On Thursday, 29th October I visited Hugh Wood at his London home, to speak with him about his experience and memory of the WCSSs. I recorded, with permission, the interview. Meeting Wood was thoroughly enjoyable and he lived up to his reputation as charming, intelligent and thoughtful. His memories will enlighten my research, and over the coming months more details of the events will be posted. This post, like the initial post regarding Michael Hall, will focus on the ethics of recording and publishing the interview.
At the outset I asked if it would be alright to record, and Wood agreed.
Late in the conversation I mentioned that there were ethical issues with me making a recording. His response was ‘oh that’s nice of you to say’. Then the following took place:
(LS100045; from 35’55”)
The conversation continued, now focusing on the necessity of filtering material according to the way in which it’s portrayed by the first-hand observer. Wood suggests that there exists an ethical dimension in publishing first-hand accounts that is based on the ability of the observer to communicate the observed events with interest (this is aside from issues of accuracy). This is an aspect of my research that will become more important in future posts, as the volume of information increases and the redundancy in its factual content increases similarly. In this blog I have already made choices based on which source is the most enjoyable to read, rather that which came first, or which communicates details of the WCSSs most rigorously. Wood’s example in explaining his point is here included for its humour, rather than for it’s direct applicability to the WCSSs or for its brevity:
(LS100045; from 37’24”)
Wood continued, abstracting his point to the idea of a ‘story-teller’:
(LS100045; from 39’53”)
Thinking of my blog and what materials from the interview I would be able to use, I then asked Wood about audio excerpts from the interview:
(LS100045; from 41’08”)
At this point things are more tricky. The above excerpt has a cut in the middle. At the outset of the interview Wood had said that I had to ‘observe off the record’ comments, and the cut in the above clip is Wood’s example to me of one such comment. This clip is especially useful for the way in which Wood goes over his memory of the interview, recalling moments of significance for explaining to me the line between material that is acceptable for publication, and that which is not.
Later in the interview, Wood commented on our meeting with some ideas about memory:
(LS100045; from 55’07”)
This connects to the earlier post about the patchiness of memory as a positive force for forming new fabrics. I mean here to emphasise the contemporary importance of this research, since my motivation for its undertaking is to details these events in order for me to more deeply engage with the musical practices of today.
From a methodological approach, this is the second post articulating various ethics of recording and publishing interviews. This blog is seeking to find methodologies appropriate to the subject at hand, to design new ways of working that deal with issues of this research. It is also a site of generating new issues for the research to explore. At a different scale, rather than maintaining consistent approaches to, for example, the ethics of recording, this blog is a site for the continual transformation of my ideas about these matters. At this moment the publication of interviews is a topic of considerable instability: Michael Hall’s interview will remain not for publication; Hugh Wood’s interview will be drawn upon frequently to illustrate his perspective on the events.
And this further relates to the stabilizing of some aspects of these posts: the want to make visible the work of research (see this post); my desire to be as open as possible about difficulties encountered, as a way of making these into positive aspects of the research; the need to reconceive the division between research and publication, encouraged by the medium of the blog.
Meeting Hugh Wood again reminded me of the temporal dislocation of the WCSSs and the project of this research. The final, unresolvable issue here is that I am seeking to compose an account of the WCSSs by composing posts composed of materials found and generated, from archival work and interviews. The resulting composition is not one that Hugh Wood is likely to experience, since he has not internet access.