One of the girls who works on the Internal Audit team at work came over to us this afternoon, and asked who had been speaking to staff from one of the schools in the Borough recently. My colleague and I looked blankly at each other, neither of us able to recall.
The girl – for the sake of anonymity, let’s call her Laura – told us that she had visited the school recently, and had asked them how they found it when they had cause to contact the Council (which is where I work, by the way). The answer had been that they had spoken to a man on our section (there are only two of us) who’d been very helpful; Laura wanted to pass on their kind words, but wanted to make sure the commendation went to the right person.
She had given both of our names to the lady at the school, but that hadn’t helped.
“In the end,” Laura said, “I asked whether or not the person she spoke to sounded like the man who does the voice-over on The X-Factor.”
“Which one of us is that?” I laughed.
Laura just stared at me.
“You,” she said.
So apparently, I sound like this bloke:
Now, as you know I’m no fan of The X-Factor, but even I’ve heard that voice before. Thing is, I’d always thought it was Patrick Allen (until I discovered, whilst writing this, that he’s dead, and has been since 2006). Allen is the chap who featured in this series of 1970s adverts :
“You can choose a house for as little as £14.00 a week.” Blimey. Good job none of the major political parties wants to take us back to the 1970s, what with all that horrible affordable housing and everything. I bet all of those houses leaned to the left.
Many of you will recognise that voice from one particular hit song:
Readers of a certain vintage will also recognise Allen’s voice (and I don’t mean the Ronald Reagan impression, that’s Chris Barrie of Red Dwarf and The Brittas Empire fame) as being from a series of public information films from the late 70s/early 80s, called Protect and Survive, which frankly terrified me back then:
These were released at a time when Russia and America seemed at total loggerheads, and nuclear oblivion seemed unavoidably imminent. Good job the leaders of these two countries are such great mates now then, eh? (Allegedly.) (Actually, not even allegedly. Definitely.)
Anyway, I digress. I asked Laura to clarify what she meant, and she chirpily advised us that I have a very deep and distinctive voice.
Which is true, so I’m told. By which I mean: it doesn’t sound deep to me, in my head, but it has been commented on several times in the past. I’ve always put that down to a life-time of ill-advisedly having a rough fag in my mouth. (Note to any American readers: a fag is what we call a cigarette over here in the UK).
Most notably, there was a New Year’s Party that Hel and I threw at our old flat a few years ago.
At the time, we were living in what I guess you’d call a maisonette; we lived above a couple who were in, at a guess, their 50s – for the sake of anonymity, let’s call then Barry and Babs.
Barry and Babs lived on the ground floor, and we had the two floors above them.
Thing is, our living room was directly above their bedroom, so, since the sofas had been pushed back against the walls to free up the wooden floorboards/dance floor, we thought it only right that we gave them fair warning of the impending party, and of course extended an invitation to them, safe in the knowledge that, whilst we got on with them in a neighbourly kind of way, they were very unlikely to accept.
At around 3.30am on New Year’s Day, with our party still in full swing, we heard a knock at our front door. It was Barry and Babs, home from their own night out, and despite being quite worse for wear, definitely not ready for bed just yet.
It was blatantly obvious that the party was still happening, so we couldn’t really turn them away. Up the stairs and into to our flat they staggered.
A short time later, I was sitting chatting to Babs.
“You have a very deep voice, you know,” she said.
“Blimey, I am so sorry: can you hear me through the living room floor?” I apologised. “I’ll try to keep it down from now on.”
“Oh no no no no no no, don’t do that,” said our Babs quickly. “It’s quite nice hearing your voice when I’m laying in bed.”
I looked around for an escape route.
Babs broke the silence.
“Are you quite vocal during sex?” she asked.
“To be honest,” I replied “I can’t remember. If it ever happens again, I’ll let you know.”
Yes, I know I’ve posted that song before, but it’s a belter and seemed rather appropriate.