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Table of contents
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- kangaroo Manual
- Radio Drama: Theory and Practice
He emigrated to Sydney in , and in his head of an Australian aboriginal was bought for the national gallery at Sydney. If an internal link intending to refer to a specific person led you to this page, you may wish to change that link by adding the person's given name s to the link. According to Online Etymology Dictionary by Douglas Harper, " Polack " meant as "Polish immigrant, person of Polish descent" was used in American English until the late 19th century to describe a "Polish person" in a non-offensive way Age 2 to 6: Benedict de Spinoza , Dutch Jewish philosopher, one of the foremost exponents of 17th-century Rationalism and one of the early and seminal figures of the Enlightenment.
His masterwork is the treatise Ethics He finally conceded that she was right. Where this has not been achieved I offer an advance apology and explain that the trail of research has not been able to reach you. I beg your indulgence to include the information for the purposes of scholarship, review and educational learning. Radio is infinitely sexier. Garrison Keillor, Radio Romance, And more particularly: I live right inside radio when I listen. Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media, Radio drama has been one of the most unappreciated and understated literary forms of the twentieth century and the purpose of this book is to demonstrate that this neglect should not continue into the twenty-first century.
Academics, media theorists and writers in most cultures have not fully appreciated that the medium of sound has provided an environment in which a new storytelling genre has been born. It has developed with sophistication and explosive energy; it now occupies a significant position in the cultural lives of societies throughout the globe.
Even where the dominance of long-form popular dramas has transferred to television, the audio drama narrative is central to the short narrative communication of radio commercials. Huge traditions, styles and movements have been established and remain largely undocumented. Even now, radio drama is regarded as an adjunct of radio production practice.
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The international radio academy, which includes practitioners as well as philosophers, is gathering to debate, discuss and present papers. Many aspects of previous academic evaluation of the subject are unreliable. This is not due to intrinsic failings in individual approach. It is more a case of underdeveloped radio theory and a continuing struggle to legitimise sound art or radio drama in terms of its equality as an art form. If this is the case, radio or audio drama has to begin with the medium of recorded sound and the dynamics of its transmission.
These phases clearly predate radio. This is perfectly valid. History requires datelines to frame development. Fortunately texts exist to point to defining moments. Eckersley, in his The Power behind the Microphone , describes a radio drama experiment transmitted on 17 October from the research station at Writtle, near Chelmsford, Essex: We did a wireless play. We chose the balcony scene from Cyrano: We sat round a kitchen table in the middle of the wooden hut, with its shelves and benches packed with prosaic apparatus, and said our passionate lines into the lip of our separate microphones.
It was all rather fun. Doubtless at times I was horribly facetious, but I did try to be friendly and talk with, rather than at, my listeners. We failed to take ourselves seriously, and broadcasting, as we saw it, was nothing more nor less than an entertainment, for us as much as the listeners.
The carbon button microphones Herrold used had very limited 4 A new media history perspective pick-up range, and his students improvised a reflector to collect the sound out of an old wooden chopping bowl. The signal was transmitted to the bank building through an ordinary telephone connection. And it would go through; voices would go through pretty good. It would be a brave scholar who confidently asserted that the first US radio drama had been identified with a particular date and on a certain radio station.
KYW in Chicago began in as a specialist opera station and did not include time signals, weather bulletins, news and phonograph records. The early pioneering programming concentrated on six days a week broadcasts of the Chicago Civic Opera Company. The radio play, a new form of dramatic interest, is increasing rapidly in popularity. Go to a movie and then come home and listen to a Radario and you will have received two exactly opposite theatrical effects.
Perhaps, in the near future, you may have both movie and Radio broadcast to you. Of course, scenes and acts from current plays are often broadcast, but many eastern stations now have their own theatrical groups and give plays especially adapted for Radio use. Pretend you are blind and listen to these plays. The better your imagination, the better the play. It is generally agreed that the first play written for radio was A Comedy of Danger 5 Radio drama: The engineers had helped all they could, but this was the last straw.
Even popping a paper bag would blow every fuse in Savoy Hill. But Playfair was something of a genius, and utterly unscrupulous. Reporters and critics were going to listen in a room specially provided for them, with its own loudspeaker. They never discovered they had heard it through the wall. Radio drama had emitted its first, faint, infant wail. In a brightly lit room a young woman in evening dress and two men holding sheets of paper in their hands declaimed to a microphone their horror at being imprisoned in the mine.
Outside the room a young man sat cross-legged on the floor, with telephone receivers on his ears, and as he heard through the receivers the progress of the piece he signalled to two assistants on a lower landing to make noises to represent the action of the play. This was achieved by placing a microphone near the centre of the footlights with a special speech amplifier under the stage.
If the script does not survive and there is no permanent recording how are we to evaluate the artistic 6 A new media history perspective experience? Most early radio plays created by the BBC and other international broadcasting organisations have not survived as mechanical records. Very few mechanical records are made of stage productions. The script has tended to survive for both forms in the same way that manuscript musical scores have preserved the code of historic operas and musical presentations. Without permanent record, radio drama is an ephemeral art form. It exists in the moment of its produced performance.
Peter Brook defined the experience of stage theatre as RRA: Sound art or storytelling through recorded and transmitted sound was spawned before the technological gestation of film. Sound drama achieved its artistic independence as a dimension of theatre before film. Is sound drama only a sound phenomenon delineated and separated from imagebased narrative?
