Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Around the A4074

Hope you all had a mundane Christmas. Here’s a bit of quotidian ethnography for the festive season … A couple of months back I spent an interesting afternoon with Felicity ‘Felix’ Ford, a postgraduate student at Oxford Brookes doing a practice-based PhD on ‘domestic soundscapes’. You can read more about her work on her excellent blog:

http://thedomesticsoundscape.com/wordpress/

As part of her PhD Felicity produced a radio show celebrating the hidden world surrounding her own regular commute along the A4074 road between Reading and Oxford. The interview she conducted with me forms part of the programme which aired on Boxing Day on BBC Radio Oxford. It’s on iPlayer for the next few days here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p00crt5c/Around_the_A4074_26_12_2010/

The programme sounded great but unfortunately I had to stop listening after two seconds when I heard my own horrible voice. Why did no one tell me I sounded like that? So you can listen to it for me if you like and I might pluck up the courage later on. FYI, if you write and research about everyday life the BBC is obliged under its charter to refer to you as ‘quirky’ and/or ‘offbeat’.

I also wrote about my favourite history book of the year for History Today magazine:

http://tinyurl.com/3y2pzdp

Mundane quote for the day: ‘The symptoms of the freeway – monotony, obsessive time and space, fatigue – do not exist for us; as soon as we get on it we get off again and forget it for five, ten hours, all night long. What can it matter to us if we barely see it, segmented as it will be in more than sixty pieces, brochette of serpent instead of a whole and hissing snake?’ – Julio Cortazar and Carol Dunlop, The Autonauts of the Cosmoroute

2 comments:

  1. Hi Joe, I'm really sorry you couldn't listen to the programme! For what it's worth I think you have a fantastic speaking voice and many of my favourite quotes in the show came from our interview.

    I am often horrified by my own voice on radio, especially the wierd mix of my posh radio voice and my normal, sometimes quite Southeast-Londoner accent.

    There is some nice writing by Roger Pol Droit about listening to your own voice; in fact I think it is one of his 101 experiments in the philosophy of everyday life... because we always hear our voice from inside our head, it sounds very strange when we hear it from outside, if that makes sense.

    Anyway thanks for mentioning the show here and I hope you do find a way of hearing it all in the end, as your contribution was a very important part of the project and your book provided an essential context.

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  2. Thanks for the Roger Pol Droit hint, Felicity. I'm quite interested in writings about the voice. And I promise I WILL listen to the radio programme this weekend.

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