Saturday, 14 April 2012
wireless nights part II
you have to love your lungs. as with all the organs i guess we take them for granted but the function of the lungs is so obvious it makes ignoring them feel just that bit odder. lovely pink functioning lungs are a beautiful thing - makes me wonder just what i was thinking when i was smoking. and now, when i'm proper lurgied up with what may very well be whooping cough (whooping cough!!!) i'm wishing for the day when breathlessness doesn't appear.
which brings me to the radio. i guess i belong to a generation where spoken word was more prevalent - listen with mother, jackanory etc, all those oliver postage classics starting off as if a story - and when i was sick i would get tucked up in bed and my mother would read to me. it seemed a time when spoken word was more alive - will, i wonder, people from today get the same feeling from their iPads?
which brings me neatly to wireless nights part II, ideal listening for lying on the couch in between bouts of coughing. maybe this one doesn't quite catch my imagination as much as the last one - the minister guy talking about evening prayer in part I, that was just lovely. unfortunately if you didn't listen to it, now you can't. bbc, there are some things you should be leaving available for more than seven days!
anyway, this time jarvis takes a wander down to al alvarez's house by way of listening to some late night poker and some badger watching, either of which activity is appealing. now it's true neither me nor t have actually been badger watching but we've been out and about for bats, comets, conjunctions, picnics (if you've never had a night picnic you so, so should), aurorae and everything in between. so badgers - we'll get to that. the poker thing - back in the day i used to go down to washington square to hang out with the chess and backgammon guys. now chess i can't play for toffee, indeed once got slapped in the face by my mate mike for being so bad at it, but backgammon is a while other kettle of coconuts. i never played any of these hustler guys for money - waaay too tempting and far too easy to lose a ton of money - but great for learning a certain technique. i did, at that time, play darts for beers with cops, which was more night time but another story.
i think this time, what got me was the contrived nature of the programme. while i kind of like the artificiality of it, the notion of 'night people' rankles just a bit. all over the course of the day you find interesting folk doing interesting, odd and fantastical stuff. it's not a night shift thing. the chess/backgammon guys were all day time, bright sunshine. i explored pool halls and slot car racing around the same time. i remember sitting in a park in macau listening to the old geezers blethering in the sun.
and it was that i found most interesting in this programme, the incidental sounds. i've been having a conversation with geo for some time that a sound recording is more evocative than a picture, that note taking is more effective for the memory than a photograph. so when i hear the poker players girding i'm hearing recordings i've made of street noise in vienna, listening to voices of people on the bus to croydon.
and i kind of like the notion that this, in my head at least, is what jarvis cocker is trying to get at, that there's a certain something about listening we should do more of. maybe the next time you're tempted to interfere with your view of the world by sticking your camera/iphone etc in between the pair of you, it might be an idea not to do that, but to utilise the sound recording function instead, sit yourself down, maybe take a few notes then wait for about a year - see then if you flick past it like you do with your images....
*i should admit that while i do sound recordings on my phone both my phone and i are too crap to actually get them up loaded - this situation i absolutely will address. recordings i currently have -
waves on the shore at durness
footsteps on ice and a gale at strathpuffer
breathless after a hill in sutherland
police sirens in vienna