I would argue that it is not. I would argue that it cannot be said that the ear cannot see. I realise that this is an oxymoronic statement but I would additionally argue that their brains construct an imaginative world based on image and fully separated from the eye as camera. Their experience is as rich and fulfilling as those who have the eye as camera.
Profoundly deaf people can hear in their minds. The music created by deaf people has narrative, mood, emotion and aesthetics. In Latin theatre is a feminine noun, theatrum. In Greek it is a feminine noun, theatron. Sound theatre exists as a dramatic storytelling form communicating action as well as narrative. I stress these issues because if we are talking about radio or audio drama, the state of listening is linked directly to the technological and psychological experience of hearing radio signals.
The same can be applied to audio or sound signals. Can theatre encompass the idea of a staging or amphitheatre in the mind of the individual as much as in the physical auditorium or cinema? I believe that theatre as a concept is not intrinsically linked to and dependent on the spectacle. It is as much about listening as it is about spectating. Inside the 7 Radio drama: Is there a seminal theoretical text to accompany an understanding of the social and artistic significance of sound and radio in relation to the human imagination?
The Making of Typographic Man is this text. Print communication created a psychological perspective which was linear, uniform, connected and continuous and heralded a linear framework of thought which McLuhan went on to assert manifested itself in linear economics, industrial environment and the linear assembly lines of manufacturing. It became a communications root for disseminating the concept of nationalism.
The primary medium of human communication in the preliterate, tribal era was the spoken word and the human ear. The Gutenberg Age introduced the printed word and the human eye as the primary medium of human communication. This is boundless, directionless, charged with emotion and horizonless.
The written page bounded this space with margins, sharply defined letters and edges. The printed page removes the acoustic space for speech, but it then acquires a powerful visual bias. The significance of the introduction of sound recording and transmission technology is that it marked the onset of the retribalised electronic age. McLuhan argues in his The Medium is the Message , that the apparently powerful extension of speech afforded by recording and transmission technology had the effect of reducing the sensory capacity of speech.
What is clear is that mechanical and electronic sound communication depends on the single sense of the auditory canal and like writing stimulates a powerful visual perspective. It is auditory in the physical dimension but equally powerful as a visual force in the psychological dimension. McLuhan said in In McLuhan thought about the spatialisation of media and ascribed to writing the spatialisation of thought.
And when messages can be transported, then come the road, and armies, and empires. A hot medium is that which has high definition for senses and gives a lot of information with little to do. He is right in the sense that only the ear as a sense is engaged. But I believe he may well be wrong in the limit he places on the participation of the listener as audience.
He has to imagine for himself what the people look like and the scenery, creating them out of his own experience. Then the dial is retuned to an Italian station playing a French chansonette: This is the great miracle of wireless. The omnipresence of what people are singing or saying anywhere, the overlapping of frontiers, the conquest of spatial isolation, the importation of culture on the waves of the ether, the same fare for all, sound in silence. Arnheim mentions that 40 million sets were scattered around the world in In it was estimated that 40 million computer users were connected to the Internet.
In sixty years the global village was transmogrified into a multidimensional nexus of world media. Sound whether by wire or wireless is a communications web that has made our world a village of information and enter taiment. By the year it has been estimated million people will have been connected to the Internet. There had been the curious juxtaposition of sound drama offering words but no physical images, and silent films which offered images but no physical 9 Radio drama: It should not be forgotten that film was presented to audiences with a powerful, dramatic and narrative structured musical accompaniment.
This laboratory stage operated in other countries. In the German Weimar Republic, radio programming had embraced a powerful and experimental period of audio drama production in the context of a non-commercial and state controlled industry. Weimar Republic thinkers had high expectations for radio, believing that it could be used to educate the masses politically and culturally. Radio was to be the medium which brought the fine arts of music and theatre to the common people. Bertolt Brecht was a pioneer practitioner and significant theoretical philosopher on the artistic and social potential of radio.
In his play Mann is Mann was adapted for radio broadcast. It is purely an apparatus for distribution, for mere sharing out. So here is a positive suggestion: The radio would be the finest possible communication apparatus in public life, a vast network of pipes. That is to say, it would be if it knew how to receive as well as to transmit, how to let the listener speak as well as hear. It was not the public that waited for radio but that radio waited for the public; to define the situation of radio more accurately, raw material was not waiting for methods of production based on social needs but means of production were looking anxiously for raw material.
It was suddenly possible to say everything to everybody but, thinking about it, there was nothing to say. You little box, held to me when escaping So that your valves should not break, Carried from house to ship from ship to train, So that my enemies might go on talking to me Near my bed, to my pain The last thing at night, the first thing in the morning, Of their victories and of my cares, Promise me not to go silent all of a sudden. Arnheim defined the challenge with his observation: The essence of broadcasting consists just in the fact that it alone offers unity by aural means. The sensory preponderance of the visual over the aural in our life is so great that it is difficult to get used to considering the aural world as more than just a transition to the visual world.
Her book Broadcasting would appear to have been the first single authored text on radio and broadcasting by a woman published in English. Her contributions are paradoxical for the period and for the stereotypical assumptions made about gender equality and social hierarchy in Britain at that time. Her over-exertions in intelligence work during the Second World War probably contributed to her early death.
