Blair and Howard should start singing in the bath

He was talking about how awful most of us sound because we've lost touch with our true selves
Click to follow
The Independent Online

As a near lifelong resident of the country's safest Conservative seat (if Malcolm Rifkind doesn't win Michael Portillo's old Kensington and Chelsea seat this Thursday I shall expect to see Noah's Ark floating under Albert Bridge), there's precious little point in my strolling round the corner to the Town Hall to register my tactical protest vote, though of course I shall. Apathetic moi?

As a near lifelong resident of the country's safest Conservative seat (if Malcolm Rifkind doesn't win Michael Portillo's old Kensington and Chelsea seat this Thursday I shall expect to see Noah's Ark floating under Albert Bridge), there's precious little point in my strolling round the corner to the Town Hall to register my tactical protest vote, though of course I shall. Apathetic moi?

Twenty years ago I ran into Mrs Thatcher coming out of a polling booth. She used to live in one of the six-bedroom mock-Tudor £2m jobs across from our modest shop-fronted block. I was pushing a baby in a pram at the time, and as she passed Mrs T patted Helen on the head and said: "Another little Conservative voter I hope."

I have been keeping a gimlet eye on Helen ever since having once run into an elderly gent at a bus stop who told me that Lloyd George had patted him on the head when he was a baby and by the time he was 21 he was completely bald.

Would I be more excited about E Day if we lived in a marginal constituency, I wonder. I doubt it. The moment the news comes on I turn off the radio, so disenchanted have I become with the same dreary politicians' voices ranting on about their new healthier options for Britain. I don't believe a word of it, of course, but I might if only I could warm to their voices.

According to a recent survey, the first three things that attract men to women are: one - eyes; two - bum; three - smile. Funny, I always thought it was breasts, but with all these implants men have probably become a bit wary. The survey didn't mention what attracts women to men, though to judge from my friends I suspect it's wallet, car, manners. Not with me. I go for voices. I like them deep, dark and preferably Scots.

Of all our political leaders Charles Kennedy certainly has the most attractive voice, and that's not just the opinion of a frustrated Lib Dem living in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. It's the considered opinion of Stewart Pearce, the voice therapist who recently coached the people responsible for selling Britain's 2012 Olympic bid to the visiting international Olympic Committee.

I happened to hear him talking about the power of the human voice on my new improved digital radio with 25 per cent more options which lets me listen to the World Service any time I like, not just at 3am. It was a World Service programme, of course - all the others were election-driven. Mr Pearce was talking about how awful most of us sound these days because we've lost touch with our true selves.

Voice is far more than just sound. It is literally our persona (Latin per sona "through sound") and represents the totality of our being. I invited Mr Pearce to elaborate further on why politicians especially sound so aggressive and strangulated, and can reveal that the totality of his being must be in pretty good nick because he has an absolutely wonderful voice. It is everything a man's voice should be: rich, resonant and perfectly suited to his Gilbert and Sullivan title - Master of Voice for the Globe Theatre.

That figures. Everything at the Globe is authentic. The timber for the stage and auditorium is English oak cut not with a chainsaw but by hand as it would have been in the 16th century. There's not a single nail - it's all interlocked and dowelled. The costumes are hand-stitched and Mr Pearce spends hours teaching the actors how to stop speaking through their heads and return to their hearts, home of their true selves. I was impressed. And not just by his devilishly stylish suit and purple-tinted shades either. Does hand sawing and stitching really make a difference to watching a performance of The Tempest? It makes all the difference, he said severely.

So how can Blair and Howard even at this late stage improve their delivery? By drinking more water, by singing in the bath, by learning to breathe properly. Most of us breathe too high, resulting in tight shoulders, restricted throats, bandsaw voices - the whole physiology closed because it isn't being nourished by breath. We should relax, return to nature - city life is too stressful - listen to birdsong, waves crashing and allow our bodies to be caressed by the tranquillity of landscape.

Like Kennedy up there in his West Highland constituency. Failing all that you could read Mr Pearce's book The Alchemy of Voice which explains everything. If I were a candidate in a marginal seat I certainly would.

Comments