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  • Writer's pictureAdrian Hobart

What's your poison?

Dusty poison bottles and ancient labels
So many choices - what works for you?

The pain started around the four hour mark. My throat was aching, and my voice was raw and raspy. In short, my performance was beginning to dip and my narration of Adam Croft's brilliant novel, Dead and Buried was suffering. Time to reach for the magic box of potions.

A quick search of YouTube or Google will bring you a dizzying range of advice from narrators and actors with their methods and remedies for a stretched and stressed voice. All have their merits, with some requiring the intestinal fortitude of a celebrity taking a Bush Tucker Trial. I've tried any number of suggestions before settling on four key solutions.

  1. Water: Yeah, I know - it's bloody obvious. I take a decent sip of room temperature water every two pages. That keeps the mouth noise down, brings back clarity to my diction and helps me through those tricky sentences.

  2. Throat Coat Tea: It was the narration demi-god Scott Brick who alerted me to this. It takes some getting used to I confess, but a cup of this every couple of hours really soothes and protects the throat and larynx.

  3. Throat Spray: I've tried a few, with mixed results frankly. Some do little more than tickle the back of your throat, make you sneeze, or simply make your throat coat breath a little more sociable. This is the one I've settled on. Not cheap - but superb.

  4. Vocalzone Pastilles: This is the nuclear option. The 1 megaton option when all else has failed. Five minutes with one of these beauties will give you just enough vocal recovery to get you to the end of that chapter. Pain will subside and balance will return to the Force - just long enough to get that project finished. Use sparingly though! I find I lose some control and feeling, which limits my ability to nail vocal placement for technically challenging accents.

I'm sure you'll have other suggestions for me, and I would welcome your input. I should also stress that going through a shortened warm-up routine mid session brings benefits, not least releasing tension from key areas like the shoulders, neck and facial muscles. I also like to take twenty minutes out, shut my eyes and let the tension fall away. I find my read accuracy returns after a good screen break, and nothing beats a quick walk around the block after the claustrophobia of the booth.

I find it a little ironic that I'm only now taking all this seriously. I've been making a living at the microphone for over thirty years, from those early very public performances on top of a tour bus, to being a DJ in local radio, to moving to reporting and commentating on international sport. If only I'd had the

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