His Masters Voice and the King’s Speech

I find it amazing & wonderful how a thought can arise simply because of a single comment that another person just happens to have made in conversation, which is perhaps an e.g. of “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts”. ie the significance of what transpires could only happen because of the two people coming together.

Well, that’s what stimulated this post. It’s as a result of a conversation with our wonderful family friend, Diana Speed. Many of you may know the name and may well have heard her reading the news on Radio 4 in the past, and perhaps on that memorable occasion last year when the emotion of a COVID related news story, which she wrote, could be heard in her wonderfully warm and gentle voice, which then rather ironically placed her in the news herself.

We were having a virtual meeting just last week, to talk about a plan to work together, when she happened to make a passing remark about a ‘scratched record’, in the context of educating children (a passion we both happen to have). It was then that it suddenly hit me, a ‘scratched record’ (which as some of you will know, we had to avoid if we wanted to enjoy music and the like back before the age of digital, although the record is making a come back) what a perfectly simple, graphical way to help explain the significance of #trauma, especially #emotional trauma, and how it can leave a potentially indelible mark on a child’s speech, and potentially trigger the likes of a stammer/stutter. 

And of course, the deeper the ‘scratch in the record’ the more intense the interruption in the sound. This is where my fascination with neuroscience kicks in, because the image of a scratched record also helps to illustrate the relevance and significance of the neuronal activity required for a child to speak. The implications are that the longer the ‘scratch’ remains in place the more the child or the adult, in the case of “The Kings Speech”, will need the necessary care and attention. Plus, we need to reduce the risk of the neurones ‘learning’ to misfire, which of course equates to ‘the needle getting stuck’. 

But I can’t leave it at that, because given the neurones can learn to misfire, due to neuroplasticity, they can of course with the aid of a specialist relearn to fire in a more normal pattern. That is why the acting of Geoffrey Rush who plays Lionel Logue in “The Kings Speech” is such a masterpiece, as he helps King George the VI to cope with a stammer, and in my view also deserved an Academy Award. 

Perhaps it worth revisiting the film again?