Phobia was phenomenal! Think Hitchcock's movie Vertigo, in the film noir era, they used to film the show without sound first. The actors will then watch the silent film, and then coordinate the sound effects with the actions. Phobia showed the sound effects bit of the process, without the silent film in the background. Thus they recreated sounds like the breaking of bones by crushing celery sticks, or the soundscape of a library or restaurant, using everyday objects. It was brilliant!
We take the soundscape around us for granted. The sound of the MRT train cabin at 9:30pm Saturday night. People talking. Shoes shifting. The intercom in four languages. The swooshing of the speeding train. The sound of Citylink. The sound of slippers coming down the stairs. The sound of a lady walking, compared to the sound of a man walking. When we hear something, it instantly triggers a heuristic, a memory set, an automatic action. Layers upon layers of sounds intertwine into a set soundscape that we hear on a regular basis, and thus are able to filter it out.
Saturday was lovely. I closed my eyes in the busy MRT train cabin and just listened. Holding a can of green tea, I walked silently in Tanjong Pagar, the area I grew up in, and just listened to the thickness of sound around me. The chirping of insects. Jazz music from a near-by club. Metal doors from stores closing up for the night.
It brought back memories of me, 12 years old, playing trauant from Sunday service every Sunday, running along the concrete path towards the near-by hotel's pharmacy, and trying on make-up from sample palettes. It brought back memories of shopping in the supermarket, and giggling over strawberry flavour condoms along the aisles because we thought they were sweets. It brought back memories of Sunday luncheons in the grotty old hawker centre. It brought back some nostalgic smiles, but mostly painful memories. I have resisted coming to that area for eight years because of what it reminded me of, and now I feel like I have came full circle back. Not any older or wiser.
And all these just came from standing still in the darkness, and listening.