upcoming episodes of ‘Press your Ear to the Rail’ By sound artist Jim
Episode Three: Metals – for 21/04/14 will predominantly feature the metallic sounds that abound in the SKLR environs.
Episode Four: The Event – for 28/04/14 will feature a lengthy tale about the challenges of transporting conceptual art on a light railway network.
Episode Five: Wildlife – for 05/05/14 will explore the habitat (including sections of the track and Milton Creek) and cast an eye over some of the local difficulties facing the SKLR and the spirited way the volunteers respond.
all episodes will be aired after 8:00pm on BR FM Bridge Radio 95.6fm in swale and live online at http://www.brfm.net or http://tunein.com/radio/BRFM-956-s92168/ and as a podcast after @ https://arttransmissionradioexperiment.wordpress.com/sound-art-podcasts/jim-whelton-art-transmission-1-sklr-press-your-ear-to-the-rail/
Location interview with Alex from the coach and wagon department. He really
knows his stuff. We learn how SKLR carriages are repaired and restored or
even built from the ground up. On site, there are enough coaches and wagons
to fill an infinitely rolling level crossing dream where the train never
ends. Mind you, if you told a Freudian psychologist you were having such
dreams they’d probably inform you that your unconscious is trying to resolve
a conflict between your desire to travel second class (super-ego) when
you’ve been handed a first class ticket (the id).
As you stroll through the yard you encounter passenger coaches decked out in
the Bowater company’s rolling stock livery. The exteriors are a confident
cheery green while the interiors are split at waist height by a saucy
caramel above and a deep nut brown below. Behind, on rise that borders the
vast modern paper mill, sharp faced daffodils poke out from the banks,
shaking their trumpets noiselessly in the wind.
Further on, toward the margins of the SKLR land, in an area reminiscent of
the forbidden zone in Tarkovsky’s ‘Stalker’, you find coaches bearing
Chattenden and Upnor logos. These originated from the military railway in
the Hoo, the marshy alluvial spur that separates the Thames from the Medway.
These de-militarised veterans still stand defiantly to attention though
they’ve long passed out on their last parade.
In among flat beds loaded with ruddy iron junk, clay and coal hoppers that
invite you to leap in and yell at the top of your voice. One is filled with
rolls of barbed wire, the spaghetti of security. Walking back to the
business end of the site, opposite the platform, are a row of wagons with
rusty ends loaded with the ballast and sleepers used to maintain the track.
Close to these are my two favourites – the recycled wood wagon and the fire
engine. The former has sides that look charred and burnt, as if it’s
survived a ride through a fiery torment. Close inspection suggests the
‘roasted alive look’ could just be the effect of the peeling paint. The fire
wagon is a child’s toy scaled up to life-size. Impossibly red and festooned
with hoses and buckets. It waits patiently for a call to action. Despite its
comical looks, it’s no mere show piece. Last year it was raced down the line
to tackle a raging brush fire. In the heat of summer, dried reeds that cover
the marsh present the perfect tinder.
post by sound artist Jim Whelton
podcast http://youtu.be/YEUPjZDGcoc Paul Best from The Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway on the Daniel Monday night community show at BRFM Bridge radio
Daniel and I are taken for a special walking tour of the SKLR sheds by
Fireman Mike. The main shed is built of parts shipped in from the
transhipment shed that stood in Ridham Dock, There’s plenty of headroom,
even for a tall loco along with a strong industrial feel. Concrete is
oil-stained, pots of grease sit like Eastern satraps among a court of humble
rags, the front end of the shed faces away from the creek and is open to the
elements. Machines and power tools are gathered at the far end including a
mighty 1950’s compressor with octopus rubber limbs snaking off through the
shed. It thrums and chatters busily as it pumps air off to various devices.
The loco engineers are working on an engine called ‘Melior’. The name which
is taken to mean ‘new and improved’ (think ‘ameliorate’) was designed to be
better than its forebears. However, everyone at the SKLR will tell you
otherwise albeit with as sphinx-wise smile on their faces which speaks
buckets of their obvious affections for ‘Melior’. The loco had been stripped and freshly cleaned parts lie stacked waiting for a fresh paint job.
I’m reminded of a Ray Harryhausen-era live-action plus animation version of
Jason and the Argonauts, in particular the scene where they battle the
bronze giant Talos. Talos, built by expert craftsman Hephaestus, gets the
better of Jason and his crew until some bright spark pulls out a plug
attached to Talos’ ankle. At this point he springs a fatal leak. His life’s
blood (Ichor) drains out like oil out of a sump and poor Talos crashes to
the ground defeated. Admittedly, it’s a bit of leap from this to looking at
Melior but there is something of the fallen giant about a disassembled loco.
The temptation is to put it all back together, even if you knew the metal
beast would attack mercilessly once revived.
post by sound artist Jim Whelton
podcast http://youtu.be/1vTYEALwdMQ Simon Martin the Documentary Photographer for Art Transmission at The Sittingbourne Kemsley Light on the Daniel Monday night community show at BRFM Bridge radio
podcast http://youtu.be/xz6aIYMcfTA update from Jim Whelton a sound artist for Art Transmission he is working with The Sittingbourne Kemsley Light Railway. on the Daniel Monday night community show at BRFM Bridge radio