Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Music to watch the birds by (1)

As regular readers will be aware, I've just slowly tortured a Russian vine, taking it apart limb by limb, bagging it up in heavy duty bin liners and burying it at the tip (in the garden waste container of course. And no, not the plastic bags).

Ordinarily this would be the task from hell, but I enjoyed pretty much all of it. The reason? 


I have a DAB radio and I probably play it loud enough to keep half of Bristol awake, even though to me it's broadcasting just for me and my space. The garden feels very private, despite being overlooked by four floors of flats along a terrace of townhouses. So private I wouldn't have thought twice about a spot of carefree sunbathing had we had a summer...lucky lucky neighbours. This year at least.

The other Sunday, it dawned on me just how pleasurable the experience was. And just how often I do it; gardening to music I mean. Putting the radio on before my boots and gloves, whistling to tracks I don't know. But I only realised this when I was hauled out of a Cerys-Matthews-induced hypnotic trance by a song that just struck a (yes, pun on its way) chord.

Even if you skip my writing, listen to this song. And again. And again. An uplifting sound, slightly raw and brash in places, and all the better for it. 

The thing about Cerys (10am Sundays BBC 6music or Iplayer) is that she plays a stunning array of music, some old some new, some world, some blue(s), country, indie, the obscure, the gorgeous, the humble. Then in between all these unearthed gems her quiet passion makes you feel like it's all new. Freshly discovered and recorded only yesterday. And because of that, you feel alive. It's the same with my experience in the garden. It's still all new. Learning every time I'm out there, discovering the world in a way you only do when you're 5.

After years of being swept along by the pace of others, spending my time like this is hugely refreshing and a chance to selfishly indulge myself (in a somewhat wholesome way - bet you don't feel that after a bit of Gaga...)

So it got me thinking. What do other gardeners listen to and does it keep them fresh, or just comforted? (hmmm, that line was a bit too Sex and the City. I apologise). The Archers? The natural sounds of the garden? Gardener's question time? The stereotypes can't be true surely?

I sounded out other gardeners on Twitter and Facebook and I have to say you surprised me! @SWilson's French lessons in particular! Gardening en Francais is a whole 'nother world I'm not ready for. I'm struggling with the English version.

Some of the boys of course upheld the 'man and his garden shed movement' including @Matt_the_wolf and @allotment7b putting on the football and / or cricket. Pure escapism. 

One or two went to greater lengths to escape the noise of the wider world. 21st century gardening from @horshamgardener, with his trusty ipod. Chris (@Levensgardener) upped the bar though listening to tech podcasts and radio4 underneath noise defenders whilst, get this, operating machinery. Now, Chris, I'm no expert on safe operation of dangerous equipment but..!

However, I'm going to leave the last word to my good friend Kris who gave me a list of what he listens to when he gardens:

Jasper Carrot,
the Smashing Pumpkins,
the Cranberries,
Sara Cox!,
P(ea) Diddy, 

Sweet nanny goat indeed...

(you need to listen to the song I posted to appreciate the above line. If you didn't, go back and listen. I don't write this blog just so you can ignore my tenuous music links thank you very much.)

Inspired by Kris, I'll be holding a #rockgarden competition on Twitter and Facebook so keep an eye out, comment on this post, or email me Thehaplessgardener@gmail.com

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The Hapless Kitchen Gardener

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I only feel hapless because some people make it look easy to grow 10 ft marrows or a banquet of greens whereas my courgettes got nabbed by killer slugs and I only got one raspberry. So tips and stories from people less hapless than I are more than welcome. As a disclaimer though, none of my comments should be taken as expert advice on which you can rely! © Unless stated otherwise, and with the exception of guest content where that guest retains copyright, all photos and posts are the copyright of Tom Carpen and may not be used without permission.