted to a Medium Sized Suggestion, for which I now propose to take all the credit.) Why don’t we do a Shaggy Blog Podcast?

So. If you’re a) featured in The Book and b) are tolerably OK at Reading Things Out Loud, then please e-mail me with a digitised reading of your contribution, and I’ll stitch together a podcasty thing.

Yes. That could be a nice little Easter Project for us all. Well, it beats drawing faces on boiled eggs…

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