The Friday Fillip: The Sounds (And Sights) of Elsewhere

In a day’s time—at 12:11 p.m where I am, to be exact—it’ll be all downhill for the next six months, as we glide with increasing speed into the light. We’ve done it. We’ve survived the shrinking of the day for yet another year. Time now to begin the inhale, as it were.

I don’t know about you, but as far as I’m concerned the business of burning off the day at both ends leaves me with the desire to be elsewhere, preferably closer to the equator. And though I buck myself up with the “downhill” analogy, I know that we’re still facing, in effect, the mirror version of the too-short-days we’ve just endured, and that only increases my Wanderlust.

Sadly for me, I can’t get away. Perhaps you, too, are kept in the dark for one reason or another. In which case, if escape isn’t possible, escapism is the next best thing. You’ll have your own means, I’m sure: books, cocktails, films, embracing the inevitable, après ski, music . . . My hope today is to add one option (and a half) more to your arsenal.


The suggestion is that you listen to the sounds of elsewhere. Radio aporee offers you that possibility. It’s a website to which people from around the globe upload field recordings of what’s going on around them. So you can listen to rain dripping on the rocks while the sea laps a short distance away and gulls and perhaps an Arctic Tern cry out — on the the Isle of Harris/Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. (Seems the URLs for specific sound items are from the Internet Archive.) It occurs to me that this might have been a bad choice for an introductory soundscape, given that the day is probably all of an hour and a half long on Harris. Well then, how about an airplane to Algiers, or a street vendor’s call in Santiago Cuba, or a dose of nature sounds from Whiritoa, New Zealand?

Radio aporee plots everything on a Google map, so you can choose your destination, as it were. Close your eyes, rattle the ice in your glass, and enjoy. If you discover a favourite, you can likely download it to play locally (and perhaps loop, because some of the recordings are all too brief).


Some of you, I know, are visual to a fault and this ear candy doesn’t satisfy. For you, I suggest Jon Rafman’s 9-eyes. The reference is to the nine-eyed camera used by Google Street View, which makes sense because Rafman offers up stills from Street View that have caught his indefatigable eye. He’s put them all on a Tumblr, so you simply scroll until you tire of seeing . . . elsewhere. You might even consider combining Rafman and aporee: you could set aporee to play a “random sequence” and perhaps figure out how to get your browser to scroll automatically through the 9-eyes site.

Bon voyage.

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