The Felicity Ford Radio Show, PILOT

I am experimenting with different podcast formats and have been working on something much less formal than previous radio/podcast productions.

Perhaps it’s the inspiration of working with Brenda on our CD together; perhaps it is the relief of getting my thesis finally completed; but it feels like time to start on a new thing, and the most obvious audio project for me involves growing this blog into a regular audio production, and hopefully – in time – a regular radio feature on Radio Reverb, ResonanceFM, or Soundart Radio. Over the years the feedback I have had is that it is both good and bad to jumble art, everyday life, knitting, sounds, etc. all together as I do here, but my preference is for these things to remain in a tangle, and I’m happy – maybe even determined – to keep pushing for that confusion; that mixing up of art and life.

Through the process of writing my thesis amendments, (which are mercifully at last completed) I clarified for myself that I will always be somewhere at the edges of the world of concerts and gigs, plying such events with questions about where the art and the real world collide; bringing my knitting with me to experimental concerts, and turning my kitchen into a world of sonic experimentation. I also started to wonder, as I wrote, why it has been that in previous radio productions, I have put on a kind of “proper” BBC voice, rather than believing in my natural accent which belies my Croydon roots, my time in Ireland, and my middle-class parentage. It’s impossible to study sounds for many years and the veracity of different sound recordings without developing questions around the use of your own voice. My own voice annoys me and I cringe when I hear myself banging on, asking stupid questions, going off on a rant – or, worst of all, interrupting someone in the middle of what they are saying. But on the other hand, those are the sounds of the Felix being in the world and they are just as much a part of the soundscape as the seagulls or the wind or the traffic or the check-out or whatever else it is that I am recording. And I wouldn’t ask a seagull to “say it properly” if I was trying to record its calls, so why do I change my own voice into something supposedly more “proper” when I come to record the words for a radio show?

So I am experimenting with using my own voice a little bit more, and also with mixing up art and reality a bit. And the result is The Felicity Ford Radio Show. The only reason it is called The Felicity Ford Radio Show, is that the only thing all my disparate interests have in common, is that they get mixed up inside of my head, and because I want the license to talk about whatever I’m interested in, and for the whole project to not be subjugated to some kind of over-arching theme. I also want to put more of myself into this radio project; to use my own voice and to work on my own style of presenting which is not the BBC style.

This first episode is here, and it contains some silly jingles… some accordion music… and many interviews and guests:

Arty Street Party, organised by Suzanne Stallard. The Arty Street Party was on in Reading last week, and was basically a small group of creatives taking over the main street in Reading in order to tell the public about our work and to bring colour and play into the town centre…

…the coverage of the Arty Street Party features interviews with Lisa-Marie Gibbs, Martin Stubbington, UK Handmade, Arty Giraffe, Morearts and the lads running the popular La Tasca Paella stall.

There are also recordings throughout this section of Broad Street in Reading, which is where the street party was; paella sizzling; me plying the public with sonic cupcakes; and Salvo Toscano’s old film camera shutter snapping, as he documented and photographed the whole event.

You can also hear a little music from Steve Morano; and the sound of the rain as it descended on us at around 3pm and washed out the Arty Street Party! In this section, I also talk about a soundmap of Reading project which I have begun work on, inspired by the time I spent in Tallinn playing with the Tuned City Soundmap. At the Arty Street Party, I simply bought a map of Reading, a stash of pins, some pens and some tags and asked people to tell me what sounds mattered to them…

…which leads nicely on to the next section of the Felicity Ford Radio Show, which is all about the Tuned City Soundmap in Tallinn. I really wanted to show the sounds of Reading right next to the sounds of Tallinn, because this demonstrates perfectly how sound works to make places feel either exotic or familiar. I also wanted to follow up a little bit on the work that John Grzinich, Patrick McGinley and Carlo Cubero, et al did with Anthropology students in Tallinn, and to compile a small bit of radio in which all our Soundmap experiments are shown together, in case it is useful for them to hear how we worked with their Soundmap (apologies for the poor quality of the photo.)