She was a passionate believer in freedom of expression, particularly in the context of culture and literature, yet she had been and continued to be a British intelligence careerist. She was a lesbian and lover of Vita Sackville-West and at the same time and for six years a close working colleague of the allegedly homophobic Sir John Reith. She predates Marshall McLuhan by quoting H. Wells on the sociological and cultural significance of radio communication: Wells has suggested, in five different stages: How can we escape from this new noise that is adding to the distractions of an already complex world?
The questions she posed are as relevant today as they were then: Drama, throughout the ages, has been presented as an art, a show, in which vision was at least as important as hearing. How far can broadcasting hope to translate the appeal to the eye into the appeal to the ear? How far must it seek for a new literature and a new drama? And how far — to look even deeper — can any form of art, — most of all, perhaps, the intimate art of poetry — hope to make itself understood and appreciated when it is diffused indiscriminately through millions of loud speakers to the whole general public?
To what extent can this experience account for the emergence of modernity in the contemporary writing of the period?
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James Joyce embraced the linguistic experimentation of subtext through phonetic irony in a way which challenged the linear framework of the hundreds of years of previous literary expression. Paul Tissien of the Wilfrid Laurier University has recognised this curious dynamic: In a way, the highly visible new media made strangely appropriate bedfellows for the new literature developing under the modernism of Joyce and Eliot, Richardson and Woolf. They were exploring subjectivity, dream, memory, and the unconscious by concentrating on the impressionistic role of the various senses in apprehending experience; to observers as early as and , the modernists seemed at times to be imitating, or parodying, the new media.
Eliot was pointing to the capacity of the auditory imagination to renew and retrieve human art through the technological extension of communication: It works through meanings, certainly, or not without meanings in the ordinary sense, and fuses the old and obliterated, and the trite, the current, and the new and the surprising, the most ancient and the most civilized mentality.
The new entertainment was funded by the telephone companies. Ader himself was responsible for the first wired broadcast experiment at the Paris Opera. Armstrong patented the radio transmission of stereo signals on FM. Not only were the voices of the actors, actresses and singers heard in this way but also the instruments of the orchestra, the applause, laughter of the audience and the voice of the prompter were heard. Subscribers were offered special hookups to five Paris theatres for live performances. The annual subscription fee was a steep francs, and 15 francs more were charged to subscribers for each use.
Between acts and when nothing was happening on stage, the company piped out piano solos from its offices. The market for such acoustic consumption was so strong that it was possible to present several different programmes from various theatres. The English electrophone had arrived on the scene by The communication of concerts over longer distances was achieved between Paris and Brussels in and from Paris to London in , and a mixed service of news, telephone concerts and lectures was developed in Budapest in An article in the Boston Evening Record in indicates that electrophone communications were being developed in the USA.
Telephone operators sometimes sponsored entertainments in the middle of the night when consumer demand was small. The operator in Providence plays the banjo, the Worcester operator the harmonica, and gently the others sing. Some tune will be started by the players and the other will sing. To appreciate the effect, one must have a transmitter close to his ear. The music will sound as clear as though it were in the same room.
A thousand people were said to have listened to a formal recital presented through the facilities of the Home Telephone Company in Painesville, Ohio, in Religion was a major incentive for the application of the new technology. Carolyn Marvin found evidence of an inauguration in of a service in Christ Church in Birmingham which was connected to subscribers in London, Manchester, Derby, Coventry, Kidderminster and Hanley.
When the morning service commenced there was what appeared to be an unseemly clamor to hear the services. But presently quiet obtained and by the time the Psalms were reached we got almost unbroken connection and could follow the course of the services. We could hear little of the prayers probably from the fact that the officiating minister was not within voice-reach of the transmitter. The organ had a faint, far-away sound, but the singing and the sermon were a distinct success.
The electrophone beat the telegraph by one hour and twenty seven minutes. To look into the room was to hear nothing. Recordings of short plays presented at music halls during this period were also marketed on phonograph discs for domestic entertainment and some of these have survived in private collections and are now available on archive compact discs CDs. Socially and psychologically the communication and the experience by the listener was equal to the relationship between broadcaster and listener in radio.
On 15 January , the London Times reported the presentation of a paper by J. The report included valuable information about the technology and problems encountered: In the theatres the installations varied in accordance with the demands for service and the numbers of transmitters ranged from 12 to 96, 20 to 24 being the general number. The transmitters were fitted in the footlights and the other apparatus was placed in a cupboard under the stage.
The transmitter, known as the Angelini and made in Rome, was of the granular type. Its efficiency was greater than that of any pattern tried hitherto. The apparatus employed in churches was similar to that used in the theatres and in this case it was placed in the pulpit, the lectern or the choir stalls. In the exchange situated at no.
The author was convinced that there was a future for the service if it could be developed on business lines. There would be considerable improvements to transmission at an early date. The present trouble was connected with the transmitter for although the volume of sound received was satisfactory, the desired clearness of articulation was not secured. When a 18 The electrophone or theatrophone performance using words is projected in a large space, microphones and amplifiers can only pick up an ambient acoustic, whereas the successful future for sound recording required the mastering of a close microphone technique of talking and performance to the microphone.
The year also saw intriguing news reports of the electrophone being used for a London and Paris link up and the Royal Family embracing its potential for providing entertainment to the Empress of Russia. The British Post Master General and the French Minister of Post and Telegraphs have concurred in a proposal for an interesting international exchange by telephone wire. Tomorrow evening an electrophone connection will be made between London and the stage of the Paris Opera House and guests invited to the Electrophone Salon in Gerrard Street, W.
