Friday, 8 July 2011

The sound of the south


You know summer has really arrived in Provence when the cicadas start whirring and chirruping. Their distinctive sound pulses, and as more and more join in the chorus the effect is like waves of mechanical toys fidgeting in the grass.

Although they don’t seem an especially pretty creature to me, the cicadas are immortalised everywhere in ceramic form, perhaps as the very symbol of sunny days. The first photo was taken at a brocante sale in St-Remy-de-Provence, and these examples are chunky yet rather well detailed. I’m not quite sure what you’d do with them – perhaps they are for the serious enthusiast and collector only.

Far more often, you see “Les Cigalles” in rough and colourful form as decoration on those “essentially Provençal” items without which no market would be complete in July and August: the perfume diffusers, as here, or gift-wrapped soaps, or jars of herbs.


I was wondering whether I could download the sound of these constant background companions that let you know you are in the south, but decided against it. It occurs to me, though, that with the advent of e-readers, it probably won’t be long until there is a soundtrack embedded in every e-book. And then images, too, no doubt, so that all the wonders of technology that we can use on our blogs will be brought to creating fabulously involving texts. It’s quite a thought, isn’t it?

Or are the words better left to speak for themselves on the page, allowing the reader to create the images? Just as they say about radio: the pictures are so much better than the television.

But I’m going to take a risk here, and post some more sound. In general, I’m much happier talking on the radio, as I did earlier this week on BBC Radio Kent, because I’m not having to deal with my self-consciousness in front of a camera. But here’s a tiny part of an afternoon of promo filming I did a couple of weeks ago, at home in England, so relatively relaxed (only relatively, mind…!). It’s a reading of the Prologue to The Lantern.  



11 comments:

Richard said...

Merci Deborah pour ta belle lecture. Et puis ainsi, maintenant que nous avons entendu ta voix, nous te connaissons mieux.
C'est gentil à toi. Merci.

MuMuGB said...

Well Deborah, it is raining in London, so you are not missing much. Thanks for your post: I didn't know how to translate "cigalles" when I came over here, and one day I tried "seagulls". Well, it didn't do the trick!
I have just bought "The Lantern" and I am waiting for the Eurostar to Paris. I am looking forward the lovely journey with your book !

Maureen said...

There is a wonderful shop in Middleburg, Virginia, that imports gorgeous French pottery and other ceramics, including all sizes of ceramic cicadas, which are used as flower holders. I have not, however, seen ceramics such as those in your post.

Cicadas are said to bring luck. We have them here, too. The noise can be deafening.

Karen Wojcik Berner said...

Wonderful reading, Deborah.

Josep said...

I watched it a few days ago and enjoyed it a lot, both the prologue and your reading. Bravo!

joanny said...

What could be more luxurious than listening to a performance by the author in their own voice, in this case soft, but lively and animated -- your voice floats through the air... a lovely touch to add this dimension.
Wouldn’t it be nice to time travel & get some of our favorite authors and poets voice captioned on tape, to hear the verse or poem read with the same passion in which it was written, we are so lucky today to have this privilege

Olga said...

Wonderful video. It was so interesting to hear the prologue.

Jyoti Mishra said...

Its raining here in India :)
Loved your prologue.
Enjoy summer !!!

renilde said...

beautiful prologue, liked to hear you reading it,x

Deb said...

This is truly lovely, Deborah. The setting is beautiful and I already feel that nostalgic longing and suspense, which you've captured in a few short paragraphs.

Rebecca Weinstein said...

I enjoyed reading your entries about this and the lavendar. We have cicadas in New Jersey as well, but none are immortalized in ceramic. They are the "harbringer of heat" here!

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