So in this section you hear John Grzinich speaking at Kultuurikatel about the process of developing the Tuned City Soundmap. You can also hear street sounds from Tallinn which I recorded while I was there; then you hear many recordings created during the Framework Tuned City workshop, where we were trying to document in sound the experience of exploring Tallinn using our Soundmap. You hear myself and Lewis exploring the town centre on a busy market day… you hear us inside a stone passageway that is part of the old town’s medieval wall… you hear us on the trolley bus, using the Komposter (which is an endangered sound in Tallinn, because soon this kind of ticket-puncher will be removed entirely from the buses). Kaisa explains the Komposter to me, and I geek out on the rarity of the sound.

Then I talk a bit about how I am feeling lonely in Reading. It’s not really that I don’t have friends here who I love, it’s just that I am missing some feral elements in my life, and especially some really badass partner-in-crime girlfriends. I rediscovered a wildness in myself while I was travelling in Tallinn, and realised that more mischief is needed in my life. I intend to remedy this by forming an all-female klezmer band – (Gumtree ad here) as everyone who has ever been a badass compadre in my life has been some form of klezmer enthusiast. There is a very bad rendition of half of Hava Nagila in this section of the podcast, for which I apologise. I clearly need to watch this and practice.

Moving on from this self-indulgence, the Felicity Ford Radio Show then moves on the joys of the toolbelt that Brenda gave me last time I saw her. The Toolbelt is a thing of joy. Look how happy I am in this photograph – taken by the magnificent Valeria Merlini in Tallinn – recording the sounds of the railings on the Linahall building, with somewhere for all my pens, batteries, usb sticks etc. to be stored about my person:

GET YOUR OWN HERE! Another surprisingly useful article of clothing which I am building into my Women’s Land Army/Utility Sound Artist costume, is the turban I knitted a few months back using the Year of the Goat’s Turbanite pattern. My new favourite thing is wearing this turban with microphones pinned inside it. I discuss my appalling approach to reading knitting patterns and then go on to share some of the recordings I have collected by hiding microphones inside my turban…

…this outlandish garb leads onto how I earned the label of “The Eccentric Englishwoman” while I was in Tallinn, and how I wonder if any of you would identify with that particular label? I am a massive fan of being an eccentric and I wonder here if I should design a special custom-made button badge for anyone who identifies with the label “The Eccentric Englishwoman.” If you A. identify with the label and B. want a badge, leave a comment. If I get 10 comments, I will design The Eccentric Englishwomen Badges, and we can hold an AGM.

The show finally closes (sorry folks, I got carried away and it’s an hour long…) with a recipe for Sonic Cupcakes which I will share here, because audio formats are not very useful in the kitchen.

Ingredients (makes 36):

1 1/4 cups Sugar
1 1/2 cups of margarine or butter
1 tsp Strawberry essence
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 tsp salt
4 Eggs
Juice + zest of a lemon
2 1/2 cups Plain flour
3 sachets Exploding mouth candy
Squirty cream


Cream sugar and fat together until nice and fluffy, then thoroughly stir in baking powder, salt, and strawberry essence. Add the lemon zest and juice and stir in well. Now add eggs one at a time, putting flour into the mix in between times until it is all mixed in… finally, toss your exploding mouth candy into the mix, and spoon the mix into cupcake cases in a muffin tin. Bake for 20 mins at Gas Mark 4.

Cool on a wire rack, then once they are cool, cover them in squirty cream and top with exploding mouth candy. As you serve them, enjoy the quality sounds of fizzing, popping, exploding, and of course the unrivalled whooshing of the squirty cream as it flies out of the nozzle of the aerosol.

So that is the first episode of The Felicity Ford Radio Show. I will see how downloads go and read any comments with a huge sense of gratitude and also a listening ear… and I hope that you like it, and… if you know any Klezmer Music Enthusiast Ladies in Berkshire, please give them my URL.

17 Responses to The Felicity Ford Radio Show, PILOT

  1. Knit Nurse says:

    If I am to be labelled anything, I demand that it be an Eccentric Englishwoman, which is great because it enables me to announce my nationality while still making it clear that I do not intend to conform with anything in any other way whatsoever!

  2. Knit Nurse says:

    Oh and just to add, really looking forward to listening to this!!!!!

  3. Liz A. says:

    Loved the pilot episode of the Felicity Ford radio show – and I would definitely be happy to be labelled as an Eccentric Englishwoman.

