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? 

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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.

Crofters’ Music Bar Bistro

Crofters' Music Bar Bistro is usually full in the evening.

Over the years since my old mum and her cronies used to get half price chips I’ve known the modern Crofters’ Music Bar Bistro through different incarnations and proprietors. Today’s custodians are father and daughter team Dónal and Ealána Boyle. As Crofters’ Music Bar Bistro has evolved they’ve embraced modern principles caring for their staff, sourcing local and sustainable produce and presenting musicians with personality. They believe they’ve got a winning formula.

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Remedies

Remedies.

Whatever term we use to describe mental health issues; anxiety, depression, stress, low mood or lack of self esteem, remedies are available. There’s someone who can help.

Episode coming soon.

This is the story of four compassionate and empathetic people working on Arran. They use a variety of techniques from talking therapies and counselling to art therapy and eco-therapy to help clients deal with their issues. One essential of their qualification is to have done the therapy themselves. Counselling helped me overcome some of my issues, which is why the subject piqued my interest.

In the beginning.

I spoke to Andrew the farmer recently and it turns out he had a previous career as a qualified mental health nurse. Our conversation turned to the benefits of working outside and Jenny, his wife, spoke passionately about the benefits of community, exercise and good food. My own counsellor contributes and I talked with an art therapist, who helps people of school age and older. This episode takes a sympathetic look at these remedies.

Arran Scran

A mural from the Drift Inn, Lamlash

A report says that eating local food, produce from within a radius of 12 miles, is twice as beneficial to the environment as eating organic produce from further afield. You’d be hard pushed to find a more tightly defined, “local” area than an island. You certainly don’t need a SatNav on Arran; in many cases once you’ve gone the 12 miles, you’re coming back again. There’s a growing network of producers and purveyors of local produce on Arran. What are the factors that contribute to their success?

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Circumstances have changed drastically for some of the contributors so I’m revisiting this episode. Please check back soon.

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Fermentation: Food That Fizzes

Much of the food and drink produced on Arran starts with fermentation – food that fizzes.  The ones made to a commercial scale include beer and whisky, which are obvious enough.  But there’s bread, cheeses, pickles, chocolate and then there’s a community of obsessed home-producers who love nothing better than their own kombucha, kefir and yoghurt, sauerkraut and kimchi.

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Drive Canada

Although born in Canada Graham Chappell now lives and works on Arran. He’s a car enthusiast and  every year he takes a road-trip.  This year’s going to be something special.  Following Graham’s first car-delivery trip in Canada and years of driving in the south-west states of America this is the road-trip of a lifetime from St. John’s to Vancouver and…

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