release date: 27 december 2022
listen to episode 72 on soundscloud

COVID-19 has left me a nagging discomfort, an occasional slight distress of being breathless.

‘Breathless’ the English-language title for Jean-Luc Godard’s breathtaking 1960 cinematic experiment ‘A Bout de Souffle’ with its charismatic stars Jan Sieberg, Jean-Paul Belmondo, mid-20th century Paris and Godard’s slap-in-the-face stylistics.

 He called his many films postcards and insisted they had no greater meaning than the direct experience of seeing and hearing them and whatever that might provoke within each person and amongst and between them collectively, afterwards

Not long ago I chanced upon – or rather, an algorithm offered to me – a video interview with Godard made not long before he left this mortal coil in 2021. His voice was breathless, evaporating before my ears – not surprising as he sat in a doorway joyfully smoking a cigar worthy of Castro. He was speaking his native language, French, in a feature-film length interview with the unseen interlocutor a strident confident young male voice born long after ‘A Bout de Souffle’ had receded into cinematic legend. I could understand none of what was being said but Godard’s defiant nonagenarian mannerisms and the cadence and carefree struggle of his speech mesmerised.

A year ago I stood on the shore of an east coast national park embayment, slightly before dawn, holding one of my digital recorders to capture the rhythmic sounds of small waves breaking on sand, the stridulations of unseen crickets secreted amongst dew-speckled dune grasses and the songs of awakening avian life in the rainforest pocket behind me. The situation was cold, dark, and under headphones made transcendent.

There’s an iPad app I have – downloaded from the John Cage dot org website – that presents a randomisable grid of samples of prepared piano that can be played by touching the cold glass surface of that chimerical device, a curious puppetry.

We are fortunate to live in the remaining time of birds, the time just before many of their immaculate voices will be sequentially swallowed into the maelstrom of extinction stirred up by our billions of human desires and fears.

Listen to the birds, they have nothing intelligible to say…