‘We often can only survive if we keep on forgetting’ (Caroline Wilkinson)
WFH: DAY 72. 6.15 am:
7.00 am: A communion. There’re times (I would wish for more) when prayer is driven by a powerful sense of imperative. Knowing the torpor and inconstancy of the heart, I recognise that the motive is bestowed rather than induced by the fiat of my own will and desire. 8.30 pm: Emails broadcast, I returned to writing for the first part of the morning. While, under lockdown, working days are almost indistinguishable one from another, Friday remains special. Not because it represents the end of the working week (my Saturdays have always been one of the ‘six days thou shalt labour’), but because its focus is squarely upon research. (In parallel: I watched a YouTube tutorial on operating the AXE I/O — my latest audio/digital interface.):
By lunchtime, I’d closed in on the last paragraph. It’s difficult to calculate the final flourish. Better that it come of its own accord — when you’re not thinking, when you’re doing something else entirely, when you’re walking at the close of the afternoon — than by force of violence.
1.30 pm: Into the studio to diagnose stereo plug to mono socket mismatches, and to begin investigating the sororities of off-station, on-station, and no-station sounds when an analogue radio’s output is fed through various modulators:
As always, it’s surprising what doesn’t work and surprising what does. The raw and unmodulated signal has an extraordinary spatial breadth and complexity. Monaural sound can sound uncannily stereophonic under certain conditions. When I was a early-teen, I’d hide under my blanket at night with the radio between my knees, spanning the airwaves in the hope of picking up Morse code and communications from shipping. I’d try again one evening: ‘When the night shows / The signals grow on radios / All the strange things / They come and go, as early warnings (Peter Gabriel, ‘Here Comes the Flood’ (1979)).
4.30 pm: Breakout.
God willing, I shall shall both sail from, and greet the arrival of loved ones at, this port again one day:
Signs of the times:
7.45 am: A review of incoming news all on fronts before turning to reading on the history of sound and art. My bedtime book of the moment is Rowan Williams’ God with Us (2017). He is that rarest of fish: a great theologian who can write with such insight, clarity and winsomeness that even someone coming to the text without an iota of understanding about the central tenets of Christianity — Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection — would benefit from reading it. They may not necessarily agree with the doctrines, but they’ll come away better comprehending what they’re disagreeing with: