EVER FELT LIKE YOU’VE BEEN HERE BEFORE?
Audiobooks in Lockdown! And so it’s February the 2nd…. again! For those of you who don’t know, February the 2nd is Groundhog Day… the day made famous around the world by the film ‘Groundhog Day’ starring Bill Murray. I have to admit it is one of my favourite films, but then I was always a fan of Bill Murray.
There’s something magical about this movie where a cynical weatherman suddenly finds his heart through having to live the same day over and over and over……………….. and over………………………… and over and over again.
So, if you’re one of the three people in the world left to see Groundhog Day (it’s bound to be on countless television stations over the next 24 hours) please do watch it.
Of course, Groundhog Day has taken on a completely new meaning this year… the idea of reliving one day over and over again is something we all know far more about than we ever did prior to 2020.
The COVID-19 crisis and lockdown, certainly in the UK and I’m sure around the world, have made us all realise both how lucky some of us are and how unfortunate and tragic this situation has been for many others.
For me with a family, a nice house and a garden and lots of music to work on I have to admit, although it is driving me a little mad, I can’t complain. Also of course no one close to me has been affected by this horrible disease, so I feel blessed in some ways to be able to write this blog with a positive note.
The last year has of course created challenges for everybody, even those with their glass as half full as my own, have found it quite challenging. In my particular case though I have had something I could work on with friends and family which made it all more bearable and gave a point to this enforced imprisonment.
LOCKDOWN AND AUDIOBOOKS
In short the past year has given me the chance with Steve and Elaine and everybody else involved in the Rockford’s Rock Opera project to complete Lost on Infinity Part 2 now called The End of Infinity. This is our new 3 hour story, the follow up to our award-winning audio book for children and picks up the tale of Moog and Rockford after their return to the world.
I’m obviously not going to say too much about the story except it’s packed full of surprises, twists and evolutionary wrong turnings!
ROCKFORD’S ROCK OPERA ON YOTO
We’re premiering the story on YOTO (Lost on Infinity, The King of Nowhere and The Spooo Who Grew audio stories from March 2021, The End of Infinity audiobook from April 2021), a wonderful, new children’s audio player which is now becoming a huge hit around the world. The Yoto player using cards allowing children (aged 2 – 12) to listen to audiobooks and their own recordings on their own personal player.
Crucially the Yoto player doesn’t have a screen (although it does have a lovely pixel display) and so although many of our Rockford’s Rock Opera’s audio stories are very popular on Apps, on screens, we’ve made the decision that audio should be our primary focus.
Of course, Rockford’s Rock Opera’s Lost on Infinity, the King of Nowhere and The Spooo who Grew stories have always been audiobooks with the pressures of the commercial world, we’ve always had to look to create pictures and videos to go with the stories so that they could be made available on as APPS the most popular platforms like mobile phones and tablets.
SCREEN FREE PLAY
However, there is a huge move away from screens for children – especially since they have to use them so often during their schooling these days. The Yoto player allows children to listen to the stories away from a tempting screen, to play, to imagine, maybe just to shut their eyes and to use their minds to explore all the amazing worlds and creatures in our audio adventures.
This is what we’d always hoped for our audio stories for kids, something different about them because they allowed children (and adults) to use their imaginations.
A story I often tell about my own background was that I was brought up in the Middle East – my father was a civil engineer– and so in the late 60s and early 70s in that part of the world, in Kuwait to be specific, there was no television for children, or no ‘western’ television anyway. All I had to listen to were my mother’s records which consisted largely of Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals and a few Disney audio books on LP. I think this is where I developed my love, not only of music, but also storytelling and of using my imagination… perhaps then it’s no surprise that I have ended up quite creative as I had to in those important former formative years in which to use my mind for inspiration and not just stare at a screen.
MORE NEWS SOON
There will be lots more news regarding the End of Infinity audio book over the coming months but please, if you do have young children, have a look at a Yoto player – they’re fantastic although they’re around £70 to buy it’s one of the best investments we’ve made over the last year for our son who’s 8 (and so perhaps slightly older than you might imagine would be right for a player like but this in fact it’s now an absolute favourite).
I’ll be posting more blogs over the coming weeks and months all about the End of Infinity audiobook, about all of our stories and how lock down allowed me to spend the time that I needed to dedicate myself to the recording of all the music sound effects, voice-overs and everything else needed to create such an immersive audio world. Of course I wouldn’t be able to do any of it without the collaboration of lots of fantastic actors and musicians all around the country (and indeed the world) who we’ve worked with – Rockford’s paws have well and truly reached out across the world.
And so for now Happy Groundhog Day and although this day does seem slightly reminiscent of many more that have come before let’s all hope that this Groundhog Day is the only one in our lives where we really feel like we’re repeating ourselves! Look out for the End of Infinity and all of Rockford’s Rock Opera’s audiobook stories on Yoto soon.