Distant Voices


A few months before my maternal grandmother died in 2011 I recorded her talking with the lovely Mrs Weir. I’m not wholly sure why I did, I think I was just idly tinkering with my phone and stumbled upon the Voice Memos application. The recording I made is only around seven minutes long but I don’t think I own anything more precious.

I’ll always remember the many conversations we had over the years, and with this short recording I’m lucky enough to be able to place the sound of her voice back into those exchanges – for that I’m inordinately thankful. Here’s a short extract from the recording in which she tells of her marriage to my grandfather, (the quality’s not perfect so you may need to increase the volume).

So why post this now ? Well a number reasons.

The first was hearing artist Sebastiane Hegarty’s wonderful programme about the four decades of recordings he made of his mother over on BBC Radio 3’s Between the Ears last week, (be quick – you’ve not got long to listen again). The second was David Hepworth talking over on his blog about “the best day’s work I ever did” and the third was / is the series of pieces on the BBC PM programme in response to the news of the death of the Radio 4 newsreader Rory Morrison. As a result of the story a number of people contacted the programme with their stories of recorded voices – including Rachel who sometimes calls her dead son’s voicemail, Warren Lakin the partner of Linda Smith who tells of what hearing her voice does to him and Anne who’d recorded her late grandparents back in 1974 with her new cassette recorder and hadn’t heard the resulting tape since then until today.

Each one as remarkable as the next.

There’s no audioboo for Anne and her grandparents yet but you can still listen again here.

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