If you ignore me, you’ll not know I’m a thrilled volunteer for In The Dark Radio.
Well, I is.
Listening to five excellent long-form documentaries and a handful of shorts, is good for your sense of radio. Being forced by the situation to focus on the audio is good for your sense of radio. Listening to Alan Hall discuss the programmes with the producers is good for your sense of radio. And hanging out with them in the bar afterwards, cross-introducing friends and colleagues, is good all round.
Hearing great montage work, for instance, has had me going back to items I have on this here website, and thinking Gaaghbuluegh. “It’s a demo for news people” isn’t much of an excuse, I now reckon, coz they are humans and will prefer to hear something good and moving and – wait for it – effective.
The finest learning experience, for me, was Little Women – What Now? by Berit Hedemann. The techniques had been widely spoken of, especially in the UK with its po-faced, unintelligent understanding of journalism. The best known are the very close micing of the lead character, and the distant micing of a group who, as it happens, don’t win much sympathy from us. But there was another technique.
She gave a group of 11 years old girls a microphone, and left the room. In a few hours, she had tape you couldn’t dream of. Then meeting her in the bar afterwards, I was struck at how keen she was for people to try new things, how she wished young recruits to NRK’s features unit weren’t intimidated by the reputation but rather tore up the rules and created newness. Properly inspirational.
Other, less professional, high points included: being normal around Alan Hall so not seeing like the brown-nose I would have if I were to say how much I like his work; meeting a real live Radiolab fan (I claimed my first in the wild, though as World Service SM Lisa Hack pointed out, this was more like in the zoo); catching up with radio peeps I’ve not met for years; and hearing Nina Perry’s experiences of working with Radiolab at the World Memory Championships.