Monday, August 12, 2013

The Grove, jackets and a voice

From time to time I post in this blog about The Grove, the little park which is to be found at the top of the hill called Mount Sion. Here is a panoramic view which gives  an impression of its dimensions more complete than the occasional photographs of birds, squirrels and people which you may have seen here. I took the photo from the corner of the park at the entrance from Belview at the top of Grove Avenue.

My friend's reference in Tone Deaf  to the word "jacket"  ceding in commercial language to "blazer"   the other day comes to mind this morning in Sainsbury's. On a bag of potatoes I read the words: "Baking Potatoes. Great for Jackets". So baked potatoes in their jackets have become jacket potatoes. I find it as hard to think of Robbie in what used to be called a blazer with brass buttons and all as to imagine a potato in one, but who knows what to expect from copy writers and publicists?

On the radio a woman's voice touches my soul. If you can fall in love with a voice this is it. She is talking about pine martens and interviewing an expert on these rare animals. Her voice contains a mixture of laughter, surprise, curiosity, and enthusiasm for what she is describing, an unusual and delectable mixture. It bubbles up and out of the radio like spring water.  I don't want to know or even to imagine what she looks like. What I hear is enough.

4 comments:

Lucas said...

The panoramic view overturns the expectation of what a photograph will look like. It leaves you with a sense of what is, not being what it seems.

Roderick Robinson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roderick Robinson said...

Needed a tiny, but utterly vital, correction

That's a telling but indirect compliment - the fact that you can't imagine me in a blazer. In criticising my MSs you've often brought up the subject of clothes defining those who wear them. This is a case in point. If either of us had gone in for wearing blazers I doubt we'd have got on. I wondered whether a blazer was the mark of a cad but that's not quite right. Perhaps a low-grade cad resident in the suburbs.

Women's voices on radio. My early teens were racked with attacks of what we then called bronchitis (later thought to be asthma). On each occasion I was sent to a lonely bed with mainly the radio for comfort plus Radio Times as a guide. I'd wait feverishly for programmes I wanted to hear and became enamoured with Woman's Hour. In those days the Home Programme (present-day equivalent Radio 4) was dotted with little playlets in which a fairly limited repertory of actors took part. I became besotted by the voice of Gabrielle Blunt, slightly husky, a seductive but not over-seductive sound, carrying an element of practicality suggesting that - post hanky-panky - she'd slip out of bed and prepare scrambled eggs for both of us. Later I saw her in an English movie about Land Girls and found she was less than 5 ft tall, face slightly jowly.

But I shut out that image and imagine again the voice and her greatest role. A documentary about a nineteenth-century husband-poisoner who, faced with the gallows, said, "Gentlemen, hang me not too high for decency's sake."

You do not identify your pine-marten lady and I can understand why. Unlike appearances voices can be a private possession for those listening in.

Joe Hyam said...

Thank you for taking the trouble to craft your comment with such care. I didn't note the name of the owner of the voice. It was early in the morning on BBC World Service I think which I am not used to listening to. The quote is poignant.

Even less can I imagine you (or me) in a cravat. I saw someone wearing one the other day, possibly with a blazer. I tried to avert my eyes.