(First published in Parkinson’s Movement 2013)
Many years ago, I was at my parents’ house when the phone rang. Naturally, I answered it. On the other end I found an old family friend, whose voice I recognised immediately. ‘Hello David’, she said. ‘Ah, no, it’s Pete’, I replied.’ ‘Very funny, David.’ ‘It’s not David, it’s Pete.’ A small pause. Some repetition. Eventually, she became rather irate. ‘Look, David’, she said, ‘I’m getting very tired of this …’ She would not accept that my voice was not that of my father, they were so similar. Several years later, on the day he died, the phone rang once again. Continue reading
Like many of us, I simply cannot bear the sound of my own voice, so I have yet to listen to this interview which appeared on the Danny Pike Show this Monday – it starts at 1.09 in.
I do know that the aspects of voice are many, that it means many different things, but that each one of them is down to identity. Whether it’s authorial voice, the voicing of a chord, the collective voice of a populus, or the simple result of air being moved over vocal chords, the voice is something that is instantly recognisable. Why do we not like the sound of our own voice? Is it because we don’t want to be confronted with who we are?
Parkinson’s affects your voice. It gradually softens, slurs, diminishes.
As it does so, another aspect of what makes you you slowly fades.
Eventually, the words ‘I didn’t recognise you’ will be the one I hear most.
Sometimes, I don’t recognise myself. Perhaps that’s why.
I’m truly not convinced I can listen.
For more on early onset Parkinson’s, see my book Slender Threads, available both as an e-book and a real, paper book. 30% of royalties goes to fund research into Parkinson’s.