Bonjour from a recent convert

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Western Rover
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Bonjour from a recent convert

Postby Western Rover » Thu Jul 11, 2013 4:41 pm

I never read the brick or saw any stage or screen adaptation until last year, when my nieces and nephews invited my children to join in an abridged staging of the musical (basically highlights with connecting narration), as a summer diversion for the extended family. As we cleaned up after the show I impulsively bought the Frederick Davidson version on Audible and started listening. Over the next several weeks of commuting I fell in love with the brick and bought it on paper too.

We now own the 25th anniversary concert and the Tom Hooper film on BD. My kids will often put in one or the other and sing along. (They always skip "Lovely Ladies" and "Master of the House".) They swoon over Alfie Boe the way some kids swoon over Justin Bieber. A couple of them started reading the brick but never finished. I won't force them; they can enjoy it later in life.

So I was introduced to the book by Schönberg and Boublil, even though I have never seen a full live staging of the musical.

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Re: Bonjour from a recent convert

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:24 pm

Welcome!

Glad you're enjoying the book after seeing the show! Hope to see you posting more too.
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Re: Bonjour from a recent convert

Postby Acaila » Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:35 pm

I've already said hi but I will say so again :D Hello and welcome! Thanks for sharing your story about how you got into it! Is the audio book version good? I only realised on reading your post that I haven't actually heard much about audio versions.
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Re: Bonjour from a recent convert

Postby R the Cynic » Thu Jul 11, 2013 11:49 pm

Hi and welcome! An audiobook of the Brick sounds interesting, I wouldn't mind looking into that..... I looked into reading les mis after seeing the musical also. Hope to see you around!
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Re: Bonjour from a recent convert

Postby Rachel » Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:52 am

Hi!

I saw the audiobook, isn't it like 48 hours? Impressive!

But I'm glad you're enjoying the brick and that your kids are enjoying the musical and Alfie Boe!
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Re: Bonjour from a recent convert

Postby Western Rover » Fri Jul 12, 2013 1:33 pm

Thank you all for your welcome.

Rachel wrote:I saw the audiobook, isn't it like 48 hours? Impressive!


True, but The Wheel of Time is 10 times that long, and lots of people read that (not me). I commute 60~90 minutes each day, and I also listen while I'm doing house work, yard work, etc. After the mid-point I "cheated" a little by also reading the normal way as I found time here and there.

Acaila wrote:Is the audio book version good? I only realised on reading your post that I haven't actually heard much about audio versions.


Frederick Davidson is an acquired taste. Read the Audible reviews for his version of War and Peace as well as for Les Mis. It took me a little while to get used to him, but he did a great job with all the French names and words.

Rachel wrote:But I'm glad you're enjoying the brick and that your kids are enjoying the musical and Alfie Boe!


Last December I took them to a concert with Alfie Boe and Tom Brokaw, where Boe sang "Bring Him Home" (was the composer playing a practical joke on the singer with those high notes?) and some non-Mis songs. On the way there, they weren't interested in anyone but Boe, but on the way home they were talking delightedly about the entire concert, including Brokaw's presentation, and the organist's solo. So Boe introduced them to some wider culture.

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Re: Bonjour from a recent convert

Postby Acaila » Fri Jul 12, 2013 2:15 pm

"Bring Him Home" (was the composer playing a practical joke on the singer with those high notes?)


Actually quite the opposite! :D Valjean was originally written as a baritone role, but when they brought the show to London to rework it into the form we know it today, they cast Colm Wilkinson, a tenor, and wrote the song to suit his voice. And many a performer since has no doubt hated him for it! (There's a well known parody by Forbidden Broadway that uses the tune to lyrics like "God it's high! This song's too high! Pity me, change the key. Bring it down! Bring it down!" etc. I loved that in some behind the scenes footage from the movie, both Colm (who they cast as the Bishop) and Hugh Jackman both mentioned that parody!)

I can speak from experience about how great Les Mis can be for kids and culture. It was the first proper professional theatre show I ever saw (I'd gone on school trips to pantomimes, but nothing comparable), and it sparked an interest in French literature, French history, French language (my language teachers at high school loved me!) as well as the cultural side of things of exploring musicals and composers and performers. It's an accepted fact in my family that I almost certainly wouldn't have gone on to a theatre degree and career were it not for being dragged (in my case it really was dragged!) to Les Mis at the age of 12.
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Re: Bonjour from a recent convert

Postby Joly » Sun Jul 14, 2013 8:37 pm

hello there!
I'm amazed you knew the book Les Misérables is referred to on this forum as 'the brick'. I've only figured that out after being here a week or so (about a week ago). I've never heard that term before in my life. So I read 'the brick' without knowing it was 'the brick'.

I had no idea who Alfie Boe was until today either. How do people learn these things?
I feel terribly uneducated!

But I've known the music by heart for over 20 years, and it's a pleasure to meet you! Come join us in the cafe. It's in board index. Click that then scroll down to Off Topic. Click on General Discussion. then go to Le Cafe Mu(in)sain. It took me quite a while to figure that out. I had been going to someone's page then finding they posted in the cafe then going to the link from there. Guess what? there's a whole lot of other topics as well, i just found that out a few days ago. It's still a bit overwhelming but everyone is so nice.

Jolllly xx
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Re: Bonjour from a recent convert

Postby Morgan » Sun Jul 14, 2013 8:40 pm

Joly, the book is the Brick all over internet Les Mis fandom :P
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Re: Bonjour from a recent convert

Postby Joly » Sun Jul 14, 2013 8:48 pm

Western Rover wrote:I never read the brick or saw any stage or screen adaptation until last year, when my nieces and nephews invited my children to join in an abridged staging of the musical (basically highlights with connecting narration), as a summer diversion for the extended family. As we cleaned up after the show I impulsively bought the Frederick Davidson version on Audible and started listening. Over the next several weeks of commuting I fell in love with the brick and bought it on paper too.

