Wednesday 15 October 2008

Hearing voices…



Sorry, but I am still chuckling about an email that Lovely Freelancer sent me last night.

She, like me, loves theatre and emailed me to ask if I wanted to go to see a play by good ol’ Shakespeare as it was audio described. Great I thought initially, sounds good. Then I started to think about what audio described actually meant, and I'm sure it is a fantastic service, if you're blind!!

We had both got it confused with captions! Now, just imagine me going to an audio-described play – not only would I not be able to hear what was going on, I wouldn't be able to hear the description of what was going on either! Sounds like a recipe for pure torture if you ask me.

Anyway, this reminded me of my last visit to see my Gma. While I was there, and in-between reading her Woman’s Weekly and plundering her dark-chocolate digestive store, I helped sort her digital box out as all the channels were a bit wonky. I then turned on subtitles so I could follow the show we were watching.

However, I forgot to turn them off when I left, so poor Gma had them splashed all over her screen when in fact, she can hear brilliantly! A few days later, Nottnum Uncle, the fabulous actor who really should be in The Bill, came over to try and fix the problem. He had a cup of tea, did The Times sudoku puzzle, which he and Pa usually fight over, and assured Gma there would be no more readalong TV.

The next day Gma switched the TV on and it began to speak to her. 'The man is walking to the sink and washing up' it said. Feeling slightly alarmed, Gma changed the channel and still the TV continued to talk to her. So much so that she couldn't follow what the actor people were actually saying.

Eventually, when she could stand it no more she called up Pa and tried to think of the best way to tell him that the TV was talking to her. And, as my Gma still has all her wits about her, and is probably reading this right now (hello Gma!), Pa decided there had to be a more reasonable explanation than um, insanity! And there was.

In his haste to fix the subtitle problem, Nottnum Uncle had turned on audio description service, so the TV was indeed talking to Gma because it thought she was blind!

Thankfully it was easily fixed and Gma’s fears of bonkers-ness were allayed. I am intrigued by this audio description service though, and would love to hear it for myself. I wonder if they do a subtitled version…

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