Reviewed by Gwydion McCarthy
I don't know what it is about a woman's voice. Women's voices make me weep, sing and get a hard-on in microseconds. Simple syllables pouring out of their mouths can change everything. I listen for each nuance, each tone, each power-packed syllable and my mind goes into overtime interpreting, reacting, listening. It's amazing how some words, spoken just the right way, can strike right at the heart of me. I've always reacted better to women's voices than men's -- I've always been more apt to pay attention to a woman teacher, for example, than a male.
So, when I first heard that Susie Bright (perhaps best known as the Supreme Editrix of the Best American Erotica series and the Herotica series, but also famous in her own right as the provocateur of nude slave boy tea parties) had a radio program on audible.com/susiebright/, I was excited. Having just finished listening (and listening, and listening, and listening) to our own Susannah Indigo's sultry tones read to us The Reinvention of Velvet, Softly, I thought to myself, "Another Sex Goddess' dulcet vocalizations! I must have them!"
Well, I wasn't disappointed. Susie has a very lovely voice. She sounds all at once like a wise, knowing madam, a sex therapist, and your Aunt Franny from California (yes, you know the one -- that sexy aunt, who somehow leaves the window drapes open because she doesn't see anything wrong with changing into her bathing suit standing there in front of the window. The one who says, "What's wrong with flesh, anyway? It's just skin!"). There is an open, wicked innocence to her nature that makes it a little amusing or even surprising when she casually mentions this porn king or that sex worker with the same tone of voice as someone might describe a plumber or a house wife.
Without voice acting at all, she manages to show a range of mien. When she is discussing the silliness of the world, you can hear a kind of feisty annoyance. When she's being teasing and sweet you can feel her empathy and mischief. When she's trying to keep an open mind, you can hear it creaking open. It's a lot of fun to listen to her, and I find myself smiling many times through the course of her show. She doesn't sound careworn or weary, nothing like any stereotype of a sex-crazed pornographer ever dreamt up. Susie is a perfectly decent person. You can hear it in her voice.
The show is produced (as Susie shared with us in one of the episodes) at a radio station in California where Susie lives. She takes great pains to make certain there is a lot of variance in the material she presents -- this is not one long, droning package, but rather a buffet of interesting tidbits, tantalizing morsels, and some good-for-you granola as well.
The interface for audible.com/susiebright/ is not a problem, either. They have managed to perfect downloading audio files from their website in such a way that it's difficult to copy them and thus spread them around. Still, you can attach one of the many MP3 players and take Susie with you -- to bed, on the plane, in the car, wherever.
My favorite bits in her shows have always revolved around her personal sexuality. In one show, she read a very hot reader letter about how to pick up the hotel staff in any particular hotel in which you are staying -- and then supposedly set about to try out these techniques, to no avail. But the sexy part was that she thought about it, was really willing to try it, and did. How refreshing! Also her description of the naked slave boy tea party was very humorous and sexy -- and nothing like you expect it might be!
That's why I keep going back to listen to her -- she's surprising and her show makes you think about sexuality in atypical ways. For example, she asked her own father (yes, his name is Mr. Bright) to be on her show and explain his studies of Native American sex stories, one of which (a story about Coyote and his extremely long penis) was very funny. Another surprise was an essay revealing her conversation with her daughter about what she does for a living.
She's also quite open to her audience and has read many reader letters over the weeks, which definitely brings an interactive feel to her show. Each letter is treated with judicious respect and dignity, in situations most other talk show hosts would be hard pressed not to giggle (such as a letter from a gentleman who's into infantilism, although his wife is not).
Susie's got a brand new outlet, a new way to reach people with this audible.com/susiebright/ series and I hope she continues to shock, astound, surprise, arouse, cajole and entertain in many weeks (dare I say years?) to come. Now, a new episode's just arrived at audible.com/susiebright/, so look for me In Bed with Susie Bright!