The Reason I Jump

It’s been a while….

What stirred me out of the lazy habit of simply posting on Facebook was ‘The Reason I Jump’ by 13-year old Naoki Higashida. The author is autistic and his struggles with language are very well documented in the book. It was written using a grid of Japanese characters and must have been an enormous ‘labour of love’.

Much of the content takes the form of Q & A and what I felt was well captured in Radio 4’s Book of the Week presentation, was that the questions seemed to be in the voice of a brusque, almost rude teenage peer. What was especially touching in Higashida’s passages was that it was clear that he understood how bewildering and trying it can be for many trying to communicate with an autistic person. Each time he touched upon this there was a plea for those trying not to give up.

In addition to content, the format was very engaging. Preceding each passage was an introductory section by author David Mitchell, co-translator of the book, along with KA Yoshida. He is the father of a autistic child and his insight and experience added a great deal.

You can read more on the Radio 4 Blog.

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Digital e-state

What should happen to your online life when your on-Earth one comes to an end? If you had time would you ‘get your affairs in order’ before you passed on? What about sudden death? Who owns your online life then?

This edition of Out of the Ordinary investigates such matters.

This Justin

If you are a fan of Jusint Bieber or even if you’re simply interested in the key ingredients of catchy songs, then scroll to 28:00 of this edition of Broadcasting House.

Paul Mason discusses chords, keys etc. with the fantastically names Clemency Burton-Hill. Paul Mason’s guitar playing might just make you think that your own is not so bad.

More poignant is an article on ‘radio silence’ just before at 21.35 featuring poet Stewart Henderson. Harold Pinter gets a mention.

Sliding in at the back

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be in an orchestra? This fun feature gives some insight into the life of orchestral trombonists.

Scoring Father Brown

If you’re interested in the process of writing music for television or film then this programme might be for you. Composer Debbie Wiseman details the various steps in writing, conducting and recording the music for the television drama Father Brown. There are contributions from Professor Eric Clarke of Oxford University.

I don’t know the series, and don’t much like the sound of it, nor even some of the music ‘required’ for it, but explanation of what goes on is very clear. I was particularly taken with Debbie Wiseman’s caution to the orchestra that things were going to move quite quickly – implying, I imagine, that even although they might not consider themselves involved in any given ‘musical cue’ their moment would come along soon enough and would not be helped by people moving around.

The Examined Life

I can only imagine that this title comes from Socrates assertion that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” In the case of the psychoanalytic sessions described in Stephen Grosz’s The Examined Life it’s the examination which might return the fractured life to something worth living.

Excellently read by Peter Marinker these tales of change and loss are by turns fascinating, moving, inspiring and shocking.

Episode 1 of 5 is here from where you’ll be able to navigate to the others.

Riot at the Rite

One cultural and historical event I’d love to have witnessed is the riot which took place at the première of Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” in 1913. That’s why I was very interested to hear Richard Witts present an alternative take on the motivations of some in the audience.

Present that evening, though possibly not throwing many punches, was Marcel Proust.

Another edition of Radio 3’s “The Essay” deals with the insertion of a musical character at the proof-reading stage of Swann’s Way.

Prison Visitor

I’d long known of Johnny Cash’s performances in Folsom And San Quentin Prisons. But I was surprised to learn in this programme of the extent of his prison reform endeavours.

Comfort and Joy

Do you ever get the feeling that one area of your life eclipses all others? Spare a thought for Alex Comfort.

In this edition of The Sunday Feature writer Matthew Sweet explores his life as pacifist, anarchist, anti-nuclear campaigner, novelist, gerontologist, doctor and writer of the book on 12 million British bookshelves. His son, Nicholas Comfort features.

Voices

To which branch of crime-fighting would a musician be best suited? Forensic Phonetics? This programme features the tracking down of Weirside Jack – the Ripper Hoaxer – through recordings he made to taunt the police. There is also something amazing about background electrical hum and a mention of the effect on voices of use (and need) of heroin.

If you consider yourself to have a good ear, try your luck at the ‘voice identity parade’.

Meanwhile, this edition of Word of Mouth touches, amongst other things, upon the effect of alcohol on speech.