Before I went to Antarctica I asked people for recommendations on music to listen to while there, and I put together an Antarctic playlist.
Turned out I didn’t listen to much music while I was in Antarctica. It was too noisy in the C-17 flight down (those in the know were wearing noise cancelling ear muff thingies) and the rest of the time I was too busy being in Antarctica. Around Scott Base and McMurdo the soundscape was helicopters, monster trucks and wind turbines. On walks around the pressure ridges there was the gentle sound of flags flapping and whipping in the wind and the occasional sear roar. On bigger walks, though, when I wasn’t listening to the silence I did sometimes listen to music, and these are the songs that now evoke Antarctica best for me.
1. Glosoli by Sigur Ros for the endless trudging beat that goes through the song that echoed the sound of my boots trudge, trudge, trudging in the snow.
2. Holocene by Bon Ivor for the line “I can see for miles and miles and miles”.
3. A new song, that wasn’t on my list, but Alice played it to me while we were at Scott Base and sent me when we got home: Our Retired Explorer (Dines With Michel Foucault In Paris, 1961) by The Weakerthans. I smile every time I hear it. As well as just being a great song it manages to capture the foolish and fun aspect of our time in Antarctica: sometimes the only response to being somewhere so amazing and incredible – we’re in Antarctica! – was a bit of inappropriate giggling and we managed plenty of that.