Tuesday, February 05, 2008

An Aural Palimpsest.

Tonight an eminent doctor in Alaksa has very kindly agreed to an interview for my new project. However the time difference makes things a little awkward because 1800hrs GMT = 0900hrs AMT.

But how strange and wonderful I think this is: his evening to my morning, his snow and ice to my cool but temperate wind - and the words coming down the wire, bouncing off satellites, and landing in my little room. I have thought up questions and sent them to him by email, and now I am checking my recording device. I shall make notes as well, but sometimes it is difficult to keep track.

Now I am clearing my tapes and, as I do, I listen to words spoken years long before, and immediately I am back there: in a sunny outhouse in Patagonia talking to a descendant of a person I am still writing about; or in an Art Gallery in Manchester talking to a member of the British Council; or in a small office in the cathedral square in Chester talking to a festival organiser. Snippets of a lucky life, I tell myself.

I listen one last time before I regretfully decide to record on top. But maybe, just maybe, some trace of each voice will remain, at least I hope so - like a vague fond memory or an aural palimpsest.

4 Comments:

Blogger jem said...

I have an old dictaphone with some snippets of past times, past friendships recorded on it - some childrens laughter that I studied for an MA project, some drugged induced laughter and some loving answermachine messages (all totally unconnected to each other). I've never quite managed to erase them!

Tue Feb 05, 07:16:00 pm  
Anonymous Clare. said...

That is some list, Jem! I think it is a jolly good job you haven't erased them. It sounds to me that you should keep these for posterity. It's an enviable collection.

Tue Feb 05, 11:00:00 pm  
Blogger Jan said...

One of the loveliest/most precious things I have is a tape of my (then) ten year old eldest son talking with my father who died 15 yrs ago...
IF anyone EVER trashed that, they'd be In Serious Trouble.

Wed Feb 06, 04:25:00 pm  
Anonymous Clare. said...

Very precious, Jan! These things very often arise by accident , don't they? You don't realise exactly how precious they are until much later.

Wed Feb 06, 08:35:00 pm  

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