I have now released a first cut of the first episode of the Regional Rides podcast series, along with a first draft of the Introduction. Both are accessible here. The episode can also be reached via my SoundCloud page, by clicking on the link to the right. The script for the episode differs only minimally from the text of the Introduction. I present the episode, which features an original theme, and includes excerpts of conversations, speeches, and voice memos recorded in each of the regions visited on the road-trip. The running time is just under 25 minutes.
As suggested here, I am now working on the main part of the series and book manuscript, and will begin publishing and releasing chapters and episodes – and related content – as soon as I believe I can do so reasonably frequently; there may or may not be a pause between the Parts, but I am trying to avoid the raising and then dashing or frustration of expectations.
In the end, I composed and performed the theme for the series, which is a simple march in the major scale (Ionian mode) with a nod to its concerns. My first thought had been to investigate whether there was anything in the Creative Commons that might fit the bill. I had found my way to the Free Music Archive and immediately spotted a new release by Bridport-based Ergo Phizmiz titled Disco Music for Armageddon; Burning World Waltz seemed apt, and I guffawed at The Demise of All the World’s Estate Agents All at Once. It wasn’t to be, but is surely worth mentioning.
At the inception of the project, I researched, wrote and produced a news bulletin. Its style will be familiar to listeners of BBC Radio News, especially the bulletins read during Radio 4’s flagship Today programme, The World At One, PM, The World Tonight, and The World This Weekend. It was hastily recorded over the dining room table, on a dark, winter evening, using the in-built recorder on my mobile phone.
The content is obviously quite different, and is not the sort of thing likely to emerge from Broadcasting House in the immediate future; indeed, it is interesting to consider what the effect would be were the likes of Chris Aldridge and Corrie Corfield to begin to read such fare aloud. It represents my effort at the time, in the form of a weekly bulletin, to describe the present state of affairs accurately. I believe it still largely applies.
Welcome to the Decency & Survival project, and the project website.
The project is about a ‘Sea of troubles’, or rather, the ‘Sea of troubles’ that arguably defines our times. By ‘Sea of troubles’, I mean that exercising the consciences of a good number of our scientists, religious and civic leaders, and concerned citizens around the world. That is, as indeed it seemed to me at the inception of the project, the fact that many, if not most of us, around the world are leading miserable lives, and are dying prematurely; all of us are threatened by nuclear weapons and their potential direct and indirect effects; and humanity as a species – that is, all children and grandchildren, and future generations – is also threatened by climate change and environmental breakdown. It is in these latter two senses, that these can be said to be our times.
‘To be or not to be’ is indeed then the question. Humanity now faces extinction, by its own hand; our choices – what we give the name of Action – collectively, and individually, will determine whether we live or die. The project aims to clarify the choices before us collectively and individually, by examining arguments and evidence as to where we are (the structure of the Earth System and current institutional and physical structure of the Human System), and where things are headed; where we need to go instead, and why we ought to; and how we can get there. The arguments and evidence considered are, at the outset, principally that gleaned from a selection of forty book-form and online English language sources (twenty of each, half from UK authors and institutions, and half from the rest of the world), based on my personal knowledge and experience. A variety of outputs is planned, including, at the time of writing, the website, Regional Rides, a podcast series, and book, Monitor, a quarterly report on the global and national picture, a weekly (v/b)log, talks, (open) letters, and more besides.
All the elements of the project can be accessed via the menu above. Content will be made available as work in progress and as it is completed. I will publish explanatory notes as I do so. I am working to complete Regional Rides over the rest of 2018, both a thirteen-part podcast series, and a book manuscript. I will try to complete the In Conversation, Indicators, Galleries, Archives, and Resources elements corresponding to the episodes and chapters over the same period. If possible, I shall release a podcast episode and draft chapter, and associated material, each week or so. If not, I will release the four episodes and chapters belonging to each part of the work together, publishing the three parts in turn. Log, Monitor, and Letters, all of which I intend to publish periodically, will follow in due course. The Education of an Englishman, another podcast series and book, is also on the drawing board.
I am seeking financial backing for my efforts. My present thinking is to make my content freely available whilst asking those who believe it is of merit – and who are in a position to – to make donations, regular or ad hoc, through PayPal.