Saturday 9 May 2015

A New Chapter: Enter the Podcast!

I've finally done it. It's taken me nearly two months but I have just gone live with my first ever podcast. This has been a new experience for me because I'm so text based and afraid of the sound of my own voice. It turns out that I have no need to worry, thankfully, I don't sound like a complete idiot.

The process has been interesting and extremely time consuming. A blog post is usually 500-800 words, longer when I am working on an essay. But when you want 15-20 minutes of spoken effort, you need nearly 2500 vaguely coherent words. On the bright side, although some research is required, it's not like doing anything academic because I want to keep it interesting and above all, accessible. Therefore writing a script took almost an entire month, given work and life interruptions.

Gardens was my first topic because I can waffle endlessly about them, but I happily found something new to say about them when I saw two connected paintings in the National Gallery. Previously I had only looked at objects in gardens, so as if to counteract previous studies, it was the presence of people that drew me to Canaletto’s ‘Ranelagh Gardens and the Rotunda’ (1754) and Adolf Menzel's Afternoon in the Tuileries (1867). I then paid a visit to Painting Paradise which offered some wonderful insights.

From the written to the spoken, pressing record for the first time was an interesting experience. I've deleted my first, second and third efforts, and I was ready to scream at the microphone. It's been an intimate experience with this new piece of equipment; I sat on my bed and purred gently into the large attachment, whilst trying not to rustle the duvet or breath too heavily. This had me in hysterics at one point, when after I slipped my back disc, I attempted to record on my front - not recommended when trying to use your diaphragm. My bedroom is the most quiet, padded room of the flat, so it was a logical place to record, noisy bedding notwithstanding.

Once I had my talk on my computer in an interesting collection of peaks and troughs, it needed editing. I used to have a problem with commas, in, my, writing, where, they were sprinkled, liberally; followed by too many; semi-colons. It turns out I am queen of ...... the dramatic pause. In the event, I took out about three minutes of pauses, fluffs, repetitions and mistakes, and the finished effort sounds rather fluent. Then I had to add music because the good podcasts I like listening to have a recognisable signature tune. I found a wonderful library of original music and purchased the correct licence. I'm a librarian, so no copyright theft here. Thank you composer Tilmann Sillescu for the lovely musical enhancements.

Once I had it all done - it's not perfect but I want to go on to my next topic and start writing - I converted it to mp3 and uploaded to Soundcloud. I've yet to sort out Apple (It just doesn't bloody-well work). I hope that people like it and are engaged with the themes that I am looking to talk about. My next one is 'Coral', and I have my eyes on 'Glass', 'Demons', 'Marquetry', 'Travel' for future discussion. So listen to this space!

Go check out my SoundCloud page now!

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