January 22, 2021

WFH: DAY 11. I dreamt about a small bird that would, when out-of-sight, transform itself into a jet-black raven and swoop about the stairwell. 7.30 am:

I felt unusually buoyant today. 8.00 am: A much-to-do day (again). Emailation, to begin: In these present times, even one-line letters are ‘accessorized’ with various expressions of concern and hope of wellbeing. You just don’t know how your request or reply will find the recipient. Perhaps we’re learning better not to take one another for granted. On, then, to finalising postgraduate applications, external examiner updates, and tutorials, up to and including the second week of the semester. I like to know what is to come as far as possible in advance. (In another of last night’s dreams, I was holding a cheque for £486: my fee for serving as an External Examiner. ‘Dream on, John!’) 9.15 pm: Having ‘”0″-rated’ my inbox (temporarily), I returned to the REF PowerPoint #2. (In the background: the great Erroll Garner.)

These projects have been, for me, a trip down memory lane. Oh! How I’d love to endure another 24-hour open-studio event. The one held on May 1–2, 2017 was my second, and very productive. During that period, I developed recordings and processes that were fundamental to the initiation of The Biblical Record project:

11.30 am: I drank my first coffee in a month. (Background ME precludes imbibing any more than this.) Inner necessity drove me back my Noisome Spirits CD mixing. I couldn’t afford to leave-off too long between sessions on this project (whatever other priorities bore down on me). Perception is blunted by my absence. And the ear must remain sharp, like a knife. I opened ‘The Swallows’ Tale’ composition.

12.15 pm: The daily jaunt. Grey clouds gathered as the temperature dropped. I sensed the onset of snow:

1.30 pm: I listened again, and again, to the small changes that I made to the mix this morning. 2.00 pm: A final assessment conflab with Dr Forster. 3.00 pm: Back to mixing. It had been an on/off sort of day. Nevertheless, progress had been made. ‘The Swallows’ Tale’ evokes sounds associated with early coalmining industry. In this respect, the composition is ‘pictorial’. As such, the work may anticipate an approach to ‘audioization’ that will flower in PitWorks [working title] project.

7.30 pm: Back to the coalface. Mixing came to a standstill; something was missing — something human, voice-like: the presence of the coalminers, other than by the proxy of the noise of their tools. I recorded my reading of the source text for this account:

A man of this Parish who worked at the Coal Mine in Rhase yr Glo, going into one of the Pits which had not been worked some past time, found there a number of Swallows seemingly dead, hanging by their Bills which they had thrust into the Clay roof of the Pit. Being therefore breathless in their sleeping state. 

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