Thursday, 21 April 2011

Musical moths

Here's a distinguished moth man talking to me (note my nice blue sweater): Sir Harrison Birtwistle, the composer who features in the mothy radio programme I've been banging on about recently, Requiem for a Moth. He doesn't just feature actually; he's the cause of it all, because his plans to compose a piece of music with this name caught the eye of my colleague Iain Chambers. Unlike me, Iain is musically knowledgeable and sophisticated, with ten years as a BBC Radio 3 producer under his belt including tours all over the place with Andy Kershaw in search of interesting music and musicians. He also took this picture.

I hope the programme's enjoyable, but you can be sure that in Iain's hands its sound quality will be up to the mark. And we had a great time with Sir H, who has always been interested in moths and still is. He's working on his requiem for lost British species in spite of a little moth-related incident involving a cashmere sweater. More on 6 May at 11am on Radio 4.

Talking of sound, many thanks to yesterday's commentors who identified yesterday's mystery insect as a Drone Fly. It doesn't drone or indeed make any noticeable noise, though as Phil Gates says in his comment, it has a very interesting larva and pupa, each with a tiny tail which makes them look like a small mouse. Thanks to Ohio state university for this pic. The 'drone' comes from its resemblance to a male honeybee (hence my confusion) and further back from the Old English word for bee. Droning as in a deep continuous hum comes from a different OE word. Goodness, there's material here for a Requiem for a Drone Fly.

No comments: