Friday, October 14, 2005

Nation Shall Speak Pieces Unto Nation ...

‘Russian ice-lorry’ (for those of you Brits with an appreciation of frozen water on a stick) … a quaint story about life, high up in the Russian arctic circle.

A mate of mine rang to ask if I would be free to do a voice-over for the English version of a French documentary, ”won’t take long, 2 hours at the most”, he said.“Naturally, I’d be delighted”. So Fred and I hopped on the scooter and set-out for pastures new …

The studio was an underground affair, deep in the basement of a 5-story building a few kilometres south of Paris. A rather swish recording studio for dubbing documentaries, with all the latest computer giggery-pokery - a non-linear editing suite, all bells and whistles included. Off to the side was the recording booth, a well insulated cupboard with thick sound-proofed walls (big foam ‘egg box’ type insulation). Fred wandered out into the garden and quickly installed herself in a sun longer. Strange, in the second week of October we’re having quite so much sunshine … at least 25 degrees C.

I was handed the script and went ploughed through it with a biro, marking particular emphasis and tonation as I went. I was to re-voice the part of a Russian truck driver and, as I read on, I learnt a little more about my character (lovely dahhh-ling …). This guy lives and works in the frozen north, among the barren Russian ice floes. He loads his truck with 5 tons of frozen fish (what else) and drives over the ice to make his deliveries. At times, the ice melts and he begins to get that ‘sinking feeling’. With a grin, he informs the viewing public how he calmly gets out of his cab, clambers up onto the roof and jumps onto the ice floe. Now what? “We normally travel in pairs so there‘s he possibility of a quick rescue” … you don’t get the truck back … both it, and it’s frozen cargo, sink (rapidly) to the sea bed.

“Oh, we’ve had some funny experiences”, he continued, “on one trip, the snow and ice had seized up the truck so that we were stuck solid. Couldn’t move at all. My mate Dimitri took a rosary out of his pocket and started praying” (sounds a riot Ivan, please, continue) … “once we had all stopped praying, he said to me that if we ever get out of this alive he‘s going to crown himself Pope!”

Well, they did but Dimitri never went through with the Pope thing.

Life looks incredibly tough up there and as I was re-creating the trucker's experiences in English, I couldn’t help but think that …

Nah … it would never float.




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