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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Audio history project - please submit a l
    Posted: 05-Mar-2013 at 05:28

Hello everyone,

 

I am a radio journalist based in Prague, Czech Republic.

 

I am fascinated by the power of the spoken word, especially when describing the everyday lives and events of history.

 

So I have decided to embark on an audio project recording the everyday memories of everyday people.

 

I must admit that part of my motivation is driven by regret. My grandfather was an RAF Lancaster bomber navigator during WWII. The story goes that he would come home to my grandmother with horrific tales of lucky escapes during raids over occupied Europe. When my grandmother became pregnant (with my father), she virtually ordered my grandfather to go to his commanding officer and resign. So (and I believe to his eternal regret) he did. He was subsequently demoted and - as Private Smith - was sent to fight the Japanese in Burma. He didn't return until 1946.

 

As a child, I vaguely recall some harsh words between adults when my grandfather apparently refused to speak to one of my father's Japanese business colleagues.

 

Of course, these are just family stories and hazy childhood recollections. If only my grandfather had lived maybe 10 years longer (he died at the age of 69, when I was 13)! I would have been interested enough by then to have grabbed a tape recorder and got his own take on all these stories. It would have been wonderful, especially as I remember him as a very colourful character with a great turn of phrase.

 

I often regret that. However, I also regret that I didn't record my grandmother, to get her memories of wartime Britain or of her childhood in 1920s Cheshire.

 

I also regret that I didn't record my maternal grandfather's memories of being a mechanic at an airstrip in South Wales (my mother is called Glenys, because she was allegedly conceived while my grandmother was visiting the base).

 

But I am not just interested in my own family. This weekend, I am going to a friend's flat to record her 92 year grandfather who worked as a translator during the Nazi occupation of Prague. It's like opening a hidden treasure trove and I can't wait.

 

Every life is a story.

 

What with the new technology at our fingertips, it has never been easier to record our grandparents, parents, aunt, uncles, friends, colleagues.

 

Anyone a bit "longer in the tooth", shall we say.

 

The memories don't have to detail wars or acts of heroism. They simply have to be memories of a life - anything that the sender believes is interesting. It could be about the first time they watched a TV show or the joy the person gained from planting his/her own garden.

 

So, to kick the project off, I am looking for help.

 

Please help me record the lives of ordinary people. If they happen to have witnessed or taken part in some of the momentous events in history, then fine. Whatever has happened of interest in their lives is of interest to me as a historical document.

 

Please record a life and send it to me as a sound file.

 

I do have some practical stipulations to help kick the project off.

 

1) The file should be no more than 10 minutes in length and in .mp3 format.

2) In English. (I will introduce more languages in future)

3) The speaker should be at least 70 years old (this is simply because I must have some cut off point, at least at the start)

4) The speaker can be named or anonymous

 

Please attach the .mp3 file and send to me at peter.smith@tiscali.cz

 

I will do some editing of the file. When I have enough memories, I will place all the sound files online. It would be great if the file was accompanied by a photo of the speaker and/or a short bio, but this is not compulsory.

 

Either record yourself, or record a person you are close to or know. There is no bar on what can be spoken about. Nothing is unimportant or irrelevant. All memories - from any person, from any country, from any moment in history - are valuable and cherished.

 

I do hope that you can contribute to what I hope will be a worthwhile project.

 

Best wishes,

Peter Richard Smith

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Mar-2013 at 10:17
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My advice, if your going to participate, is to not include personal information involving demographics that might be used to further identity theft or theft of property to include financial. You should also be wary of emails and as this individual while giving you his address; has not for example, identified for you 'where he works' or given you a ' legitimate business point of contact', that you might verify his claims-credentials as a journalist. Caution is your watchword.
 
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