Recently as I dressed a salad (it took three goes to get the vinaigrette to emulsify) Nigel Slater took over the microphone in my head. “Just gently coat each leaf,” oozed Nigel unctuously, “careful not to crush them…” Turns out my friend, who swims, often finds Clare Balding in the community centre pool alongside her, commentating supportively; “Look at that form… she thinks she’s on lap 7 but she’s powered through to lap 9 without losing a stroke.” Sometimes David Attenborough bobs up; “Isn’t it amazing that humans have evolved to be able to move through the water with such grace.” She can only do one third of a length of front crawl before collapsing, breathless. But still.
And you may be familiar with the death voiceover. Strolling through the car park (car parks are singularly murderous) I see myself – grainy and gloomily pixelated – through the eyes of the CCTV cameras, which have stripped the picture of all real humanity. “The murdered woman [they would probably say ‘victim’ or perhaps ‘deceased’ but it lacks the drama, no?] was last seen at 9:07am on Tuesday morning. As you can see from the surveillance footage she was wearing a blue jumper that the moths managed to get to even though it was stored in one of those ziplock bags, jeans that she never really liked and a great deal of dry shampoo. The investigation continues…”
We enjoy these out of body voiceovers because they are so far from the internal monologue of doubt and shame and worry. And however absurd the voiceover gets, it remains reassuring because it retains a certainty that we lack. So come on in, the more the merrier. Until such a time as professional help will have to be sought….
PEOPLE THAT JUST POP INTO OUR HEADS
While driving… (Jeremy Clarkson)
Looks like Captain Slow has turned into Captain Speedy… let’s just see if she can keep her temper today.
While having an argument… (Jeremy Paxman)
Come ON. Make him answer the question. He needs to answer the question. There will be no mercy. She’s not doing this for fun.
While putting on body cream (Buffalo Bill)
It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again…
While being so wise you surprise yourself (Barack Obama)
Some may say that… (delete as appropriate) has shown a faith in simple dreams, an insistence on small miracles. Certainly she makes us all better people.
While sweatily looking for the sunglasses that are perched on your head (Jilly Cooper)
Even as she careered into the doorframe while dashing around the house looking for her sunglasses, she was still utterly adorable.