In many ways, producing my programme at present is like sitting At The Crossroads and waiting for the fiddler to arrive from the left, the flute player from the right, the dancers from behind me and the seanchaí from straight ahead. However, all the roads are empty and I don’t know when anyone will be coming along them.
So, while I’m waiting, I’m reliving great events held At The Crossroads in the past and keeping listeners in touch with how the people who can’t come along at present are getting on.
It is, of course, a challenge to keep an arts programme vibrant during a time when the arts are depressed. Despite great efforts to keep arts activities going via online platforms, the immediacy and ‘being there’ feeling cannot be the same and this also affects the radio reports on the events.
To keep things lively, archive material has proved very useful. Some fantastic readings and performances have again seen the light of day and I’ve found some marvellous and previously unused recordings. Occasional virtual interviews have been possible, too.
The practicalities of programme production in lockdown have proved to be less of a problem than expected. Most of the tasks can be carried out comparatively easily at home, though I do miss the friendly banter with Radio members and staff. Only one aspect has really proved troublesome – the recording of my own parts of the programme, without a soundproofed space.
First, I tried recording straight into the computer. The recording programme picked up the computer sounds. Then I tried recording into my portable recording device. It picked up the hum of the aquarium equipment, the splash of water from the filtering system and something else that I couldn’t identify so couldn’t eliminate.
I shut myself away in the only quiet room. Joe-Beddau, my cat, cried at the door – Siamese have a very plaintive and LOUD cry. I let him in. He was good as gold but his collar-bell jangled and jangled and jangled.
Now the most important part of preparing my programme is removing Joe’s collar before I start!
Until the next At The Crossroads programme, slán go fóill!