Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Talk to me

Really enjoyed listening to a short Radio 4 programme today. Part of a series, The Call, in which Dominic Arkwright talks to people who have taken or made life-changing phone calls. Today's episode was called The Answerphone and featured Mark Craig who kept all the messages on his answer machine for over 20 years. It was really surprisingly moving. Don't know how long it'll be BBC iPlayer so catch it asap here.

Mark Craig turned his years of messages into a short film which you can see here. I must warn you that the language is coarse at times in the early part of the film and it is does spoil it somewhat, but the latter part is very moving, especially as we hear messages from his dad who was to die later. The messages of condolence were  simple and real. As I reflect on the loss of my dear mum whose 85th birthday it would have been today, how much I wish I could hear her voice, and some of the many messages she has left on call minder over the years (sadly erased after the statuary 28 days).

The whole concept is a bit of reminder of what we lose in the rush of life, with so little time to 'stand and stare'. Somehow Facebook doesn't quite convey the pathos and joy of life in the way that the natural human voice does. Written letters have all but disappeared, and yet there remains something special about receiving one. Perhaps they just imply more thought, more care.  How much we lose by not physically putting pen to paper and writing to each other. And indeed what is lost by the immediacy of emails and text messages.


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