"At home with? For the last while a lot of people have been at home with me, given we are all working 'remotely.'
"What a strange word, 'remotely.' We've never been closer to our listeners, nor they to us - they keep me on my toes, I can tell you. Actually, we in Lyric were absolutely determined to keep as many "lines" open as possible, as the pandemic spread and almost everything shut down.
"One of the bizarre upsides to Covid-19 was the ability once again to listen, to stop, and listen, just listen. Public service broadcasting was once again in the spotlight and this time in a much more positive light.
"I was unlucky early on when an accident temporarily crippled me, but I recovered. During those days all I had was my ears (I could not lift my head or move) so a lot of playlists were devised, mulled over, redrawn, scrapped, reinvented.
"I couldn't sit or kneel for five weeks so within that time I read and reread standing up: Baudelaire, Herta Müller, Emily Dickinson, Kandinsky, Kierkegaard, José Saramago. Quay Books in Limerick moved online and kept me going."
"As to listening: the amazing thing about the lock-down was the return of silence, bird song, darker nights, purer air. Away from playlists I listened a lot to nothing and nothing enveloped me. I’m serious: nothing restores us.
"When I did sit again, I returned to work on new material: an Apollinaire adaptation; a sketching out of a series of monologues; work on shards and fragments of sounds and music from the Voyager missions; and a ceaseless on-again off-again ascent of the first page/last page of Joyce’s Finnegans Wake.
"I don’t watch television. And I listen to films. Oh sure, I see just like the next pair of eyes, but if it’s a good piece (the score), well then, my second time in it will be with my eyes closed and headphones on.
"Radio, I drop in and out of – all of my colleagues on Lyric make it sound so simple. It isn’t, neither in front nor behind the microphone. Why did you say that? Why that piece? Why that version? Why edit it that way? Was that too long? Was that too short? Where is the line? Where is the rhythm? Oh, I hear it now. When I listen, I listen very closely."
"The programme I do listen to regularly is The Full Score. Liz Nolan somehow manages to do several things simultaneously: juggling the casual with the learned, the informative alongside the passionate - that is brilliant broadcasting. Music history and musical interpretations fascinate me and The Full Score has these in spades-and more. Outside of that, Radio 1’s Playback and Drama On One are regular stops.
"The musical instruments I spend all of my free time on are all computer based. Logic Pro is a very deep editor and sequencer; Reaktor is a whole world of synthesis; and also Kontakt and Falcon – to my ears the greatest samplers in the business. Within these are many more strands: effects plugins, virtual instruments, synthesizers, romplers, music analysis tools and more.
"As restrictions lift it’s nice to see kids playing football again, older people enjoying their grandchildren and so on. I am concerned that we’re in danger of rushing things – having done such a good job initially - but hopefully we will manage to avoid the worst of it. And I’m especially worried for a lot of my friends who are artists – we, society, have got to embrace them and lift them up spiritually, artistically and particularly financially.
"Here’s Michael, our post man with a package for me. It’s from a regular listener, Gary: treasure – another world of Blues. That nestles besides packages from Duncan and T. More people I’ve yet to meet but who sit down in my front room every night."
"My son and his pals have promised me Tupac and Stormzy today, and I’ll be returning the serve with Beethoven and Led Zeppelin. On a walk the other day I met Peter and his dog Jethro. 'Jethro Tull?' I asked. Before you know it Peter had filled up a page in my notebook. Helen keeps my classical chops up to speed, and Ger I am convinced was married to Bach in a past life. These are our listeners, these are our life blood."
The Blue of the Night, 9pm, RTÉ Lyric FM, Monday-Thursday