  4. Mark says:

    Can’t wait to hear it on my way to work tomorrow …hope you have got a Thought for the Day 🙂


  5. tomofholland says:

    Can we please also have an “The Eccentric Gentleman”? Or KNERD!

  6. colleen says:

    “Beer, cake, turbans and toolbelts”. I’ve just had a lovely time listening to the full show, laughing out loud, thinking of a time when we had beer/ cake/turban combos; nodding along in agreement with the blast about the absence of pockets; contemplating sonic cakes and wondering how they would go down on one of our Wi cake stalls; and thinking about what makes an Eccentric Englishwoman. I often wonder whether people say stuff about us like “Oh, you know the pair of them. You always see them around here. He often has a big plant or a block of wood in the front of his bike. Yes, riding a bike at his age. And her. Why she wears those funny old shoes with a summer frock, I don’t know. And what’s that thing on her head? ” Etc, etc

    Very good to hear you.

  7. john g says:

    and you’re off… great start. good to hear more tidbits from Tallinn. keep it up

  8. Kaisa says:

    Wohoooo, Felix!!!! It’s so heart-warming to hear your voice again. I miss u too!
    This show is brilliant! I love your idea of sonic cupcakes! Have to try to make them myself as well. And pockets! Yes yes yes, i agree! I always have to have trousers with loads of pockets.
    I’d join your band in a heartbeat, one of my favorite movies is Fiddler on The Roof, so yeah, go go Felix! Make a band and come to perform in Estonia;)
    So, now that I am I think one of the biggest fan of your show, give us more! May many more Felicity Ford Radio Shows follow!
    Loads of hugs,

  9. joe stevens says:

    sounds great Felix, right up my st (interjecting into the middle of someone talking – a conversation, mixed with soundscapes and sound mapping) & i’m sure become another podcast fav to look out for along with Framework & genepool. I’ll download and listen to now.

    might even get me (finally!) doing a new show i’ve been mulling over for quite awhile based loosely around genepool. A half hr show re Conversations around Olympics, culture and a sense of place.


  10. Kate says:

    Very much enjoyed the pilot episode – here’s to many more. Really enjoyed the soundmap discussions, pockets, and super-turban, and how lovely was that chap with his ephemeral ark of paper animals? Vive naughtiness, I say – I look forward to the Klesmer band. I absolutely love what you say about the eccentric Englishwoman – I know that my neighbours think about me in much the same way as Colleen’s do her – but I do wonder whether the act of claiming the identity of an eccentric sort of negates one’s essential eccentricity??

  11. Des Coulam says:

    I’ve just found your site. Fantastic. I shall come back regularly.

  12. Nancy says:

    I’m listening to the show right now and LOVING it! Keep up the work!

  13. joe stevens says:

    As the above posts say, the bits i loved most were ‘your voice’. I wasn’t taken along by the start with the market stall holders. But once you started discussing your impressions of the day, what you’d hoped to achieve and how you felt it went, it really picked up & i’ll definitely subscribe to future Felicity Ford podcasts.

    On a practical level, as I say I’ve been thinking of producing a regular show, is an hr too long? Could this have been 3 or 4 shows. Make it appear once a wk. There are some podcasts I enjoy popping into me inbox every wk and look out for these days when they appear. As if you are thinking of it playing on a FM radio station will they not want a regular show?

    But saying that one of the beauties i find of podcasts is that i can open itunes and bingo a new broadcast has appeared to one of the shows i follow. They can be silent for ages and then suddenly put out a new program & it automatically gets downloaded by my subscription.

    A great new addition to the ‘airwaves’ where you mix your interests all together into the unique Felicity Ford show, that highlights your individual voice, is a winner. When’s the next one out.

  14. Knit Nurse says:

    So many amazing sounds…Soun….SSOUNDS! Really enjoyed the show, in particular the quality of the amazing sounds. Loved the rain, i could almost feel my feet getting wet, and the ticket punch, very distinctive and quite a nice change from an Oyster swipe!

  15. tomofholland says:

    Big A and me listened to the Felicity Ford Radio Show accompanied by TEA and KNITTING. Perfect combination!

  16. xenia says:

    i really enjoyed that! the only thing i was missing – desperately- was a picture of the toolbelt.

  17. Pingback: Knitsonik » Archive » KNITSONIKTM investigates making sounds

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