Preview for Eleanor McDowell & Hana Walker-Brown’s series of ‘documentary pop songs’ - Forever Young. Coming soon to Radio 4. Listen here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03hxjr7
Very strange to hear Unfictional host Bob Carlson pronounce ‘Market Harborough’ - transformed somehow into an exotic place by the American accent!
Click through to listen.
We’re putting on a pre-Halloween event next week in the beautiful candlelit crypt of one of Bristol’s oldest churches. Join us for tall tales, adventurous audio and spooky stories.
Beautiful piece by Eleanor McDowall and Jude Rodgers for the latest series of BBC Radio 4’s Short Cuts (Falling Tree). Click through to listen.
You Must Take the A Train
Great doc for Radio 4 presented by Adam Gopnik (New Yorker) and produced by Judith Kampfner. Jazz, subway tribes, graffiti and people watching.
Originally broadcast June 2012 but had another outing yesterday. Click through picture to listen.
Nice blog by the lovely Maja Nyvang in Copenhagen, who i once had the great pleasure of sharing a house with in Granada for a few weeks!
Yes, it’s in Danish but I muddled through with Google translate and pretty much got the gist! I love the sound of the Copenhagen Radio Cinema.
New feature by Julian May, who may just be my favourite beeb producer.
"The novelist and poet Michèle Roberts presents a history of absinthe, and its influence on art and writing.
Toulouse-Lautrec, Verlaine, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Oscar Wilde and Hemingway - all are united by their love of absinthe. In the late C19th it became so popular that 5pm, when absinthe was served, became known as ‘the Green Hour’.
Artists celebrated this bitter-sweet, aperitif. The way it changes from clear green to milky white with the addition of water is an alcoholic metaphor for inspiration and artistic transformation. But absinthe is very strong, and was thought to be hallucinogenic.
Artists’ subjects and modes of expression changed radically in the later C19th. Artists and writers seemed to pursue lives of reckless extremity. Michèle investigates how all this became associated with absinthe. A symbol of the demi-monde, ‘the green fairy’ was demonised and banned in much of Europe (including in France), and America. At first an aid to inspiration, did absinthe lead to fondness, in the Shakespearian sense of foolishness? Did absinthe make the art grow fonder?
Michèle meets George Rowley, absinthe entrepreneur, who initiates her into the rituals of its consumption and Marie-Claude Delahaye of the absinthe museum in Auvers-sur-Oise, where Van Gogh lived, who helped Rowley recreate absinthe using old recipes. The historian Jad Adams and Pataphysician Kevin Jackson explain the myths surrounding the spirit; its rise, decline and fall - and recent resurgence. Barnaby Wright of the Courtauld Institute explores the fascination of absinthe for the young Picasso. And, under its influence, Michèle writes a poem. Maurice Riordan, editor of Poetry Review, judges whether absinthe inspires or wrecks her work.”
Click through to listen.
Picture credit here: http://czechabsinthe.wordpress.com/2007/11/04/still-life-with-hills-absinth/
I’ve been enjoying exploring the website of new(ish) radio co-op Open Audio, set up by producers Nina Perry, Iain Chambers and Vivienne Perry. All very inspiring. We’ll be hearing lots of good programmes from them in 2013 and beyond I’m sure, starting with Nina Perry’s new feature ‘A Song of Bricks and Mortar’ for Radio 3’s Between the Ears, which takes its inspiration from this quote by Benjamin Britten:
"Composing is like driving down a foggy road toward a house. Slowly you see more details of the house - the colour of the slates and bricks, the shape of the windows. The notes are the bricks and the mortar of the house."
"Via a compositional road trip, artists in the process of creating and making give insight into their own personal creative process, and what drives them to create. Like a play within a play or a documentary that documents itself - this feature dips its toe into the infinite and timeless nature of artistic creativity as an integral part of being human."
by Jude Rogers
"Very early this coming Sunday morning, and very late on Sunday night, I will be doing something unusual. I will be speaking to you.
Turn on Radio 4 at 6.05am or 11.30pm, and you will find me sitting close to the microphone, presenting an episode of Something Understood, Radio 4′s weekly half-hourly tour of an unusual subject. Two thirds of the programmes are religious or spiritual, but I’m in the secular camp, exploring the human desire to run away or disappear through music, prose and poetry.
The name of my episode – which may ring bells for some Caught By The River readers – is called Vanishing Point. It takes ideas behind the columns I wrote for the site a few years ago, ideas I’m working up into a larger project, in a very different direction.
