Sound Off! // Comment Klatsch #13: Most Memorable Sound of 2013
klatsch \KLAHCH\ , noun: A casual gathering of people, esp. for refreshments and informal conversation [German Klatsch, from klatschen, to gossip, make a sharp noise, of imitative origin.] (Dictionary.com)
Dear Readers: It’s a new year, and the SOCK returns with our now annual tradition of listening back to the past year. Join us now and the first Thursday of every month. We’re listening —J. Stoever-Ackerman, Editor-in-Chief
What was the most memorable sound of 2013 and why?
Comment Klatsch logo courtesy of The Infatuated on Flickr.
This year was an intense one for me that started with a very painful death, and ended with my pregnancy. Both of these just top all others for me, even though in the middle there were so many sounds associated with new places being experienced, events, projects, etc. Life and death, they took first place! Death had to do with sounds ceasing…a sudden vacuum noticed throughout the day. Still painful, I won’t go into that too much. Life…well of course hearing the baby’s heartbeat. Such an amazing sound on so many levels, I’m completely addicted and we’ll often spend a little time in the evening sticking our hydrophone on my belly. You were a roller-coaster 2013!!!
The sound I perhaps remember most from 2013 relates to soccer. My team, FF Jaro, is one of the smallest teams in the finnish Veikkausliiga but has been in the highest league for the last eleven years. Jaro has never won any medals but keeps producing good junior players and is a very big part of the local community in Pietarsaari (Jakobstad in swedish). The team has united finnish and swedish speaking soccer lovers since 1965.
As every year journalists had estimated Jaro for relegation, predicting that they would finnish last in the league at the end of the 2013 season. To everyones surprise Jaro played excellent soccer and after 2/3 of the season they were even battling for the medals, something that hasn’t happened since 1996. Unfortunately the last third of the season was a huge dissapointment. Jaro lost players to injuries and transfers abroad (that’s what happens when you are quite low in the food chain) and won only one of the last eleven games. But they avoided relegation, once again.
After not winning for five straight games the Law of Jante (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_Jante) showed up, again. People started talking about the team havig too high expectations and the players not being good enough. Unfortunately the Jante Law is very strong here in Finland. For the sixth game in the third half of the season HJK came to town. HJK has won the four last gold medals and is the team everyone wants to beat. Their head coach was fired from Jaro in 2004 and media, of course, once again hyped Boströms return to Jaros home ground. The home crowd desperately wanted the team to turn their season around and start winning again. Unfortunately the dreams where crushed only after four minutes when HJK’s star striker Mikael Forssell scored HJK’s first goal. Jaro actually didn’t play all that bad but HJK scored two more goals before a Jaro player got sent off. HJK scored their fifth goal in the 76th minute.
Trailing 0-5 on home ground, playing with just 10 players against the best team in the country and with the rain just pouring down suddenly some kids in the middle of the main stand started very actively to cheer for Jaro. A small examlpe of this can be heard here at 6’58
This woke the entire crowd (attendence 2048) up and in the at 81th minute the cheers were “revarded” with a home team goal by Idle Elmi, one of Jaros own junior players.
I have followed Jaros ups and downs since 1989 but never ever have I witnessed such a support though trailing so clearly. For those “naive” kids the shouts were perhaps just a spontaneous funny thing. But for me it represented the crush of the Jante Law since it covered up the sounds of those mumbling grumpy old men that always sit behind me. The positive and irresistable sounds of the cheering kids united the crowd in a positive feeling, showing their love and support for the team. The sound of the kids reminded the audience that a struggling team needs even more support than a winning team. This is something we generally tendto forget. At the press conference after the game Jaro’s head coach Alexei Eremenko Sr. commented on the good support the team got even thought losing with clear numbers (5-1).
Must be the buzzing sound of drones: perhaps most of us have only heard it mediated but mediation is very 2013 anyway…
For me, the most memorable sound of 2013 have been the sounds of farm animals. Having done 3 weeks of research in an archive in Bowling Green, Ohio over the past year, I found much time to visit with the animals on the farm of the folks who put me up. Having lived in the suburbs of New Jersey for most of my life, it took me by surprise how tranquil and soothing the sounds of wildlife and the farm could be. And although this may not be a poignant as some of the other entries, these are the sounds that stuck with me this year.
One of the sounds that will remind me of 2013 will be the sound of the original War of the Worlds recording. Before this year’s anniversary (which we covered extensively and celebrated here at SO!), I had never heard WOTW before. For me, listening to the Orson Welles’ radio play was a unique experience that I shared with hundreds of others who had never heard it before. It’s been a while since I have shared a listening experience like that one, especially when I consider that nowadays we tune in at different times and different moments (think Netflix, Youtube). The sound of the narrator calling out to Professor Richard Pearson, only to be greeted by silence, stays with me as did the slight uneasiness of that moment. I knew it was fake, but for a second there, that silence made WOTW seem very real.
For 2012, I commented regarding the sounds of Trayvon Martin’s murder and George Zimmerman’s subsequent (sham) trial. My memorable sound of 2013, extends from the sound of his breath in the phone, the abrupt shot, his pained death scream, his forever silence–and most importantly it holds up and affirms the sound of Rachel Jeantel’s brave testimony in the face of an America doing its damndest not to hear it. This year my community here in Binghamton, NY held several marches that echoed and amplified Jeantel’s fearless witness and broke America’s daily silences about racism and the premature death it deals to men and women of color (among other indignities, injustices, and aggressions, micro and macro). While not all were about Trayvon, his spirit was always present and remembered (as were so many many others, Tyisha Miller, Jordan Davis. . .) and it galvanized myself and many people where I live to take to the streets and lift our voices together for a better world right here and now. In the fall, for example, hundreds of folks gathered and marched to force the city and the local newspaper to acknowledge a local bar’s (Dillenger’s) treatment–performed by one of the owners/bouncers–of a young man named Kyle Pitts, who the owner/bouncer called a “nigger” and wrestled to the ground.
It was october–and there had been complete “official” silence since the incident happened in August–and groups of committed students including the The Confronting Racism Coordinating Committee (CRCC), the Women’s Student Union (WSU) and Black Student Union BBC worked hard to organize the community and ultimately, forced an official apology from the restaurant and invited several downtown groups to sign an anti-racist pledge to change how they do business. I know many folks consider protest marches outdated in our contemporary moment–but the feeling of being together and the sonic materiality of other’s voices filling your ears, echoing in your chest, and your voice jumping out to join in, still has a powerful resonance with those in the march (even, maybe even especially, if the immediate ends aren’t met). For weeks, even months after, I recognized faces from the march in coffee shops, at restaurants, at the library, and we stopped to talk and catch up as if we were already old friends. And, no matter what new bull shit 2014 will undoubtedly serve up, I am taking that sound with me–letting it resonate and settle into my very bones.