1. Say No To Pylons

Find a pylon, the base of which can be easily and safely accessed. Stand about 1m away from one of its legs and shout “no!” as loudly as you can. Continue to say “no” repeatedly, each time trying to inflect the word with a different meaning, for example:

- Quietly and in consolation
- Strictly, like you are stopping a child
- Drawn out and in slow-motion, as though running towards a disaster in a film
- Coyly and perhaps meaning yes
- In response to the pylon having asked a very stupid question

When you have exhausted your repertoire, walk away.

2. A Distant Gate

Accidentally record a distant gate. When this happens, try to find the gate and record it on purpose.

3. Lament

"The Sirens, too, sang that way. It would be doing them an injustice to think that they wanted to seduce; they knew they had claws and sterile wombs, and they lamented this aloud. They could not help it if their laments sounded so beautiful."
Kafka, Parables and Paradoxes.

Obtain an Ice Cream Van with a fully functioning chime. Drive it as quickly as is safe along a high, remote stretch of road, sounding the chimes within the parameters of the Code of Practice on Noise from Ice-Cream Van Chimes Etc. in England 2013. (Key points: the performance must take place between noon and 7pm on the same day; the chimes must be sounded for no longer than 12 seconds and no more frequently than every 2 minutes; the chimes should be operated solely for informing the public, "otherwise than by means of words", that a perishable commodity for human consumption is for sale from the vehicle). Do not stop other than to use a passing place or in the case of a genuine emergency

Indicative routes:

From Hawes to Buckden via Beggarmans Rd., Cam High Rd., Oughtershaw Rd., Stubbing Lane and Dubb's Lane.
From Bridge of Orchy to Ballachulish via the A82.
From Marybank (Stornoway) to Carloway via. the A858 and the Pentland Rd.
From Beckfoot to Little Langdale via Hardknott Pass and Wrynose Pass.

4. Beating The Bounds

Volunteer for a slot at a local radio station, ideally for two to three hours late at night. You may have to accept an earlier, shorter slot, depending on how long you want to wait and how many stations you are willing to be in contact with. If you have been given an evening slot and it is summer, contrive a show to fill the weeks until your slot falls after dark.

Once everything is in place, leave a simple tone playing on a loop at the start of your show. The tone should be something that isn't easily mistaken for interference: i.e. avoid white noise or single high frequency sine waves, perhaps instead choosing two midrange sine waves a major third apart.

Walk out of the studio with a portable radio tuned to the local station, and a torch. Continue walking away from the station until reception is significantly impaired by going behind a hill or into a deep glen. Explore, test and perform the physical boundaries of your broadcast using your portable radio, holding it aloft and waving your arm, or running through an open space. Generate rhythms, improvise.

Always listen to the tone you left on loop, and continue for as long as you can while allowing yourself time to walk back to the studio before your slot ends.

Copyright 2020, Hector MacInnes. All Rights Reserved.