It is true that owing to the difficulty of returning possession of the trunk lines only brief snatches of Faust were to be heard and for the most part the instruments repeated strains from London theatres and music halls. But sufficient was heard to prove the practicability of transmitting music from Paris to London and though the sounds were less in volume than those which are from places a few hundreds of yards distant, they were not less distinct.
This achievement has been rendered possible by means of technical improvements which have been introduced in the construction of the lines in particular the adoption of loading. Empress Marie of Russia came to London on a state visit and opera by means of electrophone became part of the hospitality: The electrophone was placed in the footlights at Covent Garden Theatre. As an instance of some of the refinements of active service to which we are being introduced, it may be mentioned that the men in certain front line trenches have been regaling themselves by listening on the telephone to a gramophone concert 8 miles away.
This was the wonder of the invention and development of radio communication by the egotistic and aggressively competing Lee D. Forests, Reginald Fessendons and Edwin H. Armstrongs of the radio age. Yet a source transmission to a multiplicity of telephone subscribers achieved the same purpose.
It is right to look at the social hegemony of access based on cost. This was a precursor to the issues raised by access cost in Internet broadcasting which, as in pre-First World War Budapest, is delivered by telephone cable. I believe we can also step back into another age which overlapped the era of the electrophone and radio and has now considerably widened its tributary into a rapidly flowing river.
Experimentations with the phonograph have been studied and referenced with considerable scholarly genuflection since the s. The emphasis has been on the avant-garde and use of sound as art. There certainly has not been any attention paid to traditional dramatic and narrative communication and expression in phonograph technology. I have previously discussed the extent of phonograph usage and penetration of domestic household entertainment and have suggested that it has been significantly underestimated.
When we consider the trail of the focus of domestic communications through new technology we have the following narrative of replacement, substitution and overlapping from the s onwards.
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I have cited years when sales began to take on the appearance of mass consumption. It is possible to tentatively advance a breakdown of six epochs or phases. They have been rooted in the onomatopoetic reliance on rhyme and metrical speech rhythms to preserve storytelling cultures before the development of literature. The oral tradition had been the medium by which various African civilisations had communicated culture and identity from one generation to the next. Archaeological analysis of the Zimbabwe civilisation demonstrates the development of a complex urban society on a parallel time-line with European history.
The respect and veneration of elders encompassed the realisation that the death of an elder was equivalent to the destruction of a library. McLuhan said in that human languages are the greatest of all works of art, beside which the works of Homer, Virgil, Dante and Shakespeare are minor variations. This is the first evidence of somebody writing about dramatic and narrative communication being amplified by an external agent or mechanism for communication.
Throughout this phase the human voice and crude machine components had been used in theatrical presentations to synthesise natural and biological sound. The idea of sound being used imagistically and symbolically in dramatic presentations and narrative entertainment was not an alien experience. An early sound advertisement for the Edison phonograph boasts about its potential for helping 22 Six ages of audio drama and the Internet people to learn languages, and preserve musical performances.
After a period when qualitative delivery of music over the radio nearly extinguished the phonograph industry, musical entertainment was reinvented through the jukebox, the flat disc, improved recording techniques and product promotion through music format radio. From the USA and Britain have experienced a significant burgeoning of the market for and consumption of spoken word.
The Talking Books industry has been embraced by major publishers and some writers now prefer to release their novels as single voice recorded narratives before traditional book publication, e. The telephone became critical in the process of networking radio services in the s to remote and distant transmitters.
Telephone and cable have remained the technical mechanisms for delivering and distributing Internet services, cable television and satellite channels. These are good reasons for giving this period an epochal status. Between and , the electrophone served as a viable and unique method of communication to listeners without any significant competition from radio. Radio drama was established as a new medium for dramatic expression with plays originally written for the ear.
The potential for greater quality of sound transmission has been developed through FM, satellite and digital transmission and reception. The radio drama programming for the Fourth Age is the focus of succeeding chapters and so will not receive detailed treatment here. It is a story characterised by landmarks, some of which continue to have cultural and historical 23 Radio drama: There are the classical dramatisations and popular series.
Most of them had powerful cultural resonances when radio was the primary electronic means of mass communication. It is interesting to highlight that radio drama has succeeded in achieving Brechtian interaction through phone-in participation. There is a reference to another interactive radio drama project on the London commercial station LBC.
The drama floated in a phone-in programme in which the listener could order something not prepared in advance. The content was improvised. The programme succeeded in covering the entire range of styles and emotions and fluctuating in a somewhat melodramatic way with the serious being cut short by the ridiculous, horror by romance, satire being transformed into an operetta, and tragedy into an advertisement. The programme makers claimed that they had removed the gulf between themselves and the listeners. The concept had the advantage of asking callers on phone-in shows to provide creative ideas instead of providing opinions.
The impetus for this development may have been the fact that improvisation theatre had been popular in Finland in the s. It had also been recorded before a live audience for television, but the transition to live radio took place in March It has to be realised that radio improvisation is a genre all of its own because the actors do not have eye contact with their audience and all images have to be created through sound, as pure telecontact improvisation.
The actors then make up a story around these words. While the story is in progress, the next caller may alter the style and the plot. The success of the programme depends on the instantaneous inspiration of the actors and callers. The result is a form of radio drama which avoids having to pay for a commissioned writer and limits the costly pre-production process. The adrenalin-charged atmosphere can certainly stimulate powerful performances and links the radio drama of the present with the excitement of live radio drama of the past.
