For the most part it has been a horrible year and one that I am glad to see the back of. I thought that 2020 was bad, but 2021 managed to be worse. In some ways I want to think that 2022 will be better, but I think I am learning to have low expectations, and then lower my expectations further. That seems to be the best strategy.
I am very sad to say that my friend, Ian Rawes passed away in October. You might know of Ian from his amazing work at the London Sound Survey which he ran as an incredible archive of sounds from around the city.
Ian was a lovely man. He was knowledgeable and passionate about sound and field recording and I came away from talking to him always feeling as though I had learnt something new.
I first heard about Ian in a book called ‘In the field’, which I can thoroughly recommend to anyone who has even a passing interest in field recording. In it there is an interview with Ian which fascinated me and I decided that I had to contact him. That was back in 2016. We met for a drink and I found myself talking to a like minded soul who was generous with his time and knowledge. More than that he was a gentle man, and I miss him.
Ian also wrote, or perhaps more accurately, compiled a book about sound words. ‘Honk, Conk and Squacket’ is a great book to dip into every now and then to locate a word that you’ve probably never heard of before. Again, I can thoroughly recommend this to anyone with even a passing interest in the history of sounds and how we have described them.
I’m glad to say that the last time I saw Ian, back in 2019, I asked him to sign my copy, which I will now always treasure.
You can hear a lot of Ian’s recording at the London Sound Survey, but also his recordings have been released by Persistence of Sound.
You can also find their music on bandcamp. I can thoroughly recommend this record. The recordings are superb and listening to them again recently gave me a great sense of peace about Ian.
I will miss him a great deal, but for me, he lives on in these excellent recordings. His work is his legacy, and those who knew him, those who’s lives he touched, will remember him for many years to come.
I went to this on Sunday as I was invited by a friend. I probably would have overlooked this event if it wasn’t for that. But it was good. Quite unique in fact.
I have always had a love of trains, or perhaps, to be more accurate, a love of being on long train journeys. So this appealed to me simply for that fact.
The films shown were of mixed quality. All of them showed different aspects of train travel in different parts of the UK. From busy cities, to the countryside and seaside. The one I liked the best was the first commuter inter city train. The film of that was very focused on the comfort and luxury of the journey. It was very business centric, but, as a piece of social history, very interesting. As was the music, which was live and performed by an ensemble of musicians from the guild hall. They had composed the score themselves, and whilst some of it was electronic and appealed to me a bit more, a lot of it was more generally contemporary.
Overall it was a very good experience. Well put together. Enjoyable. I would certainly go to something like that again.
Earlier this year my old walkman finally gave up. I had owned this walkman for a long time, and by that I mean a few decades. It was a lovely device, a lovely piece of engineering. It was barely bigger than a cassette itself and it would run for ages on just a single AA battery.
But it stopped, just stopped working one day and I have no idea why at all.
You might ask if I tried to repair it. The answer is no. The technology was so small that you’d have to have been a specialist to even attempt a repair. I knew that I wouldn’t be up for it.
But I have considered replacing it. I had a good look around eBay and I was amazed at the prices that a functioning walkman will go for. I’m sure that I had looked some years ago and they were going for next to nothing. My guess is that the prices spiked after the first ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ movie came out.
Anyway, so far I haven’t replaced it, I’m not sure that I will now. I still have cassettes. I still like them. So I expect that one day I will.
I have to admit that I only watched this because I like Joseph Gordon-Levitt and I thought that the premise was quite interesting. I finished it just the other day and overall I really liked it. I thought it touched on a lot of issues that people have faced over the last couple of years.
I also really liked watching him make music with a range of different devices, some of which I’ve used and owned in the past.
It was a shame that it was cancelled. I think that a second season of it would have been interesting. I know I would have watched it.