Show 390: Sketch For Matter (by Ed Baxter, Resonance104.4fm)

The opening sequence of the Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger film A Matter Of Life And Death
(1946) provides the inspiration and much of the raw material for this fugitive mediation on the
romance of radio, heavily influenced by the delightful theories of Friedrich A. Kittler. The audio
comprises a) a nine second cymbal crash removed from the final edit of an album by Kinnie The
Explorer, recorded by Bob Drake and “PaulStretched” to 28 minutes by Dan Wilson; b) Foley
aircraft sounds from the film soundtrack; and c) dialogue from the film soundtrack, featuring
David Niven (Peter) and Kim Hunter (June). Assembled as an outline for a live work planned for
the “Writtle Calling/2 Emma Toc” radio project, it pretends to be nothing more than a tentative
exorcism of the overwhelming feelings this film sequence provokes in me – which are such that I
can never watch it without bursting into tears. (It is surely designed to allow one to burst into tears
in the dark). I have the DVD but have yet to get beyond this opening, which I must have watched a
hundred times.
The piece quite accidentally functions as an antidote to its allusive usage in the opening ceremony
of the 2012 London Olympic Games, of which exercise in spectacular infantilism I was not aware
until I started googling to check my references. Ceremony director Danny Boyle and I both featured
in a 2009 newspaper article, the layout of which was such as to allow our faces to be pressed
precisely together when its pages were closed – in a print media kiss as absurd as the radio romance
of Peter and June is sublime.