If you have been following me here, you will have discerned that I have been getting my feet dampish having a tentative paddle in the Indie Audio Drama and Documentary world.
It is a natural home for me in many ways. I discovered BBC Radio 4 when I first left home aged 18 and found I missed my telly terribly!
In my late teens I had used the heritage film slot on Channel 4 in the afternoons to take a break from my own head every day. For those of you not familiar, these films tend to be either mindless slops of stories (Spring in Park Lane stands out in my memory as an exemplar of a McDonald’s milkshake of a film, memorable for its absurd, cheerful awfulness!) or serious, chewable stuff that can change your mood and your mind and leave you disturbed or elated. Both worked for me!
Imagine my delight, then, to discover that not only did Radio 4 give us a drama in exactly the same time slot each day, and not only were they of equal variety in content, quality and level of seriousness, but that the narcissistic, intrusive screen no longer needed to elbow its way into my cosy Introvert Time. I would potter around my student room, the afternoon sun seeping through the window and an entire picture made of sound dancing with the interpretation of my own singular imagination.
Bit by bit I got into the comedy too, and the regular documentary slots, then the current affairs stuff and even – for a while – The Archers (until they killed Nigel). Not The Moral Maze. (Come to think of it, if Melanie Phillips had not had the effect of making me want to bite off my own foot to divert the pain of listening to her, I probably would never have turned the radio off and got my first degree!)
More recently, I also got into audiobooks and Audible, which is equally addictive and makes traffic jams a thing to look forward to!
Now I have worked on four different indie audio productions, it is fairly predictable that, given my strong interest in sound, meaning and subjectivity I would eventually want to have a bash myself.
As ever I’m exercised by the hugely ambitious but super-necessary task of artists today to try, just try, to put people in other people’s heads. Of the various stories I’ve been mulling, the one that ties up with my work helping found and run the charity Herts Welcomes Syrian Familes is the one that might hold enough fascination for me to see it through. It continuously amazes me how some people refuse to allow their empathetic imaginations to travel to the place where their country and lives are torn apart by war and tyrants. I know the reasons for this are deep within our social consciousness. I know that if people don’t want to see Syrian refugees as ordinary people like themselves and image how it would be if it happened to them, then creatives are not going to persuade them. But still we feel compelled to try!
So my drama would be a thought experiment that put an ‘ordinary’ family from the UK in that very situation, where a national crisis and an authoritarian government precipitate, bit by bit, a situation where they make the decision-that-is-not-a-real-decision to try and cross the channel to mainland Europe – and of course are met with deep hostility by citizens and governments when they do.
So much lovely potential to use my research here! Leitmotifs of sound! Virtual proximity effects! Degrees of silence! It is very exciting.
See these past posts for relevant discussions to this one: