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SoundCloud and Audioboo

I have recently set up accounts on both SoundCloud and Audioboo in order to showcase my audio work  (mainly consisting so far of Sound Art).

I have decided to do this as I feel it is important to manipulate the internet/social networking to help get my work out there in order to secure contacts and jobs.

Feel free to check both accounts out.

http://soundcloud.com/kay-sounds 

http://audioboo.fm/AlexKaySounds

Expo 2011

Here is a short audio piece I created that documents myself and some friends at Expo 2011 for a student based radio programme that one of my colleagues produces and presents on Radiowave (Falmouth’s student radio station). This piece was broadcast on his radio show this Thursday just gone (06/02/11).

Me, I, Why?

A psychological based soundscape that focuses on three things. A highly experimental piece created in Audacity to enable me to play with elements such as pitch, speed and reverse.

Throughout these recent analysis or even ‘reviews’ I have been doing of various books over the last few weeks I have noticed that the word ‘inspirational’ has been repeatedly applied to the literature which is being consumed by your’s truly. The reason behind this is that I will confess to not being a natural reader of books. That doesn’t mean I don’t read often but it does mean that I find it hard to derive pleasure from the aforementioned activity, so for me to say that I find a book inspirational is a fairly big deal for myself and one that applies to my recent activities most sincerely.

Of all the books I have read so far however,  Reality Radio  is by far the most inspirational, and the key reason behind this is becuase unlike the other books, it treats radio not just as a form of media but as an art form! This is an approach to writing about radio which hasn’t been as strong in the other books I have read, so this way of looking at Radio Documentary productions is fresh for someone like me who’s predominant experience of radio documentary is of well structured, gently paced BBC products… naturally radio as art differs radically from this much-loved but undeniably traditional model.

Every contributor to the book has something different to say about their individual, exciting approach to creating a radio documentary and primarily, what I have learnt is that the best parts of documentaries are often the out-takes, as it is in these that the most human aspects of an interviewee or character are brought to light. Most ‘traditional’ documentaries do away with this but the pieces described by the practitioners here say that it is the ‘rawer’ aspects of documentary that intrigue them the most. 

Reading Reality Radio also helped me to accept the documentary form as a type of storytelling and is something that helps give an insight into not only people’s lives but into how the individuals work as well. This has refired my interest in using audio as a documentary tool and a part of me has decided to start using my audio equipment to document, actions and events more often, even small events such as myself taking a trip to the local corner shop.

I have taken away much from this book but if there is one thing that stands out amongst all the others it is to capture sound where possible, as who knows gems may be found in everyday life, and this is a lesson I will be sure to gradually incorperate into my future practice when it comes to working with audio.

 

Queue

As I continue to read Reality Radio I have decided to produce a Documentary soundscape, which has been inspired by reading about the practices of the contributors to the book.

One such contributor who has inspired me is Jad Abumrad; a radio reporter/producer who in his essay, conveys the message that as a radio documentarian you need to balance good storytelling with ‘explanation’ and ‘experience’. “The best stories connect experience to something larger. An idea, a slightly new perspective, a sense of something universal thats shared, human to human”. 

It is the content of the above quote that I hope I have captured in my own piece of practical work, which documents the experience of a queue  myself and some colleagues were stuck in a few days ago, and having my Zoom H1 to hand I decided to record it. I then edited it in Audacity to create the end result which you can listen to below. During the editing process it is fair to say it developed into a piece of documentary soundart as opposed to soundscape, but this is open for debate. I have tried to make it a complex, layered piece and something people need to listen to (as oposed to simply hear), in order to get the full benefit of the piece, but this will hopefully by no means shape the conclusions of which they should come to, as I have tried to make it as open to interpretation as I can.  

Reading update

Over the last few days I have continued to read more books related to Radio Broadcasting, both of which are a slight contrasts to one another.

One is entitled Radio in Context (2004) by Professor of Radio and Journalism Guy Starkey. Like Hugh Chignell’s book, it covers the basic genres and conventions in radio broadcasting and as a result is another useful guide to someone interested in the medium such as myself. However, I have at times found this book quite hard to read and this is nothing to do with the quality of the book itself at all but because I have read it in such close close proximity to reading Key Concepts by Hugh Chignell, I have found it a little bit of a repetative experience.

However the main advantage of Starkey and Chignell’s books is that they are very informative when it comes to looking up precise subjects. It is for this reason that in the not-too-distant future I will make a point of buying their books for when I attempt to find work in the industry myself. Also, as with Key Concepts, Radio in Context contains useful features such as a glossary, tips on how to get started in the world of radio, behind the scenes photographs of radio studios, technial diagrams, etc. This only adds to the practical and theoretical usefulness of both books.

Another book I have just stareted reading, is more of a compilation of essays as opposed to a guide. From what I have read so far of Reality Radio edited together by John Biewen and Alexa Dilworth, it is an extremly informative and impassioning book on the subject of the varying forms of radio documentary and only being published in 2010 makes it the most up-to-date radio book I have read yet. The fact that it contains accounts from various industry professionals also makes it an enthusing/inspiring read.

However, due to the variety of it’s writing styles it makes it a less consistant read than most of the other radio-related books I have read previously. This should be interesting to compare and analyse in a more extensive account of this book, which will follow once I have finished reading it.

Another informative, accessible book which I have found to be an asset to my current interest in studying the medium of radio is The Radio Handbook by Carole Flemming (MA Radio Journalism lecturer, as well as reporter and producer for the BBC and Independant Local Radio). Although the book may be outdated, being first published in the early 2000s, it is still an informative read and much of the basic subjects and priciples it deals with apply to the present.

