Sunday, November 09, 2008

There is a Crack in Everything. That's How the Light Gets in.

Last night I saw Leonard Cohen in concert in Cardiff and it was one of the finest concerts I have ever experienced. At 74 years old the voice is deep and sure and wondrous. His musicians and singers were all magnificent and the audience in raptures. It was a sublime event involving two and a half hours of many of Cohen's best known songs. "Thanks for keeping my songs alive". He said. Cohen was gracious, stylish, humble - yet always the poet. Referring to his previous stage tours fourteen years earlier he said "I was sixty then - just a kid with crazy dreams"!

"Ring the bells that can still ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in."

Anthem - Leonard Cohen

Just over a month ago I was in Ireland. We went over for a short break. starting with a visit to an old friend near Cork. Our friend lives in an old cottage way up in the hills. I was especially struck by a stone statue in the garden. I have no idea how old it is or who or what the lady represents. I just love it.

After Cork we headed West to County Kerry for a few days. We stayed close to Killarney Lakes in full view of the wondrously named MacGillacuddy's Reeks, the highest mountains in Ireland. Day one we toured the Dingle Peninsula and Day two we toured the Ring of Kerry. It was a lot of driving but the scenery was wonderful - the weather was good, too. The stretch of road at Slea Head on the Dingle Peninsula was especially beautiful.

On our last day we took a trip through the Gap of Dunloe. A vintage bus picked us up and took us to the start of the gap. From there we shared a jaunting car with another couple and rode the seven miles through some stunning scenery. The final stage of the trip involved an eighty minute boat ride through the Killarney Lakes. We saw two White Tailed Eagles which have been introduced to the area.

That night we went to see Riverdance which happened to be on within walking distance of where we were staying. We had always wanted to see the show and were not disappointed. It's a spectacular show which lterally takes your breath away.

Now all eyes are looking towards Christmas and the rather unsure new year ahead. I have already donned my white beard and red costume for the scores of Father Christmas radio scripts which are likely to come my way in the next six weeks or so. I rather like being a Santa voice-over. It is comforting in a cheerful way which is a good thing. As Leonard Cohen said last night... he had to give up the discipline of religious order because the cheerfulness kept breaking through.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Glorious Greece

Life never seems to plod or drift gently by - it always seems to pound and sway ferociously. Not exactly conducive to a calm and stress free lifestyle. Voice-over work is a little like buses. Six at once or none at all.

The holiday to Rhodes and Athens was extremely good. Rhodes and especially Lindos has been our stomping ground since 1982 ( Lindos holds a very special allure for a great many people who find themselves drawn back time and time again. Familiarity with the village and its residents and the Portmeirion like traffic free environment enables us to relax instantly.

I renewed my aquaintance with Rhodes Town this year. It's a joy to wander around the streets and alleys of The Old Town. The main streets are choked with shops selling horrid tourist tat but the side and back streets are quiet and intriguing. We had lunch at a lovely restaurant called Hatzikelis where they do a rather good baked aubergine dish.

We had no more than two half days to explore Athens but we certainly packed a lot in. The Athens Metro was spotless and wonderfully efficient - an excellent consequence of the Olympic Games - it even has excavated ruins on display in some metro stations. Even in late May Athens was far hotter than the islands, in the early 30's celsius we believe. We saw so much that was awesome and, in spite of a heavy schedule, throughly enjoyed our flying visit.

It's odd that I do many voice-overs for Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium and the Netherlands but rarely anything for Greece. The only campaign I have ever voiced was a TV commercial for Glenfiddich Whiskey. Ah well. I've got a few years left in me yet.