Wed 28 March 2012

Notes from the Underground #13

© marianne hommersomNot only are all citybooks available as text e-books, but they’re also recorded as audio books. While authors recite and record their own citybooks in their original languages, the translations are spoken by actors. Today, we take a look behind the scenes in the studio with Ester Naomi Perquin, Jeroen van Rooij and Erik Lindner during a recording session in Utrecht, earlier this year.

© marianne hommersom

Jeroen van Rooij: ‘In Labyrinths, my citybook about Chartres, I write about the artwork 1965 / 1 – ∞ by Roman Opalka. If I’d have considered the fact that I would end up reading my text for recording, then I would have thought of a clever solution for the titles from the work that I mention. In the Centre Pompidou there are three details from 1965 / 1 – ∞ on display, with the unpronouncable names 3,307,544 – 3,324,387, 3,324,388 – 3,339,185 and 3,339,186 – 3,353,469. Finally I did manage to get these number sequences out without stuttering or stumbling over them. The number of attempts I needed for this would make an excellent title for an Opalka painting.’

Listen to Labyrinten here.

© marianne hommersomEster Naomi Perquin: ‘The evening before the recording session was a late one; as a rule, poetry day extends into a poetical drinking-bout. And sure enough, in an Utrecht bar, we toasted the day. And again. And then again. Old television series were discussed, as were women who see bookcases as real personalities. When, finally, I had made it to my hotel bed, it was almost time for breakfast. So this is partly why the recording session wasn’t quite as flawless as I had hoped, though a glass of water did work wonders. As I was reading, a sense of homesickness crept over me. I heard there’s a thick blanket of snow in Bucharest now.’

Listen to Boekarest - Een eenpersoonsreisadvies here.


© marianne hommersom

© marianne hommersom

Erik Lindner recited and recorded his poems about Charleroi in a record time of seven minutes and two seconds. On the photos alongside you can see just how he did it.

Listen to Charleroi. 10 Gedichten here.


© marianne hommersomSound engineer Aart de Jong of KlankTank makes sure the session runs smoothly from start to finish, and then gets to work with the recorded material, fixing any minor mistakes and perfecting the overall sound.

Since then the results have been made available online, and you can listen to and download the work of Ester Naomi Perquin, Jeroen van Rooij and Erik Lindner at and via iTunes.

© marianne hommersomPhoto's © Marianne Hommersom



comment on this article

Fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required.

is never shown