Sound Thought 2011 Part 2

When the first round of paper presentations finished, there was a 15 min break before the start of the ‘Sound and Industry’ session leading up to lunch. Hmm…Musical Mushrooms during the break, or a free cup of tea and a chocolate digestive? It was no contest, and I was soon wrestling with the tap mechanism on the tea urn and hoping no-one was watching as I missed my cup. Back at my seat, the satisfying crunching of the chocolate biscuit temporarily occupied my ears until the next three postgraduate student presenters took to the stage to discuss composers’ rights  and music in the age of digital reproduction. All very interesting, and as I headed to the restaurant for lunch afterwards, I was delighted to finally stumble across the musical mushrooms in a tiny darkened room. Trapped in a sweating bell jar and glowing green in the beam of a laser, their drifting spores were sending secret messages to a series of metal chimes which sounded at different pitches and emitted fleeting flashes of light with every tinkle.

After lunch, I prepared myself for the highlight of the day for me, the Sound and the Listener presentations, including the ‘Hearing-Impaired Musicians’ Use and Experience of Hearing Aid Technology’ paper. In order to make the occasion perfect, I needed to fit in another free cup of tea and a biscuit back at Arch 6 before it started. Now that I knew where I was going, I strode assertively to the glass doors leading to the Kafkaesque corridor, and pondered whether I would stick with the chocolate digestives or move on to the custard creams and jammie dodgers…BANG. I bounced noisily off the right hand door as I pushed against it with my shoulder. Undeterred, I pulled it instead, to no avail. Then I gave it a good rattle just to make sure. Must be the other door I thought, as I noisily rattled it as well, watched with disdain by some über cool types lounging on the sofas in the foyer, who knew a locked glass door when they saw it.

“Can I help you?” said a steward.

“I’m trying to get to the 2:30 presentation”, I said, making no mention of the free biscuits.

“Take a seat in the foyer, Madam, there’s a slight delay, we’ll let you know when it’s starting”, said the steward.

I slunk over to a cube shaped leather pouffé and pretended to take a great interest in the contents of my handbag while I waited. Time was running out on my biscuits.

“Would the presenters for the 2:30 paper presentations please assemble in the foyer” said an announcement over the pa system. Ah, so they were actually running late I thought with relief. My biscuits were safe. I could relax. I was just drifting off into a nice daydream featuring a packed pastel-coloured cakestand, when a very polite chap approached me and said,

“Excuse me, are you talking at Sound Thought this afternoon?”

I was seized by a sudden bizarre impulse to say ‘Yes’ just to see what would happen, but settled for a slightly hesitant “No…” instead.

If only I had kept to my word…

Coming up in Part 3:

  • I play safe and decide to stick with the chocolate digestives
  • My eyes cause even more trouble than my ears.
  • I finally get to the point
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