Wednesday 6 April 2016

Deaf Girly and Jeremy Paxman (again)

Ok, so it's been more than a month since my last blog – bad DG! But in my defence, I've been rather busy with my day job, eating my way around Edinburgh and getting stranded in Dorset with a broken car.

Anyway, back in February, I blogged about a talk I went to by Jeremy Paxman about British politics. It was a very good talk, but I didn't hear very much of it, which made me sad. And gave me horrific flashbacks to just why I did so badly in my last few years of education.

Two days after that blog went live, while sitting in bed reading next to FJM one evening, my phone buzzed with a new email.

I blinked at the sender. And blinked again before bursting out laughing, much to FJM's alarm.

'I've got an email from Jeremy Paxman!' I yelled – losing my volume control to the extent that I think our next door neighbours probably heard.

FJM looked at me like I had lost the plot.

'Jeremy Paxman has emailed me,' I said again, my eyes reading the content in disbelief. And there it was, an email from Jeremy Paxman. And in it, he offered to email me his talk. The one I had only heard bits of. The one, I had still enjoyed so much in spite of this.

I emailed him back and thanked him for his offer. He emailed me back, too. I then emailed him back and made a joke about Zac Goldsmith's mayoral campaign being 'Back Zac' and how that made me want to add 'and crack' every time I saw it. 'You said what?' FJM asked in disbelief as we both prepared ourselves never to hear from Mr Paxman again. But I did. And he's very charming.

When his emails arrived, I read them with his voice in my head. You see, as well as having a photographic memory, I have a weird audio memory where I store (or make up) sounds to give me 3D hearing when I can't hear.

When a cat meows, I rarely hear it but if I see it meowing, my brain fills in the gaps. Or when the subtitles on the TV tell me a phone is ringing, my brain makes up a phone ringing. It's usually a really old-fashioned 'brrnnng, brrnnnng' noise, which is probably completely inaccurate.

With Jeremy Paxman, years of hearing his voice on University Challenge in the quiet of my home means that I can recall how he speaks, the edge of mirth that catches his sentences, the way he slows down ever so slightly when he's making a point.

And so yesterday, when the talk arrived in my inbox, I read it with his voice in my head. Grinning.

I can't share this talk with you – it's his talk and he shared it with me only because I'd heard (some of it) in the first place. But I can tell you that it's as brilliant on paper as it was in spoken word – except more brilliant, because this time around I'm getting all the information not just some.

Hearing from Jeremy Paxman and him sending me his talk made me incredibly happy. It made me happy because it means that my writing got somewhere it's never been before. It was read by someone who has never read it before. And that person was able to fix the situation for me.

In the early days of this blog when I was ranting about lack of subtitles on iPlayer (now fixed) and subtitles at stupid times of day in cinemas (not really fixed) and lack of ways to hear your name being called in NHS Walk-In Centres in London (fixed by me!), I used to wonder if anyone who could actually change things actually read my words. In the early days actually, the only people who read my blog were Big Bro and the Rents. But thankfully a bit's changed since then.

When I wrote about my sadness of not being able to hear Paxman's talk, I never in a million years imagined that I would end up with it saved on my desktop (password protected, don't worry Jeremy), with me being able to peruse it again at leisure with my audio memory, hearing the highs and lows in his voice, recalling the evening when he had given the talk, when the voice was there but the words were simply unintelligible to me.

Happy Wednesday peeps

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