Orson Welles in Citizen Kane brought to the film medium a wealth of experience and creative energy in using sound dramatically. Which comes first in the experience of film consumption by the audience? If dramatic development and introduction and development of character are communication through sound then their artistic importance in film should be elevated and consolidated to a degree unacknowledged by most film studies scholars. There is a conceptual resonance between the interplay of sound and vision which is rich and powerful.
Hackman plays Harry Caul, an industrial spy engaged on a surveillance job using sound recording eavesdropping techniques. Internet and digital communications from on wards The Internet and World Wide Web began to deliver sound services to a mass audience when the multimedia PC became a mass marketed product. The ability to receive sound and pictures from anywhere in the world via the telephone or ISDN line predates terrestrial and satellite digital communications. Established radio stations all over the world began to datastream the live sound of their broadcasting.
More imaginative efforts have been made to provide specific audio programmes on demand outside the scheduled framework of daily transmissions that depend on audience and advertising for income and funding. The US Pacifica network was a pioneer in this area.
In the field of radio drama the Swedish Radio drama company in Finland discovered the advantage of making radio plays available on demand supported by text and lateral dimensions of information. When the company first started discussing using the Net in , most of its computer addicts insisted that they should start producing interactive, game-like Internet plays. At that time the editors did not feel that such a move made sense because most people were connected to the Net via modem and the bandwidth simply was not big enough for hypertextually constructed Internet plays if they were to be enjoyable.
However, audio streaming was in a state of rapid development which evidently meant that the Net could soon be used as a very cheap way of distributing traditional storytelling in a new form: The editors explained their decision to begin with Particularly Primitive Ones: At the outset we felt that the largest group of people using the Net were probably young male technofreaks. Consequently our first Internet play is a short science fiction adventure — with lots of Radio play as audio-on-demand explosions and futuristic sound effects.
Nevertheless, Particularly Primitive Ones may be a play to be taken seriously at least according to some science fiction aficionados. It can be seen as a play about the roots of 26 Six ages of audio drama and the Internet xenophobia, or at least about our fear of the unknown. The story is a simple one: While he is being questioned his interrogators soon find something unexpected about his DNA. He may not be entirely human. They send him back into space and pretend that he never existed.
Of course, the play has a surprise ending. While the scientists have been studying this possibly alien being, they have also been participating in a different study: The aim was to make it possible for radio plays to use new channels to win new listeners among children and young people, computer users and Net surfers.
Surround sound and advanced recording techniques can be appreciated on home and portable PCs while consumers surf the Internet or operate their computers for wordprocessing, databasing and other tasks. The pioneering communication of audio drama on this website has been recognised by a number of notable British radio critics.
Ken Garner of the Express on Sunday a newspaper with a circulation of more than 1 million and also a lecturer at Glasgow Caledonian 27 Radio drama: The play can be downloaded in five files, each of around ten minutes. Well worth a listen! Elsewhere on the IRDP site you can download pages of related information, such as how to write radio drama, details of drama competitions, the background to the prestigious Prix Italia, awards won by IRDP.
There are also pages about the history of radio, particularly its power and psychological impact. All of this is very well written, researched and presented. The Web Site has information about their broadcast schedules, tapes available from them, and a few other interesting and useful items and articles about radio drama. The play consists of five links — each containing a separate episode — on a Web page. The radio critic for the Guardian, Anne Karpf, wrote 13 December Is it a bird? Is it a plane? For the listener, too, though at first it seems perverse to put an aural genre on to what is still primarily a visual medium, there are evident benefits.
One of the political and social features of Internet broadcasting is that it can be achieved without any state interference or censorship by regulation. It can be argued that it is a profoundly liberating medium for communities and social groups that are exposed to cultural and political discrimination.
In this way the Internet can advance the democracy of communications to a level never experienced before. IRDP has been excluded from the BBC approved list of independent producers, a decision made without any notice or credible process of appeal. Political-economic conditions block and exclude the opportunity for freedom of expression in a wide range of audio delivery systems. The Internet bypasses these mechanisms of cultural discrimination. This Internet service provides a significant weapon to resist the pressure of American and western cultural hegemony.
The Internet also provides the power and opportunity to link the present with the past. The American website www. The company offers resources of contemporary audio science fiction production with celebration of significant archive. Sound streaming is directly linked to the scrolling narrative of graphics which offer a new dimension of artistic fusion with sound. The images are not mimetic, nor are they a halfway gesture towards presenting film and video.
Our exploration of the first age of radio depends on the preservation of texts and artefacts demonstrating specific techniques of articulating sound to engage with the human imagination and exploring imaginatively the disembodied communication of sound. Little evidence is available to us. The image is an extraordinary prophecy about the potential of sound communication three centuries before scientific development could reproduce the idea as reality: We have also sound-houses, where we practise and demonstrate all sounds and their generation.
We have harmony which you have not, of quarter-sounds and lesser slides of sounds. Divers instruments of music likewise to you unknown, some sweeter than any you have; with bells and rings that are dainty and sweet. We represent small sounds as great and deep, likewise great sounds extenuate and sharp; we make divers tremblings and warblings of sounds, which in their original are entire.
