I danced with a man, who danced with a girl who danced with the Prince of Wales


I lie, like a lying toad, but don’t let it worry you. I did once meet the Prince of Wales, very briefly, in 1997, and he seemed OK if you like that sort of thing, but thereby hangs another tale

quite… but welcome to my secret — for I am none other than ‘the aunt of the Voice of Siri’. You are impressed; I can hear your gasps and squeaks of delight from where I’m sitting.. This is all about name dropping, (uurgh) and knowing people but not

The problem with this claim to fame is that it depends on whether you use an Iphone, or a dented tin can with a bit of string attached. If you belong to the latter, Siri will mean nothing to you – zilcho – but for those of us with Iphones Siri is a wondrous thing, a voice that answers to such orders as ‘Give me the names of vegetarian restaurants in Brighton!” to “What time is it in Rome?” or just: “Call Mary.” The lovely voice of this robotic being planted deep in the heart of ones Iphone is none other than that of my nephew – Jon Briggs.

Jon’s warblings aren’t just serving iphone users in the UK, his tones are heard across land and sea, while other stuff floats out mellifluously from behind the wheel of all sorts of car, on account of his vocal skills in the Satnav department. The fact is… my nephew’s vocal chords just get everywhere. He is known as ‘Daniel’ by Garmin, and when he sits down in his own Range Rover he has the pleasure of talking to himself, and even telling himself where to go, a habit not unknown to many of us. The difference is that when he talks to himself, he does it without moving his lips.

Jon reckons I have played a vital part in his career ever since I gave him a transistor radio in 1870 before his voice broke, and we used to invent hilarious radio programmes from the Planet Zogg, using an ancient tinny tape recorder and splicing the sounds together by pressing down the on/off switch. It was scientific stuff.

Later he did the Christmas slot on Radio Oxford. It was a morning pantomime that gained some of its inspiration from such classics as Captain Kremmen and the Krells, but might have outdone even that, with a host of characters and effects, and jokes of such sophistication as “what’s black and sticky…” the answer, of course, being “a stick”. I fear that such witticisms are no longer part of Jon’s repertoire.

This summer he had a nasty cold, but despite the snot he and my partner saw fit to take me to the local phone shop, and buy a replacement to my aged mobile, which I loved, but belonged to a bygone age, so that only 19th century people, and those from another time-space continuum could access me. When I explained to Mark, the charming shop assistant that the snotty geezer buying the phone was in fact “the voice of Siri”, Mark almost wept with emotion. Jon had to autograph several business cards, and let out noises better than snorts and sniffs to prove that he was indeed the real voice. I am certain that had I gone into the shop with the Prince of Wales, he would never have received such love and admiration as ‘the voice of Siri’.. which is why I am proud to say, “I am aunt of those famous and fabulous vocal chords.”

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