Speechification Vol.003

19Apr18

BLOG - Gedney:USSR

If you’ve missed Speechification Vol.001 and Vol.002 then further context can be found elsewhere. I won’t repeat myself for a third time because that may alienate the few people who still pay an (intentional) occasional visit.

So here are three pieces of radio (and one additional piece of music), two from BBC Radio 4 (albeit one via a repeat on BBC Radio 4 Extra) and one from BBC Radio 3, and all I hope, firmly in the spirit of the original Speechification site.

Target Practice
Sometimes everything seems connected.

Following a brief conversation with Mr Maxim Griffin in relation to his intended expeditions to Donna Nook – a salt marsh just South of the mouth of the Humber used by the Royal Air Force for bombing practice – I made a decision to visit a similar set up that can be found at Gedney Drove End (just  twenty or so miles from Weir HQ). It’s one of those places that’s in easy striking distance of home but somehow it’s somewhere that I’ve always succeeded in failing to visit.

That same day this documentary about RAF Holbeach was broadcast – RAF Holbeach is an academic air weapons range (no me neither) that’s located at Gedney Drove End, albeit that there’s very little physical evidence of it.

A couple of days later I remedied my failure to visit by travelling through the mists that had hung around all week to investigate these literal edgelands, to find that Maxim’s assertion that the location was “deep weird” remarkably accurate. It’s a disarmingly (although I suppose appropriately so) remote location, and once you’re stood on the sea-wall looking out into the Wash a bafflingly alien landscape. Throw in an occasional pillbox, a distant control tower and signs warning of unexploded ordnance and it doesn’t get any less weird. Well worth a visit though, and somewhere I shall return to when the weather is more forgiving.

As a further aside Maxim is currently looking for support over on Unbound for his new book, Field Notes “An illustrated voyage into the depths of time, space and Lincolnshire. It contains Werner Herzog, sausages and mild peril.”  Needless to say, I can’t recommend this to you enough.

Cold Art
This second documentary echoes the first with “Louis K Wilson meeting fellow artists who, like her, make work inspired by the Cold War”. In particular, the inspiration is drawn from the architecture of the era with the programme opening (once again with coincidental proximity to where I’m currently sat) at a Royal Observer Corps underground post in North Norfolk.

Like the artist, Stephen Felmingham I was aware of these Royal Observer Corps posts from an early age as a fairly visible example was located on the edge of the village that I grew up in. The record of said outpost, on the excellent Subterranea Britannica, mentions that it’s occasionally opened to the public, which seems to be something that has passed me entirely by – must investigate that further.

Late Junction
This last piece of radio is only an excerpt, but one that adds some further colour to the previous programme. Taken from a recent edition of Late Junction on “the sound of secrets and subterfuge” over on BBC Radio 3, it consists of a number of field recordings made by Freya Hellier (which already feature somewhat in the Cold Art programme above, which she also produced) at the Field Station Berlin, one of the largest listening stations built in the early 1960s by the US, although now abandoned and being slowly consumed by mother nature. 

BLOG - Concretism

Finally not a piece of radio but a piece of music, albeit one that continues to maintain the theme.

This is the opening track from the new Concretism album, entitled For Concrete And Country, released on the Castles in Space label (who specialise in “limited edition vinyl pressings of new and newly unearthed vintage, alternative pop and electronica”) with artwork from none other than Mr Richard Littler aka the Leader of Scarfolk Council. A copy of the record, on “utilitarian black vinyl” (I missed out on the very limited “nuclear bunker hospital bay” turquoise) should be arriving at Weir HQ in the next few days, and if this is anything to go by it’s going to be very well received.

So if “the cold war is back with a vengeance” at least it can be handsomely soundtracked.

 

 



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