We represent and imitate all articulate sounds and letters, and the voices and notes of beasts and birds. We have certain helps which, set to the ear, do further the hearing greatly; we have also divers strange and artificial echoes, reflecting the voice many times, and, as it were, tossing it; and some that 30 From sound houses to phonograph sound play give back the voice louder than it came, some shriller and some deeper; yea, some rendering the voice, differing in the letters or articulate sound from that they receive.
We have all means to convey sounds in trunks and pipes, in strange lines and distances. Margaret Drabble has said: He has something in common with H. The old man character made this interesting philosophical observation about the cultural limitations of physiologically separating the human voice from the body: But they were convenient in their dirty way. Oh I learnt a lot. Bear in mind that H. He went off at a tangent to ask for information about these Babble Machines. For the most part, the crowd present had been shabbily or even raggedly dressed, and Graham learnt that so far as the more prosperous classes were concerned, in all the more comfortable private apartments of the city were fixed Babble Machines that would speak directly a lever was pulled.
The tenant of the apartment could connect this with the cables of any of the great News Syndicates that he preferred. When he learnt this presently, he demanded the reason of their absence from his own suite of apartments. The accident 31 Radio drama: Shakespeare is an author who seems to have an all-pervasive influence throughout a variety of cultures which transcends centuries in the enduring production, interpretation and publication of his texts through stage performance. It is not surprising that presentation of his plays embraced the new technology of sound recording.
Generally this took the form of single voice soliloquy performances of well known speeches by the stage stars of the late Victorian and early Edwardian period. The old adage that actors recreate Shakespeare in the image of their own epoch is more than confirmed by listening to these rare recordings. All the early BBC experiments in live radio drama were centred on Shakespearian text. The early radio adaptations of Shakespeare, carried out by Cathleen Nesbitt under the direction of C. David Bruce in the accompanying CD sleeve observes: However, something more important needs 32 From sound houses to phonograph sound play to be deduced from these performances.
They captured Shakespearian soliloquies which parallel the internal monologue convention of modern radio drama. The late actor Don Henderson, who had a distinguished career in the Royal Shakespeare Company, frequently observed that Shakespeare wrote as if he was serving the sound medium. Contemporary Shakespearian productions engaged the imagination much more extensively than lavish Victorian and twentieth-century productions which sought to reproduce reality with effects and exotic costume and set design.
The reliance on imaginative sympathy and the closer link with the oral tradition — reflected in the use of the iambic pentameter and poetic expression in rhyme, metre and metaphor — makes Shakespeare a natural forum for communication through sound alone. There is little evidence available of attempts to fully record dramatic stage performances for phonograph entertainment.
Recording engineers were faced with the problem of ambient communication of different voices in a wide arc of positions. The microphones available at the time had a limited direct sound potential. However, Pavilion Records has included a recording made in on its CD of The Great War; this presents remarkable evidence of an ability to present complex, sophisticated and highly entertaining performance by a large cast with a range of synthesised sound effects that create a clear sound design.
Rees is 3 minutes 28 seconds long. It begins with a background of machinegun and whiz-bang shelling sounds and a well articulated dialogue. There is clear evidence of the company being directed by Major Rees to bring performances to the foreground of the microphone pick-up field in order to focus on the central dialogue. A balance between the foreground dialogue and background sound of larger numbers of soldiers and atmospheric and spot effects has been clearly arranged.
The result is that here is a propagandist and popular drama being communicated with clarity on a wax phonograph and predating production techniques which were to become standard five to six years later. A sound picture of the rescue of the wounded soldier is presented through descriptive language. The dialogue is peppered with WW1 phrases: But these references are a useful starting point.
Kahn explores the metaphorical inspiration of the development of sound technology and communication in literature. I have already mentioned H. Kahn places great store on the experimental writing of the Italian futurist Marinetti, who covered the Italian-Turkish war in Libya in and the Balkan war a year later. This work inspired the genre of parole in liberta.
A stimulating debate ensued with Luigi Russolo publishing a manifesto The Art of Noises and exploring the artistic potential of sound. While these literary references to debates about the phonic dimension of poetry are interesting, they are not backed up with any evidence of contemporary experimentation with the technology available. So far text references appear to cite only one concrete incidence of applying the new ideas and theories in a practical way during the second age of audio drama. He was using a Pathephone wax disc recorder and attempted documentary recordings of a waterfall and the sounds of a sawmill.
It would appear he gave up rather quickly when he realised that the existing technology could not enable him to montage and edit with precision. German acoustic artist Walther Ruttman experienced a similar frustration; he would progress towards a successful expression of sound montage with the flexible editing potential of optical film strip. But this was in the middle of the radio age and the mechanism for communication was the radio medium.
Vertov was working in Soviet radio after the October Revolution and in he was writing about the concept of radio-film. Acoustical film was the term we used in Berlin. Again we have evidence of this creative dynamic breaking open the reliance of creative writers on the linear narrative framework of communication. Kahn makes the point: This is especially so when these ideas are about radio, which is by its nature at least two places at once.
It is conceivable that sound artists not documented by existing texts or surviving evidence may well have succeeded in advancing the art of sound expression. The phonograph offered the opportunity to mix a multiplicity of sounds from different machines. Major Rees seems to have been a writer and director with more determination and persistence. It was not beyond the technological initiative and creative ingenuity of sound artists to attempt something more ambitious.
