Monday, May 9, 2011

Oliver Putland Wrote Back to Me!

Back on January 31, 2011 I posted an article about Oliver Putland. You can read it here.  Before I posted it, I sent it to Oli to see if he had any additions or corrections to make. I got a message back from him that was so nice, but I didn't want to print it unless he said it was OK. Well, he wrote again (back in March but I don't check YT very much-lol) and said I could! Now everyone can read about how funny and nice he is and what life was like for him back in the Angel Voices (pre-Libera) days. When he talks about being energetic as a kid, you can totally see that in some of the videos! lol. Thank you, Oli!  :D

Hello there, Lexi. Hope all is well in Chicago.

Sorry I didn't get back to you quite as quickly as I would have liked, but busy busy busy!

It's funny you talking about my singing all those years ago as it seems like another existence altogether. Like some film one remembers watching, it was so long ago.

Thanks for the flattering comments, there. Always nice to hear people's reactions to anything I've done.

Libera- or Angel Voices as it was called in my day (Bloody hell- 'in my day', it makes it sound ancient!) has really blossomed into quite a big thing now hasn't it? I remember it was one of the most exciting experiences of my life, both exhausting and exhilarating in equal measure and part of me can't quite comprehend that people are still talking about it at all, least of which people on the other side of the globe!

I started singing in St Philips Choir at around 1987-88, I must have been around 7 or 8.

My voice soared into the soprano heavens along with the rest of them for about 6 years until one day I was doing jumping jacks in gym class and my voice was unceremoniously jolted into the baritone, in which it still resides today.

When I first started, I was sorted into my house which was Purcell, the others being Attwood, Britten and Tallis- all named after illustrious British classical composers.

I can only assume that other Royal College of Music choirs were given similar houses to join to get a sense of public school style pride and competitiveness, vital to a young boy's education within the Church of England's infrastructure.

Contrary to what you may think, I wasn't very good at first.

Most of the time, if a TV show wanted the choir on it, I would be placed at the back or at worst, left out altogether.

This wasn't because I couldn't sing. On the contrary, I've always had perfect pitch and can hear a duff note in a choir of thousands. My problem was I couldn't keep still. In most of those appearances, we were required to appear like angelic monoliths, resolutely singing into a mystic ether of dry ice framed limbo. While all the others stood with a solemn gaze into the middle distance as if in saintly reverence, I jittered about like a grasshopper with the equally saintly reverence of St Vitus. It was only when I was about ten when my body finally calmed down and my volume increased that I became a viable option for Robert Prizeman (our Choirmaster) to put me more centre stage in his productions.

During that time, I did those two TV series you spoke of, but before then we were whisked up and down the UK in rather fun coach journeys, performing in strange, three act stage shows which involved a medley of random numbers, a comedy showcase and complete musical show-stopper.

These were honed, stalwart, never fail productions which always garnered a warm reception wherever we performed them, but I can't help misremembering the show as a weirdly entertaining mixture of something that Enya, Terry Gilliam and Tim Rice may have created in response to either several holy visions, or the consumption of heavily fermented communion wine.

I loved doing those shows and both series were also lots of fun to do, if hard work.

I've got loads of anecdotes, but I won't bore you with them all. I'm aware that even though I'm now in my early thirties, I can still easily sound like an old fart and I'm too excited about the potential of the future to wax lyrical of the past just yet. :-)

All my focus is on my film work now, which I've been steadily working towards as a career since I was about 12, so thanks very much for the mention of Foley Flip. The more publicity I can get for that stuff the better! Oh and thanks for the complements regarding the Website. I think it needs a few more changes to get what I want from it but I'm getting there!

I work for Aardman Animations now, the guys who make Wallace and Gromit. So still in the media biz though very much from the other side of the camera lens now- and very happy this side thank you!

Thanks very much for asking me about the article before printing it, I'm very flattered that you're doing it at all, and if you want to know more, I'll see what I can do. Busy-ness pending.

Take care, and good luck with the blog,



  1. This is a great article. Thank you for sharing it :D It's amazing how he remembers those fun days, I simply don't remember some of the stuff I did when I was 7-12 years old. Maybe I'm experiencing some kind of memory lapse. Maybe he just have exceptionally brilliant memory of Libe... I mean Angel Voices.

  2. Hi, Inna! It does sound like it was really fun! He's a super nice person! :D