Layers within layers…

Mobile recording has its humorous side, too. A few months ago a recording car visited a well-known market to produce a follow-up story to a news recording made the previous day. Upon arrival the members of the team were confronted by a very irate shop-keeper who complained bitterly that he had been impersonated on the six o’clock news the evening before and that instead of using his recording as promised the BBC had produced somebody with a cockney accent to read his script. On being assured that his recording had in fact been used he became abusive, protesting that he didn’t speak with a cockney accent, and that the whole broadcast was a fake. The programme assistant tried to explain that on first hearing few people recognized the sound of their own voice. He then tactfully suggested that they should carry on with the next recording, after which they would play it back so that his friends could be the judges. This was agreed, and when the disc was played back two of his pals nodded slowly. ‘That’s you, Alf’, they said, and Alf subsided like a pricked balloon. He had a wonderful cockney accent!

Brian George (Recorded Programmes Director, BBC), “Recorded History”, in BBC Year Book 1948, The British Broadcasting Corporation (London), pp. 60-63; quote is on page 63.

He goes on to say:

Recordings of this kind – the voices of ordinary men and women discussing their experiences and reactions are no less significant than the orations of statesmen. They, too, are a part of recorded history.

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