On Nature and Books

Next spring we’ll be making a new show in partnership with the Young Vic, called Above Me the Wide Blue Sky.  It’s an exploration of  how our idea of “home” is as much to do with landscape, weather, light and nature as it is to do with people and buildings.  It’s one of those projects which could contain pretty much everything in the world, if we let it, and to add more grist to the mill I’m making the most of the Jubilee by having a reading week.

Yesterday I read Kathleen Jamie’s fabulous collection of essays, “Sightlines”, which contains a wonderful set of pieces on things ranging from whales’ eardrums to counting Storm Petrels.  It’s humble, unromantic, unheroic, funny and razor sharp.  A fine book.

Today I’m onto “The Great Animal Orchestra” by Bernie Krause, and what a cracker this one is too.  Krause makes 3D recordings of ecosystems, and identified how everything in any system makes sounds that fits into the spaces left by all the other things making sounds.  From the insects to the birds to the mammals to the plants to the weather and everything else inbetween and around:  a natural orchestra, which might just be where we evolved all our culture of music…

Grass growing makes sound: who knew?  Viruses detaching from cell walls make a sound: who knew?

Go out, and listen.  Don’t wait to hear things:  listen.

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