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My great friend on twitter @ToomeyWright asked a question today” who would you like to listen to reading a phone book?

So many wonderful voices came up – those of Morgan Freeman, Stephen Fry, Anthony Bourdain, Martin Sheen, Peter O'Toole, John Gielgud, Donald Sutherland, Michael Caine, David Reyne, Frank Thring, Winston Churchill, Mirka Mora, Billy Connolly, Penelope Keith, Clive James yet there was only one voice I could come up with: my late Dad.

How I miss his voice. His wonderful, soothing and lyrical voice. His turn of phrase, his smile that seemed to be reflected in his words; his ability to make magic out of syllables and his passion – all rolled in to the greatest instrument that the world has ever known … the human voice.

My Dad was not an orator. He was not skilled in the art of using his voice to manipulate or bend people to his will. His voice was simply his voice and he used it to great advantage in his life because it was a very, very kind voice.

When he arrived in his adopted country from his home, back in 1949, he found that his accent was hard to understand. In order to work and communicate, he had to alter his way of speaking. And that is what he did.

Merely speaking English was not sufficient for him to get on in his new country with his new wife: he had to adapt and change. Despite my Dad speaking English, his accent could have prevented him from reaching great heights in his new life “ downunder “ so he adapted and worked hard to “ fit in. “

As a little child , my father still retained that magic that his home country had given him: a belief in magic, fairies that live under bridges and trolls that may have swum across from Scandanavia to taunt the fairies… but Dad always made sure that the Fairies prevailed and triumphed in his tales told to me and my brothers as we sat in the bath tub and he wove his magic and spun his tales of gold,.

I still have vivid recollections of sitting in the bath with my older brothers, I was maybe 2 or 3, my brothers 4 and 6, laughing with glee, as Dad told us that we were the three little pigs and he was the Big Bad Wolf ready to cook us and eat us… I swear, to this day, that the water got hotter.

His voice was like silver and gold and his magic was priceless.

Over the years, he protected me… sometimes too much … but sometimes he knew the wisdom in backing off and staying quiet. He had this knack of knowing when to step in and when to back off.

He spoke out when my daughter needed to be brought back in to the family.

When my marriage broke up, it was my Dad whose voice and soothing words gave me solace and comfort.

Dad always knew when to speak and when to keep quiet. 

When Dad got older and started to become frail and fragile, I sought refuge in his love and his wonderful voice. I NEEDED to hear him speak and hear his lovely words.

Yes, he could have read a telephone book and I would have been overjoyed to hear his words.

Fortunately, we, as a family, have recordings of him singing. Sometimes, I can barely listen because hearing him makes my heart ache with the missing of him.

I can no longer hear my father speak and tell me to stop being foolish, or to calm down or to go off and " read the telephone book."

But I am one of the lucky ones. I have over 500 of my Dad’s songs to listen to, when he sings and speaks to me from his heart, his soul and his love of me and my family.

While I do not have my Dad speaking to me, I do have him singing to me.


I believe that my Dad could sing the telephone book and his rendition of “ The Telephone Book “ would have been marvellous. Probably be a top ten on the hits of my charts anyway.

The voice I want most to hear reading the telephone book is my Dad’s.

Because he loved me and none of the other voices did.


Hearing someone who you love and who loves you speaking with you and communicating with you.

A telephone book is full of unimportant numbers by the thousands.

No matter who reads it, that voice must be, not a generic actor voice, but a voice from our hearts.

And that is my Dad.

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