For example; it deals with topics such as Internet Radio which was then in it’s infancy but is now becoming incrasingly mainstream, representation amongst minorities, genders and ages, a subject which in general is still very relevant and probably always will be and the role of radio news, particularly how it is the only live media link between the audience and issues as they unfold (although now with the advent of increased internet usage and social networking sites this is now debatable).

The book also contains a very interesting glossary, which I learnt almost as much from as reading the book itself.

Exerpts from radio scripts and documents along with interviews with radio producers, presenters and journalists are other elements that make this book a worthwhile addition to the arsenal of anybody who is interested in radio broadcasting and like me would like to get involved with it in a professional capacity.

The Radio Handbook along with Chignell’s Key Concepts in Radio Studies are examples of the types of books I hope to continue reading over the course of the next few weeks (and hopefully into the summer break) to continue to feed my enthusiasm for  the radio industry and to continually inform my thinking behind what I hope to do and to acheive with reguards to work in radio broadcasting and above all; how I can achieve it.

Here is an updated version of the character biographies, revised as per suggestions from my writer friend.

The two main changes he suggested I make, were firstly to take out the exclamation marks I had included in the previous draft as he felt (quite rightly) that it over-emphasized certain aspects of the biography. The second change he suggested I make was to make the character of Victoria more distictive from Rory. I chose to do this by initially making her a bit spiky and bitter, but gradually mellowing due to meeting Rory.

Further revisions to follow soon.

Copyright; Alex Kay 2011

Rory:

A boy aged 10, Rory like many children his age, is excited for the 2012 Olympic Games. He is disheartened when he learns that his family cannot attend them, due to increased work commitments in the recession. Commitments to their various jobs, means that Rory’s family have grown distant from eachother a fact that saddens him greatly. This means Rory has become independent and self-sufficient and as a result he wastes no time in, ‘borrowing’ money from his father’s wallet and taking the next train to Londonto attend the games. Rory is also a very kind-hearted boy, as shown through his concern and compassion towards Victoria, a homeless woman, suffering from lupus, who he befriends whilst trying, and ultimately failing, to navigate his way around London. Overall, Rory is, an optimistic, independent, friendly child who just wants to watch the Olympic Games and above all; to be close to his family again.

 Victoria (Vicky):

 A middle-aged native ofLondon,Victoria, known as Vicky to her friends, was in her late twenties when she was diagnosed with the terminal illness; lupus.Victoria’s ill health prevented her from working at her job as a secretary full-time and when staff had to be cut due to the recession of the early 90s she was made redundant. Her partner at the time, after discovering she had lupus, refused to spend his time looking after her and forced her out the house.Victoriathen spent most of her time lodging with various friends, taking on small jobs here and there but nothing at all consistent. When she meetsRory,Victoriais still searching for work, lodging with a friend of hers and occasionally taking trips to the hospital to receive dialysis treatment for her lupus. Taking pity on the lost Rory, Victoria agrees to take him to the Olympic stadium and is pleased when Rory agrees to let her watch the Games with him too, as it is an event she is desperate to see them, but for obvious reasons can’t afford to. It could also be one of the few historical events she witnesses before her illness overcomes her. Victoria is initially spiky when Rory meets, however, his friendly and kind nature gradually mellows her and soon an affectionate bond develops between them to the point where she can even open-up to him about her past. At her core; although at times irascible due to the misfortune she has received in life,Victoriais a loyal, sincere and kindly individual.   

Derek and Miranda (Rory’s parents):

Derek and Jenny are two middle-aged parents who are extremely hard working, especially since the recent financial crisis caused them both to lose their jobs, forcing them into taking lower-paid work to support their family. Their hard work reflects how much they love their kids as they only want to look after and provide for them; however this means they don’t get to spend a lot of time with them and as a result don’t always understand and pay them much attention. Both Derek and Jenny are determined, and driven, and on occasion combative with each other, however, ultimately, they both love each other and their children and aren’t afraid to admit that their work can be responsible for pushing them all apart.   

Jenny (Rory’s older sister):

Jenny is outwardly a typical seventeen year old girl; she enjoys fashion, boys, and spending loads of time on social networking websites. However, she is very different from most girls her age, as she has the hard task of not only attending college but also holding down two jobs to help financially support her own family, something that she is more willing to do than she lets on. Jenny can initially come across as vain, moody and aloof, however she is shown to care deeply for her family as shown by her concern for Rory when he runs away from home to visit London and at the end of the narrative when she gives Victoria the ticket to the Olympic Games she was in fact going to give to her boyfriend.

I’ve just completed reading; Key Concepts-Radio Studies by Hugh Chignell. While I enjoyed reading this book and it taught me alot that I didn’t know already, about the world of Radio Broadcasting that I wish to take my life into, I learnt the hard way that it is not the sort of book that you can read cover-to-cover, and is more of a reference giuide to be used to look up radio concepts and practices. This being the case it was sometimes hard to read it for extended periods of time and is more of a ‘drop in’ book.

Once again though, I learnt alot from it, particularly about the early history of radio and about amature practices such as Micro Radio and Internet Radio, which lead me to conclude that one of radio’s key strengths, much like it’s rival the World Wide Web is that it can be used by ordinary citizens, to communicate with the wide community, who’s skills at using the equipment/technology develop over time, effectively making it a more accessible medium than TV or Film.

I am very glad to have read Chignell’s book as it was a strong reminder to me of radio’s richness and diversity, which is exactly why I’m so passionate about it. It is a book that I will quite happily make a place for on my shelf and which I will no doubt refer to again as I try to kickstart my own career in radio further down the line.

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