Voice Recognition

Barclays are to offer voice recogntion to customers because it’s going to reduce the time it takes for customers to verify their identity from 90 seconds to less than 10 seconds.  They say it’s foolproof and that customers won’t get annoyed by having to identify themselves with security.  This is fair enough.  However voice rhythms change – especially after voice and presentation skills training and talking to people from different parts of the world.  It’s always good to get some voice and speech coaching and this will define the clarity of your speech ryhthms to an optimum degree.  The feedback is that once people have had voice and speech coaching and have defined the way they like to express themselves – they have to alter their voice recognition software.  Contact us for a free consultation on Skype or face to face or to be notified of our free events.
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Voice Recognition
Voice Recognition

Jimmy’s Hall

In the week of finishing reading On Canaan’s Side, I  saw Jimmy’s Hall.  The history of the island of Ireland resonates down into you and pulls at your heart.  The Pagan and the Catholic that became inter-twined after St Patrick and the political and religious hold the church had over the Irish people – was dark indeed.  Jimmy’s Hall shows how the church tried to stifle all thoughts apart from those they approved of and even the priests were under the yoke of Rome and its powerful doctrine.  Jimmy Gralton was the only man ever to be deported from Ireland.  Played by Barry Ward who glitters with the self-effacing charm and charisma of a man who knows his worth and knows his sacrifice.  His mother played by Eileen Henry is also a joy to watch – heart rending and true.  What a find she was for Ken Loach.  On Canaan’s Side will need such an actress – one where you can see her history in the light of her eyes.  You can see the interview with Ken Loach when you click on the picture below.

Jimmy's Hall
Jimmy’s Hall

 

The BBC’s Quirke, Jamaica Inn and Speaking Clearly

The BBC has received a larger than normal number of complaints from viewers who can’t hear the actors’ “mumbled” lines in Quirke, the BBC Drama starring Gabriel Byrne.  It’s an excellent drama and I can hear every word.  Is it perhaps because some viewers aren’t able to tune in to that particular 1950s Dublin accent?  The film Noir quality of the production means that it would be hard to lip read the actors and perhaps that is part of the problem for some viewers.
I find the Dublin accent is slight, as it is supposed to be the upper classes and I’ve only detected a couple of Belfast sounding diphthongs “ear” and “air” that Michael Gambon’s and Gabriel Byrnes’ characters come out with occasionally, that may confuse some English speaking listeners by changing the rhythm of the sound.  Did Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall confuse people because of the rhythm of their American English?  I find it adds to the concept of the whole production.  When dialect coaching on productions, I’ve always been asked to keep the accent within the limits of easy to understand English.  It’s one of the factors that make the job more challenging and therefore interesting.  The acting in Quirke is so good it’s hard not to be glued to the action when you’re watching it.  If you’re peeling the spuds at the same time, you’re likely to get lost.  Andrew Davies, who adapted Benjamin Black’s books for the TV, has every right to watch the sub-titles.  I agree that there was some misinformed acting in Jamaica Inn which resulted in not being able to understand the words of one of the principle actors.  Perhaps this was more to do with the Production team.  Ben Stephenson, head of drama commissioning at the BBC has said that part of the problem was down to actors failing to speak clearly.
Michael Gambon and Gabriel Byrne

 

Keeping the Neck Muscles Toned

Nick Grimshaw was talking about moisturising his neck on Radio 1s breakfast show.  He wanted a way to stop his neck getting flabby – you should worry Nick, 30 years old and talking all the time ( yes, talking keeps all your facial and neck muscles more toned).  He mentioned the lower jaw protrusion exercise, where you raise and lower  your bottom jaw to look like Wallace of Wallace and Gromit.  Fortunately Zane Lowe was on the phone and chipped in that overdoing this exercise will give your jaw a lot of tension – not lock jaw, but tight jaw, so probably best not to do it more than twice a week. The best exercises for neck muscles that I’ve found so far, are 2 that I learned in California.  You keep your shoulders open and relaxed lift your head until your face is looking at the sky/ceiling and kiss the air – make big smacking sounds.  Gently relax your chin on your chest afterwards to release any tension.  The other one begins in the same way – you raise you face to the ceiling, smile broadly, stick your tongue to the top of your mouth and swallow.  Do this a couple of times and then release by hanging your head over your chest.  If you still feel any tension then chew on a piece of invisible chewing gum.  Take care not to chew on your cheeks or your tongue…..

Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn