The smell of change… reading

Unknown climber having a kip on the floor, unknown climber on Coliseum, and another unknown climber on something hard, think its Gemenis 8b+ Rodellar, Spain.

I wrote The smell of change, a 4500 word piece published on UKC, in the week following my return from a climbing trip in Spain. A link to the full written version can be found HERE. When I’m in the UK, I’m a bit of a sucker for the PM programme hosted by Evan Davis on Radio 4. The Covid-19 crisis has become a big part of the programme, well, its all the programme (no surprise), and a new item that interested me was a 400 word written piece to be recorded by the author, and then played on the programme called Covid Chronicles.

After writing The smell of change, a piece describing leaving Spain and travelling through France as lockdown happened due to the virus, I thought it would be something to do, given the time I was now sitting on the sofa, to try to edit 4500 down to 400, and send this to the PM programme. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t get the original down to under 700 words, but sent it anyway, and of course, didn’t hear back (note to self, don’t ignore word count!). The piece was possibly a tad dark for 5pm, or maybe I need to face the truth, it wasn’t very good. Anyway, I thought bugger it, I’ll do my own reading, so that’s what I did, and in the process I incorporated my friend Mark Goodwin, a trained sound recordist (he will no doubt tell me this title is wrong, but what the hell, you get the idea!).

Now, as good as a person is, they can only work with what they’re given, and a recording on my phone, while shuffling about under the duvet, was never going to be brilliant, (at one point I thought I was suffocating) but Mark did a great job sorting it out, and I think it’s OK.

Here’s a link to the piece, its 8 minutes long…  The smell of change. (audio)

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4 Responses to The smell of change… reading

  1. Gord B says:

    Hi Nick,

    The audio version of The Smell of Change is your best work to date. Reduced to perfection. Arguably the best piece I’ve encountered concerning Covid. More please.



  2. Nick Bullock says:

    Hey Gord,

    Nice one, thanks a lot. Hope you’re doing OK in all this crazyness.


  3. Mike says:

    Hi Nick, I really enjoy your writing, and hadn’t read this piece, but listened to it instead, late at night. I connected with the story immediately as last year I made the annual trip by car to collect my kids in Sheff to bring em back here to Arbolí in late July. I too saw scared toilet stoppers in France, some with, some without masks. The autoroutes were dead. Even the aires were quiet at night. Our accor luxury overnighter in Troyes and our customary visit to the local ace baker there eased the weirdness, but it was surreal. Would we get back into Spain, or even back into France? Maybe the tunnel will close as well… It wasall OK in the end, and I even made the return trip with them in early sept, again by car, to drop them at mum’s in S7, but it was surreal. Dream-like. The return leg home on me todd, sleeping in the car to the sounds of “Generator Moods Vol III”, wondering if the kids will enjoy school in four hours, whether Catalunya will let me back in… In the end, there was no-one on the border, and the strip joint looked like it was still doing a fair trade. Nearly a year on, we’re contemplating doing the same annual ritual once again. Roll on August.
    Thanks Nick; very refreshing and inspiring to read your well versed blog. p.s. jr is a pussycat. I’m sure he’d love you to come visit him and/or me in catalunya any time soon. good choss here, cheers! 😉

    • Nick Bullock says:

      Hey Mike,

      Great message, thanks for that… Crazy days! 🙂 PS, I love Catalunya, but I’m not climbing choss when I’m over, there is so much amazing solid stuff, that would be the action of a mad person!! 😉

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