We now own the 25th anniversary concert and the Tom Hooper film on BD. My kids will often put in one or the other and sing along. (They always skip "Lovely Ladies" and "Master of the House".) They swoon over Alfie Boe the way some kids swoon over Justin Bieber. A couple of them started reading the brick but never finished. I won't force them; they can enjoy it later in life.

So I was introduced to the book by Schönberg and Boublil, even though I have never seen a full live staging of the musical.


I was in one of those abridged musicals as well, never saw the musical in any form til I saw the film on the last day at the last showing before it left the theatre, and wept from the time the bishop forgave jean valjean all the way through to the end of the credits- signing the words and whispering them to myself so as not to disturb the other theatre goers but couldn't help some sobs escaping at times. (my frock was wet with tears!)

Which translation did you read? Which translation was the audible?
And I saw you mentioned War and Peace, I'm reading the Pevear/Volokhonsky translation and I love it, which translation is Frederick Davidson reading?

How exciting! I've bought that 25th anniversary dvd today, but the lad forgot to put it in the case so have to go back and pick up the disk tomorrow! £2 charity shop, bargain.

Jolllly x
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Re: Bonjour from a recent convert

Postby Joly » Sun Jul 14, 2013 8:51 pm

Morgan wrote:Joly, the book is the Brick all over internet Les Mis fandom :P

I never met any fans before, except briefly at the flash mob. Oh, and Cam who works in the Newcastle Waterstones, but he only read the book and didn't know the songs. I didn't know there were any fans all over the net til I joined this page a couple weeks ago. As soon as i saw it i thought OH YES that's for me!

(i don't like shortening Les Misérables to Les Mis either, but It seems everyone else does!)
It's still a bit amazing that other people have the same passion for the best novel ever written that I do, and that makes me very happy.

Love, Jolllly x
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Re: Bonjour from a recent convert

Postby Morgan » Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:03 pm

Joly wrote:
Morgan wrote:Joly, the book is the Brick all over internet Les Mis fandom :P


I never met any fans before, except briefly at the flash mob. I didn't know there were any fans all over the net til I joined this page a couple weeks ago.

(i don't like shortening Les Misérables to Les Mis either, but It seems everyone else does!)


Love, Jolllly x


Ayup, you and me basically have opposite fandom experiences, I've been into internet fandoms for various things for most of a decade but only got into Les Misérables this year. (Sorry if I sound like I'm being snappy/condescending or anything, it is not intentional. Was trying to be helpful since you don't seem to be from the internet, or at least not the fandomy bit...)

Western Rover, sorry for wandering into your intro thread and talking to Joly and not you :lol: Hi!
I'm well impressed by your being able to get through an audiobook that long :mrgreen: I tend to get bored and switch to paper/ebook if an audiobook is more than a few hours long, Les Misérables would definitely have me wandering off to Project Gutenberg by about Waterloo at the latest :P
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Re: Bonjour from a recent convert

Postby Western Rover » Mon Jul 22, 2013 2:55 am

Joly wrote:hello there!
I'm amazed you knew the book Les Misérables is referred to on this forum as 'the brick'. I've only figured that out after being here a week or so (about a week ago).


I'm the type of person who reads a forum for months, in some cases years, before I ever post anything. I'd seen 'the brick' referred to in several threads that I never contributed to.

Joly wrote:Which translation did you read? Which translation was the audible?


Charles Weber, according to one of the Audible reviewers. There doesn't appear to be any official indication of the translator.

Joly wrote:And I saw you mentioned War and Peace, I'm reading the Pevear/Volokhonsky translation and I love it, which translation is Frederick Davidson reading?


Louise and Aylmer Maude, officially. I looked at a library copy of the P&V translation, and after a couple pages decided it would drive me crazy to have to keep jumping to the footnotes for the translation of the French phrases. But I would put up with an audiobook that had all the footnotes read in the text at the spot where they arise (as happens with Pratchett's Discworld audiobooks).

Morgan wrote:I'm well impressed by your being able to get through an audiobook that long :mrgreen: I tend to get bored and switch to paper/ebook if an audiobook is more than a few hours long, Les Misérables would definitely have me wandering off to Project Gutenberg by about Waterloo at the latest :P


If I had the choice I would read on a paper book held in my hand. I read the audiobook only because that's the only way I could have squeezed it into my schedule. I'm just amazed that I never wanted to abandon it and go to the next audiobook; I've done that with much shorter books, as my time is precious to me.

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Re: Bonjour from a recent convert

Postby MamzelleCombeferre » Mon Jul 29, 2013 9:36 pm

Hi Western Rover! :) Thanks so much for sharing how you got into Les Mis and kudos for finishing the audio book because 48 hours is pretty intense even with spreading it out! :shock:
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Re: Bonjour from a recent convert

Postby CC21106 » Wed Oct 19, 2016 7:33 pm

Frederick Davidson is an acquired taste. Read the Audible reviews for his version of War and Peace as well as for Les Mis. It took me a little while to get used to him, but he did a great job with all the French names and words.


I'm having real trouble listening to the Audible audiobook. The reader sounds to me as if he is sneering the whole way through. Audible has a bunch of editions by different readers and I happened on on I can't stand. And now I'm not a subscriber any more so I can't get another one.
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