Thursday, April 02, 2009

Media That Soothes

There are any number of reasons that we consume the media that we do. We watch, read, attend and listen to things that inform, persuade, enrage, stimulate or bring us pleasure in one way or another.

As for me, I suppose I am not much different than most people in this.

I have noticed, however, that one piece of media that I enjoy has a different effect on me than the one intended. I would guess that you have some similar things in your life.

The media that I am talking about is the Shipping Forecast on BBC Radio 4.

You can listen to the Shipping Forecast here and get more information about it here. For the full experience, listen to the lead-in music used by Radio 4.

As you might imagine, the Shipping Forecast is given for informational purposes. It is to report the weather conditions off of the coast of the British Isles and to report the weather from coastal reporting stations.

For me, though, I find it extremely soothing. Even before I knew all the zones and locations or what the numbers meant, I found my self relaxing and just enjoying the experience.

I'm not sure what it is, exactly. It might be the cadence of the announcer. It might be the fact that it comes out (at least in its full form) right near when I usually go to bed.

What I think is the most relaxing, though, is the mental picture that I draw as I listen to the weather conditions for Fastnet, Irish Sea, German Bight, North and South Utsire and the rest.

I picture ships and boats being tossed on the dark sea, fighting the wind and waves off of the coast of the British Isles. I picture a sun-drenched afternoon's sailing in the Norfolk Broads or off the Isle of Wight. I see lonely coastal weather stations, faithfully reporting the local weather.

I know that seems like a lot to imagine out of a weather forecast, but I guess I have a rather active imagination.

Do give it a listen and let yourself get taken away, forming your own mental pictures. It is the cheapest vacation that I know of.

1 comment:

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

The NOAA weather guy has the same effect on me. It's very soothing, and I think it's the cadence and the monotony. And the fact that, if I'm listening to it, it's usually kind of rainy and that's conducive to sleep.

Also, I play a lot of quizzes on Sporcle.com (you'd like it, trust me), and the British Shipping Lanes is one of them. I've always skipped because I had no idea on any of them. Well, thanks to you, I now know half a dozen, so I won't feel so dumb (I have been going through and learning the names of the Traditional/Historical counties of England because of Sporcle...which helps immensely when reading Bill Bryson books).