A 30 X 15' narrative history series for BBC Radio 4 written and presented by Professor David Hendy of Sussex University.

TX March 2013.

Recorded on location around the world.
The series is made in collaboration with the curators of the
British Library's Sound Archive
Book of series to be published by
Profile Books March 2013.
Series Producer: Matt Thompson

We hope it will be a vivid and richly textured exploration of the role of sound – and of listening – in the past 100,000 years of human history. It will take us from the shamanistic trance-music of our cave-dwelling ancestors, the babel of ancient Rome, the massacre of noisy cats in pre-revolutionary Paris, and the sonic assaults of trench warfare, right through to our struggle to find calm in the cacophony of a modern metropolis. This is not about sound in the abstract: it is about sound as a matter of life and death, pain and pleasure, feeling and intellect. People, and their past behaviours, are at the heart of it.

IN PRODUCTION - click on photos for details
SEPT 19-23

David and I travelled to Orkney and Arc-Sur-Cure neolithic caves in France for Programmes 1 and 4. We also took in Vezelay Abbey which has a remarkable acoustic. We were greatly helped by Iegor Reznikoff. In Paris we did some recording on a street where cats were put on trial in 1730. In Orkney Lisa Budge took us into Maeshowe which is like going into a pyramid. Cosy rather than creepy inside, almost homely for a burial tomb. The weather was still and we could hear echoes at the Ring of Brodgar when David banged a drum we got from Brad (thanks!) at The Orkney Music shop. We recorded between traffic noise. The sun set very quickly.

Igeor Reznikoff gave us an informal concert deep in the cave.

David Hendy at The Ring of Brodgar, Orkney. It is said that the stones create a unique echo, with a drum David tests it in perfect conditions on the day before the equinox.

What did neolithic folk get up to in caves? Imitate animals? Iegor Reznikoff is an expert on acoustics of caves. Here he is in Arcy-sur-Cure, France