One of the common questions I hear from non-runners is don’t you get bored spending hours out on the run?
Generally not is my answer – sometimes I enjoy a bit of solitude, sometimes I like to run with others and have a bit of a natter, and occasionally I like to read a book. That’s when they often walk away shaking their head.
Of course I don’t mean actually read printed words, at my age I need to be sat very still and hold things at a specific distance from my eyes to even focus on it properly. No, what I’m talking about are audiobooks.
It doesn’t seem that long ago (yet again a sign of my advancing age) that listening to anything on the go meant a shaky cassette deck which only had a fast forward and no rewind. Couple that with a crappy pair of headphones that never stayed on your ears and the whole experience was far from great.
Even when portable compact disc players came along you still had to make sure they didn’t shake about too much for fear of skipping and even if you managed that then listening to a whole recording of a book meant taking half a dozen discs out with you.
Things are different nowadays though, with pretty much everyone having some form of digital device in their pocket most of the time it’s simple to download an audiobook (or even more than one) and take it out with you wherever you go. On the bus, on the run, even on the toilet if you like. Just make sure you wash your hands before turning the volume up after.
With the ability to pack entire tomes of literature into your pocket, audiobooks make fantastic companions for those long solo runs. Lace up, plug in and jog on. You can get your miles in and tick off your reading list at the same time. It’s true multitasking.
After listening to a few good books whilst out on long training runs myself I thought that getting Fat Man to Green Man down in digital audio form would be a great idea to help others tick off those long miles.
Being a hands-on kind of guy my first thought was to record it myself. So I spoke to some people in the know, got my hands on some equipment and jumped in and started recording. Two weeks later and only having completed (an extremely dubious) first chapter I decided that maybe it was something best left to the professionals.
Cue a meeting with me, my publisher, and professional narrator Nick Rawlinson over a beer one night in Bristol. We’d given Nick a copy of the book to read in advance and by the time we met up he had read it through a couple of times and really liked it. So the business side of things was taken care of and Nick went into the studio to start the ball of production rolling.
I have to say I was nervous at first. Even having heard some of Nick’s previous work I was a bit worried about how he would present my words. Obviously whenever anyone reads anything they put a voice and intonation to it in their own head, and never more so than when you’ve written it yourself, so to hand your own creation over to somebody else to represent it audibly is somewhat concerning at first. That was until I heard the first sample of it and all my fears disappeared. It was brilliant.
Once all the recording had been finished I listened back to the whole thing and was gobsmacked. To hear somebody else voice your story is to be honest a little surreal, but you quickly settle into the tale and are soon whisked away into the world the narrator is portraying directly into your head. It made me smile, laugh and even shed a tear at times, and I know the story pretty well.
After hearing the job that Nick has done with the book I laugh at the very notion that I ever considered I could do it myself. Sure I like to talk a lot, but narrating properly is a serious skill. I’m just glad I realised that early on.
The audiobook edition of Fat Man to Green Man is available for download now from Audible, Amazon and iTunes. Depending upon your device and preferences you can now take it with you wherever you go, and all without having to take the tape out and turning it around to rewind. Kids today don’t know they’re born.
Why not download a copy today and take it out on your next long run? Let me know what you think.