An occasional series inspired by 'found sounds'.
My co-author Derek Bacon has a collection online, including this seasonal offering. However, he is by no means the first to add real sounds to music. For a fine example, have a listen to the middle section of Bridget St. John's Ask Me No Questions (from 1969) and be transported to an English village green in a summer's evening.
More recently, I've been listening to a number of singers who also incorporate 'found sounds' in their work.
Another singer-songwriter is Hanne Hukkelberg from Norway. Her album, Little Things, made intelligent use of found sounds in the form of glockenspiel, theremin, various kitchen utensils, bicycle spokes and, er … rain. (More here.)
I don't have a 'smart phone' and don't want one as I prefer to engage with life face-to-face. My only recording device is my home computer, so my 'found sounds' are remembered words, a snippet of a conversation which in isolation become non sequiturs which have the essential element of 'surprise', of thought patterns skipping a beat at the moment of hearing.
Others have collections of these, perhaps because they've made an effort to eavesdrop.
The Man Who Fell Asleep has a blog, although he's currently taking a sabbatical from it. In it, he has published one-liners overheard on his journeys on the London Underground. These often made little sense – like this one: "I am going on a guided tour by myself." Do have a browse and be prepared to have your mind boggled.
More recently, Michael Holden has been All Ears for similar moments. If you, like he, overhead "Maybe cucumber would help. Have you tried cucumber?", what would you have made of it?
This is a small selection to start my own collection.
– Way back when, in the inter-regnum between marriages, I went on a blind date to a Vietnamese restaurant in Tooting, South London. As so often happens on such occasions, we'd paused to think about the next safe topic of conversation to initiate when we heard from a table across the room: "To look at him, you wouldn't believe he's a Jehovah's Witness, would you?"
– "I'd like an iced tea, but hold the ice."
– Me: "I'd like a chef's salad, please."
—Me: "Because I'm hungry."
Feel free to add similar bon môts.