Tonight I realised that I have an Enid Blyton voice. It is terribly proper, pitched slightly higher than my usual speaking voice, and rounded at the edges. Perfect for talking about lashings of ginger beer and the importance of being polite.
It’s been creeping up on me for a little while, this realisation. As Mr6 and I worked our way through books one to five of the Famous Five series, with its references to Anne’s love of keeping house and the thrill of hard-boiled eggs, right through books one to six of the Secret Seven with its jolly hockey sticks overtones and its terribly privileged young protagonists, I wondered why my throat hurt if I read more than one chapter. It’s the strain of my Blyton voice.
It only really came to the fore this evening, thanks to a rapid switch between reading one of Dav Pilkey’s haphazard Captain Underpants books and a quick adventure in the Wishing Chair with the Terribly Polite Goblin. Captain Underpants demands a sort of ‘Cor Blimey’ excitement – quite the contrast with the tea, scones and Sunday Best vibe wheeled out for any Blyton.
It’s quite specific, the Blyton voice. I can’t think of any other books we read that require it. Not Zac Power, that’s for sure. Not Harry Potter. Not even the 27th Annual African Hippopotamus Race. Anne of Green Gables or The Secret Garden might be candidates for it, but there’s likely to be little call for those in a house full of boys.
I read recently that Enid Blyton’s books have been ‘sensitively’ updated to include mobile phones. Julian even calls his maternal figure ‘mum’, not ‘Mother’. Shudder. I will have to stick to vintage editions as there would be no call for the Blyton voice in such books.
Still, it’s good to know that I can pull it out when I need it. I’ve been asked to do a reading at the school mass on Friday. I think this is a cunning plan to ensure my attendance. I can’t think of a better outing for the Blyton voice, though, can you?
Does Enid Blyton bring out the ‘terribly English’ in your reading voice? Perhaps you have another secret voice that only appears when you read certain things? Please share. It would be good to know that I’m not alone in sounding like a complete pillock.