The Regular Rhythms of Radio Four

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Nick Odell

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Dec 20, 2021, 4:21:00 AM12/20/21
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Do you remember where you were in the early hours of Sunday, 31st
August 1997? I do. I was lying awake, alert and confused because
Something Was Wrong With My Radio. It should have been broadcasting
The World Service but I found that instead I was listening to Radio
Four.

A Princess, it transpired, had expired.

The same thing happened to me again this morning though thankfully no
princesses were harmed in the process. For some reason, from today and
for the next two weeks, the Radio Four frequencies will be
broadcasting World Service programmes for approximately ten extra
minutes and Radio Four will start its morning programming from about
05.30 instead of 05.20.

Does this matter? In the larger scheme of things, of course it doesn't
matter but it is moments like these that remind me how much we are
tied not only to the content of Radio Four but to its rhythms and
patterns as well.

For as long as I can remember, I've used the radio as a sleeping aid.
I leave the set switched on throughout the night at a volume level
which is barely audible so that the effort of straining hard to make
out the words quickly sends me to sleep and then sends me back to
sleep if I wake up again in the middle of the night. All the rest of
the time it's just a comforting background burble.

It's not just the night time. I can't be the only one for whom the end
of the Today programme means I ought to be getting on with stuff and
become more focused or who still finds Friday evenings a bit odd
because they don't have to - according to choice - switch The Archers
off or on. Because like the Women's Hour serial, it's not there any
more. During the day these things become markers for our lives and at
night our bodies unconsciously absorb them.

I suppose I will get used to the change: probably just in time to wake
up startled again after New Year when the programming is due to go
back to "normal."


Nick


Liz Tuddenham

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Dec 20, 2021, 4:59:31 AM12/20/21
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Nick Odell <gurzhfvp...@ntlworld.com.invalid> wrote:

> Do you remember where you were in the early hours of Sunday, 31st
> August 1997? I do. I was lying awake, alert and confused because
> Something Was Wrong With My Radio. It should have been broadcasting
> The World Service but I found that instead I was listening to Radio
> Four.
>
> A Princess, it transpired, had expired.

I was, amongst other things, an external transcriptor for the National
Sound Archive at that time. My instructions were, upon hearing the
combined programme announcement "This is the BBC", to start recording
Radio 4 immediately and not stop until instructed to do so.

When I switched on the kitchen radio and heard that announcement I
slammed a cassette into the nearest recorder, then set up a pair of
Ferrographs with a proper tuner and scoured the house for as many spare
(or re-useable) reels of tape as I could find. After about two hours
of listening to the breaking news whilst splicing on leader tape,
cleaning heads, threading up the machines and doing overlap changeovers,
I finally got permission to 'stand down'.

Yes, I remember it all right!

--
~ Liz Tuddenham ~
(Remove the ".invalid"s and add ".co.uk" to reply)
www.poppyrecords.co.uk

Nick Odell

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Dec 20, 2021, 11:29:39 AM12/20/21
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The British Library? That job must have been fascinating - I'm glad my
post triggered your memory and I'd love to hear about other
experiences of yours on that project.

....that neatly segues into this afternoon and Solomon Browne which
was performed in the Afternoon Drama slot
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0012plp

Absolutely stunning. Anybody who was alive at the time of the Penlee
lifeboat disaster will remember it with horror. This is something to
be preserved in the above-mentioned collection of Drama and Literature
Recordings and it wouldn't surprise me if it gathers a Sony Award.

Breathtaking. If you haven't heard it yet, prepare to be moved.

Nick

Liz Tuddenham

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Dec 20, 2021, 11:45:11 AM12/20/21
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It was pre-British Library, when the N.S.A. still employed a few of the
old recording engineers who could actually visuallise how the recordings
had been made. It helps immensely to sort out historic material if you
can understand how the recording engineers were doing their job and what
equipment they had available. A lot of the knowledge has been lost or
become folklore with no real understanding.

Much of my work was the recordings rejected by other transcriptors.
They had invested in top quality equipment and could produce superb
results from good starting material. I built a lot of my own equipment
and could extract tolerable sounds from unplayable rubbish.

It was not unknown to play disintegrating nitrate discs under a layer of
water to reduce the fire risk.

J. P. Gilliver (John)

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Dec 20, 2021, 5:40:17 PM12/20/21
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On Mon, 20 Dec 2021 at 09:20:58, Nick Odell
<gurzhfvp...@ntlworld.com.invalid> wrote (my responses usually
follow points raised):
>Do you remember where you were in the early hours of Sunday, 31st
>August 1997?

Not really.

> I do. I was lying awake, alert and confused because
>Something Was Wrong With My Radio. It should have been broadcasting
>The World Service but I found that instead I was listening to Radio
>Four.
>
>A Princess, it transpired, had expired.

Oh, _that_ day. Yes, the Archers omnibus was cancelled. Not moved, as it
is every year on Remembrance Sunday (and always catches some "omnivores"
out [as do the clock changes]), but actually cancelled.

(Actually I don't think I'd gone to bed when the first news started to
come in.)
[]
>It's not just the night time. I can't be the only one for whom the end
>of the Today programme means I ought to be getting on with stuff and
>become more focused or who still finds Friday evenings a bit odd
>because they don't have to - according to choice - switch The Archers
>off or on. Because like the Women's Hour serial, it's not there any
>more. During the day these things become markers for our lives and at
>night our bodies unconsciously absorb them.

I'm very much in a minority - I _am_ an Archers listener - in liking
having my "Fridays off", and not looking forward to the reinstatement.
>
>I suppose I will get used to the change: probably just in time to wake
>up startled again after New Year when the programming is due to go
>back to "normal."
>
Yes, that does happen (-:
>
>Nick
>
>
John
--
J. P. Gilliver. UMRA: 1960/<1985 MB++G()AL-IS-Ch++(p)Ar@T+H+Sh0!:`)DNAf

Abandon hope, all ye who <ENTER> here.
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