The Proms season is upon is and it’s been my pleasure to try my hand at the presenting game. It’s a very different experience asking the questions to being the one answering them, but I enjoyed it just as much, if not more. To be fair, my first gig could not have been easier since my interviewee, Steven Price, may well be an Oscar winner for his score for Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity but he’s also a very lovely guy who’s retained the down-to-earthness of our shared Northern roots. Steven and I talked about film music, Holst and the anxiety of influence in a Proms Extra live audience event which is then produced for broadcast in the interval of that evening’s Proms Concert. With my presenter appetite whetted, I’m looking forward to my next Proms Extra event on Monday 31st August when I’ll be interviewing the great Hermione Lee about Willia Cather, on the centenary of the publication of The Song of the Lark. If you’re free, come and join us at the Royal College of Music, or tune in that evening for the interval broadcast.
Earlier this year I was invited to Norwich to talk about the palimpsest, the subject of my early work but a topic to which I had not returned in recent years. At the symposium I met a talented young designer and filmmaker, Michael James Lewis, who challenged me to consider how the metaphor of the palimpsest might help us think about the contemporary digital age, in particular cloud computing and remote data storage. He did indeed get me thinking, so during the summer he came to visit me in Cambridge and we recorded a long interview on the topic as part of his project, ‘The Cloud is More than Air and Water’. Michael has now turned the interview into a sound piece intercut with his own work and backed by new music composed by his collaborator, Matt Parker, out of sounds recorded at a data storage site. Part I of the recording is now available here, with Part II following shortly.