Whether documented or undocumented sound artists achieved anything significant will remain a mystery. The second age of audio drama spanned the last twenty years of the nineteenth century and the first twenty years of the twentieth. This was a time when the value of writing and archiving sound production was limited. They were working with Columbia Phonograph Company. Edison increased the cylinder duration capacity to 4 minutes in This period onwards saw the development and marketing of cylinder and disc machines.
This was also the year when the juke-box was invented by Automatic Music Instrument in Grand Rapids, Michigan, but it was not built in large quantities until Farben developed magnetic tape recording in partnership with AEG of Telefunken. BBC engineers also sent machines back to Britain, but the Americans seized the potential and Bing Crosby liaised with Mullin and Ampex on the manufacturing of US tape recorders, which were introduced in Magnecord manufactured the first open-reel stereo tape recorder.
Experiments with video tape recording began. The first telephone line link was made between two US defence computers, which is regarded as an important moment in the development of the Internet. Over Internet service providers were now in business in the UK. The personal computer, Internet and World Wide Web time-line of dates is tentative. Between and the original networks were military and academic: The objective was to enable researchers in high-energy physics to share their research with one another.
The development of Mosaic by Marc Anderson at the University of Illinois interfaced text as well as graphics, and introduced navigating with hyperlinks that could be activated with the click of the mouse. The World Wide Web has seen unprecedented growth since The shift to a decentralised network of communications makes senders receivers, producers consumers, rulers ruled, upsetting the logic of understanding the first media age.
It clearly extends public access to mass communication and participation in the public sphere. Young writers who have experienced the brunt of exclusion and denial of opportunity in BBC licencefunded radio drama since the late s have been given an opportunity to send and receive communication on a level not seen since the introduction of the telephone. The Internet depends on participation in the political economy of the technology, but compared with terrestrial analogue economies of scale in broadcasting, the Internet is remarkably cost-effective.
It is there like space or air. As a comparison with the telephone, only the production and the telephone itself have to be funded. Connection charges are no more than those associated with telephone communication. Yet the transmission is not one to one but a broadcasting distribution. Another important factor from the point of view of democracy is the absence of state regulation. There are no top-down agencies of control. Broadcasting on the Internet is not restricted to oligopolies that operate in so many national broadcasting systems.
The audiences for both are dominated by a 55plus age-group profile. The existence of demand is indicated by the fact that by March , IRDP had received and evaluated 4, scripts from young writers. All received critiques and scripts were professionally remunerated and produced for radio broadcast. Ten writers had their radio scripts developed and produced for professional stage theatre production. The writers had been drawn from all areas of the UK and reflected the multicultural profile of contemporary society.
Twenty-three of the young people produced have gone on to develop professional writing careers with repeat commissions and productions in other media. By March , the BBC had closed its script development units for television and radio and did not have any consistent policy on providing training, education and encouragement for young writers. It can be argued that the cultural value of British dramatic writing and expression is dependent on sustained infrastructures for writing encouragement and development.
The independent radio expansion clearly demonstrated that young people demanded this opportunity and responded with a reviewed track record of creativity and success.
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The main outlet for radio drama broadcasting in the UK was the national network BBC Radio 4 with an average listener age of Out of 11 million listeners every month, only 2. By March there were clear indications that people aged 21 and under were being guaranteed their introduction to the Internet and World Wide Web through education. The National Grid for Learning and UK NetYear was seeking to achieve full connection for all state-funded schools, particularly those which were small, rural and disadvantaged.
The Teacher Training Agency was developing a strategy for teaching information technology to British teachers. Multimedia computers were the fastest selling electronics communications product in the UK. By the middle of about 2 million people owned a personal computer and , had a link to an Internet Service provider. This market was growing rapidly. British Interactive Broadcasting BT and BSkyB was working on a convergence technology between computer and television to achieve Internet access for the 22 million households with a television set.
By March all UK universities and further education colleges had a provision for Internet access, which involved around 2 million people aged 18 and above. In March IRDP surveyed a sample of fifty young writers aged 30 or under to seek their views and opinions on the potential of Internet audio drama.
The sample was drawn from writers who had previously been produced by the company for radio. The subjects were asked three questions: More qualitative plays can be produced and transmitted through sound than through other media such as book publication and distribution, stage theatre, film and television. No other teaching environment can reach so many people with this level of intensity and depth of interaction.
The writer can provide a lateral framework of information through text, pictures and video to accompany the transmission of the sound play. The writer can establish lateral dimensions and options in the presentation of plot and offer the listener choices in the content of the storytelling. A story can diverge into parallel directions of narrative which can be experienced at different times by the listener. The listener has access to the play 24 hours a day and this empowerment enables the listener to experience a less ephemeral relationship with the writer.
The script can be published and scrolled on screen at the same time as the sound play is transmitted on demand.
Background and cultural context and critical review can be pro vided and exchanged with the audience. The listener can return to the work and deepen the 44 A culturalist approach to Internet drama experience of listening by repeating the process or choosing to select sequences exciting further interest. The position and value of the writer is therefore enhanced through the use of this new technology. This limited though enlightening survey, combined with the development of the IRDP, Swedish Radio Theatre in Finland and Estonian Radio websites for audio drama, highlights the convergence of radio drama broadcasting with the Internet and the creation of a new medium embracing the capabilities of both.
