Occasional posts on subjects including field recording, London history and literature, other websites worth looking at, articles in the press, and news of sound-related events.

04 April 2011

Thanks to everyone at the Scottish Music Centre workshop

LAST FRIDAY I held forth at the field recording workshop organised by the Scottish Music Centre in Glasgow. It was the first-ever workshop I’ve done and so approached the event with some nervousness, but I couldn’t have been made to feel more welcome by all who attended and helped out.

Special thanks to Alasdair, Keith and Tim of the Scottish Music Centre, and apologies for my bafflement at the Mac laptop and its touchpad, neither of which I’m used to. It did raise a few chuckles from the audience during the evening presentation. It was also good to meet some people who’s recordings I’d heard, but hadn’t met before, such as Jonathan and John. John’s given the event a very kind and encouraging write-up on his blog John’s World Wide Wall Display.

I’ve long had a particular affection and regard for Glasgow and its people, having lived there for about ten years from 1984 onwards. Three kinds of sounds stand out in memory from that time. The first involved hen parties who roamed the city centre on Friday and Saturday nights, as well the outer housing schemes, banging pots and pans as they accompanied the bride-to-be. Passersby ambushed by these patrols would have to kiss her.

The second was made by the newspaper sellers who used to cry out the titles and editions of their papers, the Daily Record and Evening Times. One man in particular was the silverback or alpha male of paper sellers and he occupied a pitch in a prime position at the junction of Hope Street and Sauchiehall Street. His huge, deep voice could be heard streets away.

The last involved the cries of boys who would go around Castlemilk, a housing estate in the south of the city which then housed some 30,000 people, selling newspapers – pay-paiiirr! – and fresh whelks and candy ah-pells. The drawing-out of the last syllable in both those cries is a sound-feature that has appeared in street-sellers cries’ in other parts of Britain.

I asked the people attending the afternoon workshop whether any of those sounds are still heard around Glasgow. Sadly, it seems they’ve disappeared already.

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