Australian Sound Artist

Monday, May 20, 2013

British Library Sound Archive: Exchange - waking up in London

I have been fortunate enough to be selected for a staff exchange between the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) and the British Library Sound Archive. Time lapse between the notification of selection date and departure was barely 2 months - I arrived in the UK on the Friday just gone and feel a little like Alice might've felt at the bottom of the rabbit hole. I haven't been to the UK before and this year I will be making the journey to England twice (again in late October, to work under the expertise of Chris Watson and to head to the festival, 'L'Espace du Son'). I must say that the flight was the toughest I have had to do to date - I'm not sure if I was just overly sensitive or if - infact - it is a troublesome journey - either way - I'll be getting use to the experience with three more trips still left to go in this year.

To further mix my muddled thoughts - I will be contributing to two blogs during my time here - ultimately - attempting to split my identity into two - that of the artist and that of the archivist.
For the sake of clarity and to fulfil the exchange duties, I will dedicate the blog on the NFSA website to more technical and work specific details whilst general musings, inspirations and thoughts will be compiled here, on my personal blog.

Let's see how I go shall we... Crack on!! (learned that one today).

Some travel tips for you:

Fast, affordable accommodation: Airbnb. An incredibly helpful way of finding a place to stay when a hostel or backpackers won't cut it and homely touches and appliances such as washing machines, kitchens and quiet garden areas are required/desired. My stay in London is over three weeks - long enough to send you a tad barmy in a hostel (unless you don't mind pinning towels around a bunkbed to create your own, 'personal working space'). You will find all sorts of accommodation in all parts of the world on this website. I managed to find a room in an apartment, 30 min walking time from my work place - sharing with other similar aged and working individuals.

Travel sickness: XANAX. Never tried this before but it really does help alleviate anxieties that often amplify/spark travel sickness. I took minimal doses (half a pill) and that was enough to calm my nerves, settle my stomach and allow me to doze. I also took some tic tacs - found these helped too.

Pre-booked taxi from Heathrow airport to private address: London Heathrow Cars. While they are not particularly cheap - they are not more than a normal taxi and that is for a service that includes your own personal driver waiting for you at touch down. I knew I would be a bit fragile after the flight and so booked in advance. I did find some other cheaper options such as Shuttle Direct however, they would not deliver to personal addresses - only hotels. Well worth the money if your accommodation involves a couple of connecting trains and a few blocks walk to get there....

Compact, affordable and light (stereo) recording device: H2N Zoom. I haven't tried this one before but have heard many a good thing about its capabilities. At around $230, with 24bit/96khz I am happy. It has a stereo mic input of a single 3.5mm Jack so I have taken my own Rode NT4 to make things as easy as possible. For non complex - basic audio capturing minus the worries that come when travelling with expensive audio equipment - I'm sure it will suffice. Will keep you posted.

Small carry-on bag for laptop and gear: Crumpler Yee Ross. Isn't meant to fit a 15" laptop but it does (even with a padded pocket to protect it). In addition to the laptop, this bag can also fit a small handycam, microphone(s), books and all your usual small necessities as required in travel. It's hardy, waterproof and the smallest most convenient hand-luggage bag that I have found for my needs - to date.

That's all I can put to page tonight. Jet lag is a little overwhelming so to bed I go.