Forgive me. This is probably going to sound disjointed, but you have to understand that it may be the only way to give you an idea of what I have experienced. I have resided in the Royal Burgh of Torry for 5 days and 4 nights. I wasn’t alone; Gemma was with me as we boarded the 9.37am bus from Aberdeen, over the Victoria road bridge and alighted in Torry. It was a Thursday and there was sun.
Torry presented as a ripe orchestra of sounds, aloof to the magnificence of its nature, we were intent on documenting, recording and absorbing. Perhaps it’s in this attempt that the struggle happened. The instruments came and went before the recorder could be switched on. So the fact is that some of the sounds only exist in my memory, like the time the alarm was going off at the church and a middle aged man did a vocal and physical expression of it, or of the wee girl walking along in the sunshine and chatting to her dad about some exciting news. There was the time a man stamped on a milk carton and made it explode or the voices of a downstairs, party to which I’d forgotten to press the record button. We all have sounds like that. The ones we haven’t recorded, the ones that are tucked away in our memories, most sounds only exist that way.
There is a lot of visual and audio, everywhere, all of the time, if you notice it. It is abnormal to process such a sheer amount of stimuli. Apart from being exhausting on the brain I wondered what my dreams would do with their spare time. Wherever we went there was opportunity to get material and even when it was quiet we felt it important to document that stillness as unique to Torry. It became a way of life; normal to record yourself sleeping, understanding ‘charade like communication’ when the recorder was switched on. Approving smiles between each other to the happenings of sounds we did not expect.
My books are disjointed, pictures unfinished, unclear. Snippets of writing…….. 8.29am and then it rained but the rain did funny things, like it didn’t just make puddles on the land it made sounds. And when it hit, it dispersed water as if it were its right to do so…….. 8.31am and then it stopped raining but the evidence was there, lying on the ground, dripping from the gutters and my socks were wet through.
Right now, I am awaiting the material to process. The themes that flow through Torry are that of universal significance. Religion and faith, community and heritage, disorientation and gravitational pull. Evidence of sounds. Sound evidence. That is everywhere too, you can’t hear it but you can see that it has happened. Recorded and documented like a form of onomatopoeia but in images and objects instead of words. Sound imagery.
There is however a consistent completeness in Torrys warm, honest, passionate sound. A sometimes, overwhelming, tear jerking, display of oranges, yellows and reds. Mimicking the sun rise I was witness to, it glimmers with hidden depth and there is enough salt there to build the earth over again. That sound was sung, whispered and chanted by all the fine folk I had the pleasure of crossing paths with. To you I am thankful. To Torry I take my hat off. You surprised me, delighted me and gave me much more than I could possibly have dreamt.