The Wigtown Book Festival is on at the moment – has just started in fact – and today we went to sit at the feet of Brian Bilston, well known for his poems and now the author of a book called “The Diary of a Somebody“. The talk was given in the old County Building and we saw announced at the top of the screen the name of the outfit providing sub-titles, about which we had not known beforehand, but which to me was a great boon.
Mr Bilston talked first about and read from his book of poems, “You took the Last Bus Home” and I was able to follow what he said very well. The only downside being that sub-titles don’t allow for tone of voice, speed of delivery, or pauses, or the timing of the foregoing with changes of facial or body expression. Technically this is known as “latency” and it is what makes BBC News and Weather so difficult to understand, because the titles are always, and inevitably behind the speaker’s delivery. So, in the case of the weather forecast, you are hearing about Tuesday, or quite possibly Monday, whilst the speaker is well on into Wednesday. And, sometimes if the apparatus gets hung up on a particular word or expression the whole thing just stops, so that on resumption you have missed whole paragraphs. If it is the the News you are watching, and the newsreader passes on to a new topic the sub-titling for the previous topic just ceases.
It is therefore pleasing to report that in this instance the sub-titles kept up with the speaker extraordinarily well and demonstrated convincingly that the BBC, who claim to be developing their systems all the time are in fact way behind the times.
On the way home we stopped at the Galloway Fisherman at Carsluith and had a beautiful meal. My offering began with a mackerel fillet starter and passed smoothly on to prawns in linguine. Excellent. Then from the sublime to the gorblimey, we called in at Tesco and did grocery shopping.
The Kirkcudbright Kite Festival began today and we saw a few hovering over the riverside park as we came and went.
Oh . . . if you haven’t yet bought either or both of Brian Bilston’s books I recommend you to do so forthwith.