In summer 2005/2006, one of my great pleasures was driving from Auckland to Taupo for training camp. I remember it being hot and dry. I’d drive south as the sun set through the city down the Southern Motorway, along the Waikato River, between the hay fields in the Waikato, past the turnoff to Tauranga, slow down through Tirau, veer right away from Rotorua, along the curving roads through Tokoroa, crawl for roadworks, then a steady 100km sweeping through the forested areas before landing in Taupo. I enjoyed the driving. Sometimes I’d pause the CD I was listening to and listen to the silence through the open windows.
The CD was most often one of the Alex Rider books by Anthony Horowitz, read by Oliver Chris. It’s an exciting series read very, very well. It’s a joy to find a good reader. For me this is someone who is clear in their diction, who changes their voice/accent slightly for different characters, and who is reasonably flat in their delivery. (By that I mean their voice isn’t swooping up and down the register. A little bit of expression is good, too much and I feel they’re cueing me into their interpretation of the words rather than letting me make my own interpretation. It’s not a fucking song.)
My favourite memory of that time is driving extra blocks once I reached Taupo in order to hear the end of a chapter. I think I eventually parked up in the supermarket car park as I wasn’t 100% sure I wasn’t going to get lost. I’m reminded of this episode in my life because I tweeted about it ‘Maybe a good reader? I drove for extra blocks to hear
@oliverchris finish a Alex Rider chapter.’ and got a reply from @oliverchris ‘…that may be the nicest thing I’ve ever heard. I’m very proud of those. Enjoy.‘ How cool is that?