A selection of readings. Those marked with an asterisk were recorded more or less in studio conditions; the rest were recorded live.

* The Witch’s Promise (Download)
Robert Fenner’s winning entry in the 2010 Times-Vintage Hallowe’en ghost story competition.
* The Bowling Green (Download)
The original, Sphaeristerium, written in Latin by Joseph Addison, was translated into English by his contemporary, Nicholas Amhurst. In 1991 I won a silver medal reciting an abridged version!
* The Cemetery by the Sea (Download)
Charles Davy’s "rendering" of Paul Valéry’s Le cimitière marin from his book Words in the Mind.
The Quest of Iranon (Download)
A short story by H. P. Lovecraft from 1921, as fantastical as ever, but unusually without horror.
* Éowyn and the Nazgûl Lord (Download)
A reading from Lord of the Rings, given as part of a recital. Some of the songs are also available.
* The Infanta’s Birthday (Download)
From Oscar Wilde’s bittersweet fairy tale collection, The Happy Prince and Other Tales.
* Leaf by Niggle (Download)
J. R. R. Tolkien’s strangest faery story.
* Smith of Wootton Major (Download)
A faery story by J. R. R. Tolkien about cake.
The Night the Ghost Got In (Download)
By James Thurber, from My Life and Hard Times.
The Small Miracle (Download)
Paul Gallico’s charming tale of post-war Assisi.
The Inopportune Behaviour of the Covetous Li-Loe (Download)
By Ernest Bramah, from Kai Lung’s Golden Hours.
The Story of Wong Tsoi and the Merchant Teen King’s Thumb (Download)
By Ernest Bramah, from Kai Lung Unrolls his Mat.
The Chaos (Download)
A version of Gerard Nolst Trenité’s classic teaching aid, from Drop Your Foreign Accent: engelsche uitspraakoefeningen (Haarlem: H D Tjeenk Willink & Zoon, 1920).
Death of a duck (Download)
A short story I wrote about music and life. The text is the 2013 version; some errors have since been corrected and infelicities improved.

Dialogues from Gödel, Escher, Bach

Dialogues from Douglas Hofstadter’s astonishing book, with the corresponding music played by Iain Simcock.

* Contrafac/punctus
A dialogue about football, with Bach’s Contrapunctus XI from Die Kunst der Fuge.
* Sloth Canon
A dialogue about football, with Bach’s Canon per augmentationem from Die Kunst der Fuge. (Yes, I know that’s not the right canon!)

The Club of Queer Trades

Stories from G. K. Chesterton’s six mystery stories featuring his lesser-known detective, Basil Grant, The Club of Queer Trades.

1 The Tremendous Adventures of Major Brown (Download)
3 The Awful Reason of the Vicar’s Visit (Download)

Wind, Sand and Stars

Extracts from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s memoir of his time as a commercial pilot in the 1920s, Wind, Sand and Stars (Terre des Hommes).

* Spanish geography for pilots (Download)
The author’s introduction to Spain at the hands of an experienced colleague.
* Sahara (Download)
Spending a night in the Sahara.
The Tool (Download)
About the aeroplane.
Mermoz (Download)
Tales of the great pilot Mermoz.

A Universal History of Infamy

Jorge Luis Borges’s early collection of histories of the infamous, and some shorter but characteristic writings.

The Masked Dyer, Hakim of Merv (Download)
Tale of the Two Dreamers (Download)

John Hegley

Hilaire Belloc

Some of Belloc’s less-well-known poetry and epigrams. The three sonnets are all based on Shakespeare’s famous observation that “all the world’s a stage”.

Sonnet XXIX (Download)
Sonnet XXX (Download)
Sonnet XXXI (Download)
Epigrams on sundials (Download)

Ford Madox Ford

Some Memories and Impressions.

A Lion in The Strand (Download)
That Terrible Word ‘Genius’ (Download)

Last updated 2024/07/16