Like our genial host, Michael Ian Black, I have never read ‘Jude the Obscure’ by Thomas Hardy. I have, however, seen the 1996 film adaptation starring Christopher Eccleston, Kate Winslet and Rachel Griffiths.
I had rented it from Ritz video store in 1998 when I was 14, my Mum’s friends came in as I was watching it and thought she was letting me watch porn. No, she was letting me watch classic literature and a ’90s film that Kate Winslet was in, but Mum was horrified at the thought of it for years afterwards. I won’t talk of the film any further as I don’t want to spoil anything for first time Juders, like Michael.
I came across the podcast via an ad in ‘Unspooled’ and thought “That’ll be right up my alley,” and indeed, it is.
I have enjoyed Michael Ian Black’s work since ‘Ed’ was regularly screened on Channel 4 and was re-introduced to him when my university flatmate told me that I had to watch ‘Wet Hot American Summer’. I agreed to watch it because Janeane Garofalo is a badass, and now it’s one of my favourite films. Also, if you’ve not watched ‘Burning Love’ get on it.
So what’s the appeal of listening to someone reading a book aloud for the first time? LITERALLY EVERYTHING. Obviously MIB’s delivery is excellent, as an English person I appreciate the accent work and pronunciation of tricky words – I grew up near Bicester and Towcester and people really struggle with saying them out loud. I enjoy his asides and commentary on the book. I now want to try a cruise to New Jersey and can’t wait to hear what he thinks as the book progresses.
So if you find you have half an hour to spare, settle in and join Michael Ian Black, coming to you from the Jill Schwartz Memorial Library and revel in the Obscure.