This is more so than the multilateral development of Digital Audio Broadcasting which retains the point to point, master—servant, sender—receiver relationship inherent in terrestrial broadcasting to listeners. Email and live on-site chat groups move interactivity further. It is perhaps here that Marshall McLuhan can provide a significant observation on the implications of this development: But in relation to audio drama, the principle of simulacra is not, I would argue at the moment, a relevant issue with regard to culture, literature and society.
Its concern has more to do with politics and economics. The hyperreality of this absurd exhibition is plain to an independent thinker, but would appear to be rather seductive for the majority of participants with its distorted misrepresentations of history and strange interactions for visitors. When opposites in integrity and dishonesty, quality and poor production values, beauty and ugliness begin to collapse the essential purpose and cultural value of radio drama implodes into a flawed and vacuous hyperreality with the difference between what is real and what is imagined utterly effaced.
There is in this conformity a force of seduction in the literal sense of the word, a force of diversion, capture and ironic fascination. There is a kind of fatal strategy of conformity. Hearing is now from all directions at once on a degree axis. McLuhan asserted in that: Much of the confusion of our present age stems naturally from the divergent experience of Western literate man, on the one hand, and his new surround of simultaneous or acoustic knowledge, on the other.
Western man is torn between the claims of visual and auditory cultures or structures. You could not have a more divergent position in relation to evaluating the purpose and value of electronic media. McLuhan posed questions to inspire us to seek to see things that are there. His system of explanation, such as it is, rests on an interactive tetrad of questions: What does it extend? What does it make obsolete? What does it retrieve? What does it reverse into? Heidegger struggles to define the purpose of existence in an existential tradition.
The media and radio are an extension of the human function and existence for McLuhan. For Heidegger the modernity of electronic media communication desensitises people and cloaks them in artificial ways of being. The interactivity of the Internet means that dailiness as an existence framework determined by the traditions of terrestrial broadcasting is largely broken up by the independence of the listener determining the structure and style of consumption. He links the conditions of rather controlled and limited state broadcasting in radio e.
While any move to challenge the Marxist concept of alienation by Scannell is reassuring, there are too many intervening variables. I would respectfully argue that one cannot rely on a media interpretation that depends on sociability being linked to schedule. The introduction of mass domestic video recording technology destabilised this link in a significant way in relation to television. As time patterns between the private and public worlds for the individual began to shift significantly, video technology was utilised to determine a more self-empowering schedule for television consumers.
The same did not happen in radio. But the choice for listeners in Britain exploded from introduction of independent radio and substantial deregulation onwards. Neither was there a mass marketing demand for programme recording audio equipment. I believe this has more to do with the fundamental change in the nature of listening with the advent of popular television, which radio drama producers for all their care and dedication failed to recognise and have continued to fail to recognise in the UK state broadcasting sector.
It is sustained not by commercial imperatives but by a public taxation on people who want to watch television and have no interest in it. It has been struggling to reinvent its target audience. It is arguable whether radio and television ever constituted a social horizon determining the meaning of the world for their listeners and viewers. Between its inception on Whit Sunday and the introduction of the British Asian solicitor Usha Gupta in , there had not been any representation of non-white characterisation in the series.
Radio Drama: Theory and Practice
I would suggest that McLuhan has set up a more reliable system of explanation by asking questions rather than deriving answers from a German neo-Existentialist. The Internet has rendered obsolete state regulation and the top-down systems of control and access for radio drama writing and production. It has taken the message of audio drama art into a medium which is being accelerated by the younger generation in terms of consumption. It has extended the physical and imaginative participation of the listener and created interactive and lateral dimensions of experience for the listener, author and producer.
The new medium has therefore created a new message in audio drama and a new relationship between sound play and listener which extends its artistic, social and political potential while at the same time consolidating its cultural and literary status. There has been some new research which supports my argument. A surveying organisation, Continental Research, found that more than one-third of people surveyed 34 per cent spent less time watching television since they had gone on-line.
It does not mean the inevitable death of a communications medium. Print has survived radio and film as radio and film have survived television and television has survived the Internet 48 A culturalist approach to Internet drama and multimedia. The world of communication has become more complex because of the growing extension of communicating artefacts. The electrophone or cable message system telegraph has reinvented itself as the delivery technology of digital electronic language and now exists as the medium for the new media of Internet and World Wide Web virtual reality.
The dynamic pattern of electronic effects and purposes is remarkable and inspiring. The development of mass telephone one-to-one communication seemed to have diminished the social custom of handwritten letters. Yet the Internet with email communications facilities has revived the social habit of written though electronic correspondence.
Forums and mailbases lead to instant correspondent broadcasts within specific interest areas. Written electronic communication is faster and more efficient, but the technological delivery system is by telephone cable. The binary code of communication has been rooted in the past and is the foundation of the essential code of contemporary digital audio transmission.
The concept of using electricity to convey messages was being written about as early as by the English philosopher and Oxford-educated monk Roger Bacon. The sixteenth to early-seventeenth-century Neapolitan philosopher Giovanni Battista della Porta discussed the potential for transmitting information through magnetism as well as predicting and demonstrating optical experiments which defined the technical foundation of film and television.
Bacon and della Porta were distinct from their contemporaries because they advanced the horizon of human knowledge by reflecting on observation, which is probably the first law of media by Marshall McLuhan. I would therefore conclude this chapter with a self-evident truth about the dynamic between theory and practice in audio drama. There can be no effective theoretical discourse without a rigorous ontological reflection on the observation of practice.