Our blog circle word-of-the-month for April was mellifluous (adj. A sound that is sweet and smooth, pleasing to hear). As somebody with sensitive hearing I find it difficult to shut out background noise, so when I’m working at my desk I’m often grateful for the noise-cancelling headphones I bought this year! Music is very important in my life and so of course, trying to illustrate mellifluous meant I’d have to photograph something relating to what that means to me. Straight away I wanted to photograph vinyl – I was trying to explain to the children about how, when CDs were first issued, it felt like highly-polished music being performed in the same room. But now, with so many returning to listening on vinyl records, the crackles through the needle remind me that there’s an honesty in imperfections, a sort of distance between performer and listener, and an authentic but fleeting moment of a recording captured, that could – without care – be easily damaged or lost. That to me, makes it a bit like a photograph.
I’m glad this blog circle has reminded me to try out creative ideas and to experiment a bit more. In the photograph above, I wanted to capture the spin of the record with a slower shutter, but then double-expose it with the really recognisable logo on the label. Below is the ceiling of our local record shop, Ben’s Collectors Records. What a treasure trove, and what a thoroughly nice guy Ben is too – well worth a visit if you’re in Guildford!
In Ben’s Records I found a disk of the wonderful Glenn Miller – unashamedly I wish I could have heard his band in real life! Absolutely mellifluous to a tee. Here’s another double-exposure photograph.
At the end of the month I had new vinyl by my faves The Unthanks delivered – The Songs And Poems Of Molly Drake. I have to categorise this as mellifluous too, because it’s so superbly gentle and honest in sound, and beautifully brought to life. The words of the song that had its debut on 6Music, ‘What Can A Song Do To You’, are so achingly true of how I feel about music and its ability to trigger a vivid memory:
Music from an open window
Music sudden, and fleeting
Ordinary music in an ordinary street
Why does your heart start beating
What can a song do to you?
Can it wake any memory sleeping
Can it call back a day when your heart fled away into somebody else’s keeping
What can a song do to you?
Can it bring back a spring in December
Can it make with each note such an ache in your throat
And you find you can still remember
For the past is a house full of treasure
The lies buried deep in the store
Every smile, every tear, every pleasure
And a song is the key to the door…
While away over Easter in the Forest of Dean, we took a ride on the steam train. I find the toot of a steam whistle mellifluous too! Another sound of times-gone-by.
…and I wish you could hear all the sounds of nature in this photograph, with so many birds singing and the breeze through the leaves. Totally mellifluous to me. This is Puzzlewood near Coleford in the Wye Valley, said to be Tolkien’s inspiration for Middle Earth and yes, I completely see why. It’s been used as a filming location for Star Wars and Doctor Who too – what a magical place, I could definitely move in there.
Which leads me to a mellifluous voice. If ever a casting was absolutely right, Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf was it. Such authority and gravity in his voice, and guess what – we just heard it in real life! While waiting for the masses running the London Marathon (including my husband) we met this lovely man with his cuppa having a quick chat to some who had gathered. He carried on supporting the runners from the first-floor window, waving the MS Society noisemakers (great noise / NOT mellifluous!!) . My boy – complete LOTR geek – could not have been more chuffed to have met him! Oh and yes, he did let the marathon runners pass…
Now please continue in our little blog circle to see how Vicki Alford has illustrated this month’s word!