Writing for radio is a strange new thing for me. It has an odd magic to it, quite unlike the everyday act of getting a few simple words down. At the risk of stating the obvious, it’s all about sound. It’s about the weight of words, the half-rhymes, the gentle drop of a consonant, the roundness of a vowel, the way a syllable arrives, stays for a second, then falls away, gone. This is writing to be read out loud in your own voice, not to be offered up on the page or the screen for the internal voices of others. It is also language as it used to be, before pens and paper and mechanical keys, writing to be heard, and not seen.
It is writing to be fitted around a much larger soundscape, too. My episode traces the motives behind our desires to flee things, in moments of quiet contemplation, fear, or intoxicant-fuelled escape routes. I add poetry by DH Lawrence to the mix, and prose by John Updike and Virginia Woolf, plus music by Radiohead, Grouper, Jefferson Airplane, Joni Mitchell…and in the middle of all this, I have to be there in the listener’s ear. A central presence. Willing you – hello you – to consider all these options.
It’s terrifying, in a way, but it’s wonderful too. It’s like playing God.
Next Tuesday, I also have a story on Radio 4′s Short Cuts show, one which has forced me think about the power of voices even more acutely. I talk about a C90 cassette that has been in a drawer of mine for years, of my father, and me, and my then-baby brother, and my mum. The experience of hearing words uttered thirty years ago is such a thrilling thing – photographs are so static by comparison, films too rosily nostalgic. But a voice, creeping out of a speaker, with no context, no form, a ghost made of soundwaves, so ambiguous, but so real…
…it makes you focus.
You tune in.
You become hyper-aware of every dynamic.
Every nuance of speech.
Every second of silence.
It’s like nothing else.
We all have powerful relationships with the sounds of other humans through the singers we love. But a spoken voice – with its weighted words, half-rhymes, consonants, vowels, syllables, gone – can get under the skin deeply too. Radio writing makes you realise the charge that sounds really have, how they work, what they do – and where they can go.”
A Spring Clean Symphony
Beautiful new composed feature by Nina Perry for BBC Radio 4 (Loftus Media). Go Nina!
"Here’s the bottom line: Start playing with sound. Think of a story you’d like to tell, about your friends, your neighborhood, even just yourself, and try to imagine how you could make it come alive in sound. What would surprise the world about these people and places that are so familiar to you? Go around your neighborhood with your recorder and mic and just listen to what’s around you. Try to think of what the sonic imprint of the place you live is — what sounds are unique to it? What sounds say “home” to you? Get in the habit of thinking sonically. Once you start doing it, it’ll be hard to stop. It’s as if you discover a whole parallel world that you’d only been half noticing before.
Start editing the sounds you record — even if you don’t know what you’re doing. You can find some helpful technical guides on Transom, workshops to listen to from the Third Coast International Audio Festival, and storytelling guides from Ira and Duke’s John Biewen. Put a story with some of those sounds up on Cowbird. Send it to me: I’ll listen. So will others.
And, speaking of listening, do a lot of it. The best way to learn how to construct a story is to pay attention to how the pros do it. Next time you hear a story on This American Life that you adore, listen to how they decided to build the narrative. What questions did Ira ask? What was funny or interesting about it? What details did they include that made the story come to life, which painted a vivid image of the characters or the scene in your mind?
Next time you go to a new place, bring your recorder with you. Use it as a tool for discovery, an excuse to talk to strangers, a way into this new, unfamiliar place. You’ll be an audio storyteller in no time.”
Read the full piece here and check out Tina’s beautiful tumblr here: http://tinaantolini.tumblr.com/
After the Gold Rush - The Poetry of California (BBC Radio 3)
This is just one of those programmes I wish I had made! Fascinating and beautifully put together. I think Julian May is one of the best producers we have and poet Dana Gioia is a warm, generous voice as presenter.
Readings from some of the best Californian poets of past and present and music from Joni Mitchell, Tom Waits and John Adams.
I love Dana’s ideas about how the epic scale of California’s landscape has informed its poetry - “the overpowering presence of nature, raw and untameable on the western edge of North America: the dramatic Pacific coastline, the vast mountain ranges, the towering redwoods, enormous deserts and gentle valleys where humanity, constantly arriving in greater numbers, is the interloper.”
Dear Vermont from State of the Re:Union.
“Every episode of State of the Re:Union, we ask listeners to write a letter to their city. For our Vermont episode, we featured writer and musician Robin MacArthur’s love letter to her home state. The piece is scored by Red Heart the Ticker, the band Robin plays in with her husband Tyler Gibbons.
Photography and multimedia production by Sara Brooke Curtis, with help from Laura Starecheski.”