Real Sound Effects

My trusty old Marantz digital recorder

I prefer to use real sound effects in my audio. I’m working on an audio drama set on a Scottish island, so a ferry trip when I went back to visit friends on the Isle of Arran was too good a chance to miss recording its noises.  Although my listener may never concentrate on the background sounds in a piece of audio, it’s still important for them to be genuine.  The subliminal effect of hearing actual sounds makes the audio much more believable.

Recording in public places presents some legal niceties.  Not least of which is, what is a public place. Still, I work on the basis of being discrete and not offending anyone. Secret Squirrel, OK? 

Continue reading “Real Sound Effects”

Interview with Arran Sound.

Arran Sound logo

My interview with Arran Sound, the island’s community, internet radio station, was my first stop when I spilled off the ferry in Brodick on a recent visit to the Isle of Arran . Mhairi, who runs Arran Sound, asked me about my previous career, how I became interested in audio, recent and upcoming projects and more. Is my soul laid bare during an interview in the bar at the Douglas Hotel?

I was staying with friends for my visit to Arran, and hadn’t expected to be there for quite so long. The strength of the breeze is always something to consider for a November visit to Arran. A hoolie blew up and the ferry was stormbound for almost two days. Despite intending to stay only for a couple of nights, I stayed for four. I’m forever grateful for good friends. They’ll know who they are.

You can listen to the whole conversation of my interview with Arran Sound here:-

Mhairi and I also talked about my feature, “Gunner Graham” about a soldier of the Great War, which, appropriately for The Armistice Commemoration, was broadcast immediately following the interview in mid November 2021.

The Selkie.

A Selkie holding her sea-skin.

The Selkie is a mythical sea creature of Scottish folklore. In the sea a Selkie is a seal, but when they occasionally come onshore they take the form of a beautiful woman. Men should be wary in case they are beguiled and end broken-hearted when a Selkie they’ve met returns to the sea. What surprise awaits my Selkie when she falls for a special man she meets on land?

It’s a challenge to record audio with other contributors in these plague straightened times. I hung my story on the Selkie legend and produced a solo drama combining faerie tale and love story.

LISTEN TO THE DRAMA NOW.

Continue reading “The Selkie.”

Sparrows in the Buddleia

Buddleia bush by the River Ericht

The delight of hearing hundreds of wee speugs feasting, squabbling, socialising or whatever it was they were doing in the middle of a buddleia bush at the side of the River Ericht lifted my heart. I hope yours too.

Don Roberto and the Four Fathers.

I’m proud to claim Don Roberto among my relations. Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham founded the Scottish National Party. He was a passionate advocate of independence for Scotland. His memorial at Gartmore is carved with the words “Famous author, traveller and horseman. Patriotic Scot and citizen of the world. He was a master of life – a king among men.” I really wish I’d met him.

PLAY THIS EPISODE NOW.

Continue reading “Don Roberto and the Four Fathers.”

Making Noises for Sound Effects.

They say the pictures are better on radio. That’s why I’m making noises for sound effects. I’m putting more sounds into By The Way stories. It’s all about helping to create the environment where the dialogue takes place and to immerse my listener in the story. I know it’s an indulgence, but here’s how I put together 14 seconds of audio to convey the horror of a gas attack during the Great War. The attack recounted took place at Reningelst on 18 April 1918.

The image is of a Gas Rattle similar to the one used to warn soldiers that a gas attack was underway. No one could blow a whistle while wearing a gas helmet.

PLAY THIS EPISODE NOW.

Hill 60 on the Western Front.

Here’s a bit of Extra Information about Hill 60 on the Western Front near Ypres. Hugh, the 20 year old Gunner Graham, was a Scottish soldier in the Royal Garrison Artillery who was awarded the Military Medal in 1918. This bit of his story is too good to bin. I’ve been able to include more of the fascinating research than would have fitted in the original script, which is why I dropped the scene. Here it is as an Extra Information short.

PLAY THIS EPISODE NOW.

Continue reading “Hill 60 on the Western Front.”

Gunner Graham

Gunner Graham in RGA uniform before he was mobilised

Gunner Graham was an extraordinary Scottish soldier in the Royal Garrison Artillery during WW1. He had just turned 20 years old when he was decorated for gallantry in 1918 with the Military Medal. The Medal represents a level of valour in combat only surpassed by that for the Victoria Cross. As an enlisted man Gunner Graham didn’t qualify for the Military Cross, which was reserved for officers at the time.  Listen to the story of his medal and how he overcame the endemic discrimination of the establishment.

PLAY THIS EPISODE NOW.

Continue reading “Gunner Graham”
close

Enjoy what you hear? Please spread the word ;-)