A diary

May 21st 2024

Welcome to my weekly diary charting the ups and downs of turning my Victorian whodunnit, Octopus: Octavius Guy & The Case of the Throttled Tragedienne, into a podcast. I'm its author, Michael Gallagher. Beric Livingstone is its narrator.

Where Beric is at:

Beric's currently in France on a job. I've listened to Chapter 6 (which I'm relatively happy with) and have Chapters 7, 8, and 9 to look forward to.

Here Bertha explains the ins and outs of the con job that Bella and her partner Glad-handing Jack used to run before she quit the Life to become an actress.

"Open the spatches"
Learn more about Beric here:
Where I am at:

The ads I made for Twitter, which I talked about last week, used music from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons featuring John Harrison on violin with Robert Turizziani conducting the Wichita State University Chamber Players. John Harrison (of owns the copyright, and the edited versions are used under a CC-BY-SA 1.0 Generic licence - for free, gratis. It's probably the best free music you will find anywhere - and, trust me, I looked.

Vivaldi's Summer: Movement 3, Presto

In my head Gooseberry is now inextricably linked to The Four Seasons. So much so, I sometimes forget that this is entirely down to the ads. It's a pretty good soundtrack for a Victorian boy detective, I'm sure you'll agree, but it does come with certain logistical problems when trying to make short clips to be used as transitions between scenes in the podcast.

The very nature of the work is built on subtly shifting repeated phrases that can take a minute or more to resolve (to reach their natural and satisfying conclusion). In other words: they're actually quite hard to chop up.

Vivaldi's Winter: Movement 1, Allegro non molto

The first movement of Winter is a great example of this: listen to the way the chord structure becomes increasingly more complex every second bar before reaching its climax and simplifying (resolving) at last. It's great for building tension but not so good for making short clips out of it.

The Allegro non molto was used over the lengthy opening sequence of Zenana: Season 7, Episode 3 of Endeavour (the brilliant prequel to Inspector Morse, which I happened to binge-watch again recently). I watched the opening several times and learned quite a bit from it. For example, whenever there's a key piece of dialogue, the music is mixed down into the background.

I use the open-source Audacity to edit sound files. It's not an especially intuitive package and my skills are basic at best. When I had a go this week, I noticed they have now have some real-time effects that can be applied to channels. It was a steep learning curve, but I'm beginning to see how to go about adding the different sound elements. This is what I ended up with as a test run. It's not very good but at least I can see my way forward from here.

Listen to the full prologue here:
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