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I am having a fad for podcasts at the moment. Although I have been familiar with podcasts for a while and in fact had a previous brief fan-period a few years ago, this time I am experiencing some interesting phenomena.

(1) I listened to the whole of BBC Sounds’ “Forest 404” in one weekend. Most of this was in the privacy of my own home, but a couple of episodes and the accompanying soundscapes were listened to on headphones whilst doing some al fresco varnishing in a rural sailing club. The podcast includes sounds from nature: rather restful and lovely to listen to indoors, but bizarrely outside I found myself looking around for the source of the birdsong and unnerved by the proximity of crashing waves. My body and my head were clearly confused by the mixed messages. Clearly in my living room the noises must be coming from the fictional soundtrack – but outside, I just wasn’t so sure.

(2) I was also struck just today by the incongruities we experience by  consuming a podcast or other recorded material whilst going about our business wherever we choose. I was on the top deck of a London bus, returning from a short visit to the privileged and beautiful Hurlingham Club in West London (on an “open garden” afternoon – I’m not a member!), travelling along the A3 past a large supermarket and an even larger crematorium, listening to a back-number Desert Island Discs with Cressida Dick, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. One of her tracks was a hymn – “Lord of all hopefulness”. They played just the last verse, as we passed the crematorium, and immediately I was at a funeral. Out came the weepy eye.

How easily we are distracted and taken somewhere surprising. I know we have been able to listen to music in the car, for example, for years and years, but it just struck me how incongruous things can be now that we have almost anything on tap almost anywhere.

To cheer up when I got home I watch a few of those “funniest bits from Good Morning” which keep popping up on Facebook. I was soon laughing out loud again. There’s nothing like a bit of nonsense to keep us going. By the way, I have never watched Good Morning and probably will never risk it now, because I will expect it all to be one long laugh and would undoubtedly be sadly disappointed.  I used to walk past the studio each morning but had no idea of the larks that were going on inside.

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