Berlin, Day Two.

I have lost my sound recorder. I left it on the national express bus and I realised straight away that I had done it, as we queued for our bags to be checked, as the bus pulled away. I wrote to the company, describing the colour, the placement of the dials, the woolen sock it slept in.

I have had it for a day. Or slightly less, so I think I even surprised myself when I told national express that it had ‘great sentimental value’. It does. The object itself has a weight and a design style right on the edge of extinction, scrambling to anticipate its descendants characteristics: plastic dials, soft rubber buttons, switches, input slides, all thrown together in panic for the future. Edirol R-1, you were wrong. You never anticipated touch screen.

Other than the look of the thing, the medium is new and exciting to me. I’m sure it will become corrupted soon enough, but at the moment I think of it as the most objective record of events. I know; there are choices everywhere, when to record, what to use. But still. It is a quiet selection, comfortable with itself.

I am sitting under a Martini umbrella in the rain, facing a workshop that looks like it is used for bootmaking. The recorder asks what I can hear. Mainly the rain on the umbrella, and footfall; every now and then there is a dull hammering, or sawing from the workshop. There is the sound of plates, of breakfast somewhere. I hear the various speeds of the rain – from the sky to the ground, the faster water on umbrellas, the slower dripping from leaves and chairs. Cars, and the hum of larger engines. The rain itself, the water in the air, before it touches anything.

There are three recordings that I might never hear. Us, waiting at the bus station, whistling, every sound bounching off the glass and metal roof, running into the ticking-over engines. Us, all of us, talking and drinking on sofas, listened to from the corner of the room. I have heard the other recording – a test, in our house. A dry leaf, a vine still clinging to it, scraping against the white of the window frame. Even when it isn’t being played I imagine it as an entity around the recorder, or as an event in motion.

There are recordings that I have already missed. On a train, with the iron on tracks panning hard to the left and right as other engines pass. The indescribable sound of eight people sleeping.


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