F R A M E W O R K S                   


© Gary Bryson 





F R A M E W O R K S                         



PLAY TAPE:               STEVE CUT 1

                                  IN: This is the sound you don’t want to hear...


FX:                              Glass glissando,


FX:                             Wood splintering, creaking, cracking


                                    (fades to glass cacophony mix. Hold under)


NARRATOR: Let me try to explain this.


VOICE: (deep in mix) Listeners are advised that all programmes are composed of

aural compo....


FX:                              Glass crash reverb


ROBYN:And breaking into the frame of the program, FrameWorks, an exploration

of frames and framing. Frames of reference, frames of mind, time-frames,

picture-frames and the frames around spectacles. Frames personal and public,

rococo and baroque. Frames given and received, carved and pastiglio, gilded or

graffitoed. The symbolic frameworks by which meaning is created and distorted,

by which change is managed and contained.


FX:                             Wood splinters, creaks


ROBYN: Listeners are advised that this programme is composed entirely of aural

compo, a highly malleable material which can be worked when warm to accurately

recreate the lines and ornamental features of any desired original. At the time of

listening, a gesso composed of chalk and rabbit skin glue has been applied, and the

gilding process has begun.


FX:                              Burnishing


FrameWorks was designed and constructed by dum de dum de, and features the

voices of dah dah dah and dah dah dah...


                                   (Tape speed varies, Robyn’s voiceslows to stop)


FX:                              Static


FX:                              Classic FM apology tape   (interrupted by)


ANNOUNCER: FrameWorks! Six pieces for radio on the margins of visibility!

Part four, Border Incident!


FX:                             Desert Wind             (Hold under)


NARRATOR:Let me try to explain this.


You paused in the doorway for just a moment. The sunlight picked at your hair and

shoulder, the side of your face, the grain of your skin. Behind you, dappled

brushstrokes, greens and yellows, terracotta. A cat, basking on the wall.


The rectangular precision of the doorway. Holding the moment.


You hesitated, swaying between two worlds. I saw a strength in your eyes that

surprised me. And then the door slammed and you were gone.


Wait. Run that back a moment.


                                    (desert wind reverses)


The doorway shudders, the door opens quickly inwards, your arm follows, you turn

towards me. Your hand reaches in to grasp the handle as the door swings gently to

a stop.


                                    (desert wind stops)


Freeze frame.


The cat has made herself scarce, as cats will. A cat will not be possessed. But there

you are, framed by the doorway. That look in your eyes.   No tears. I look carefully

but I can no longer see myself reflected.


Listen. You have no choice.


FX:                              Static


ANNOUNCER:Frame-Works. Six pieces for radio on the margins of visibility.

Paragraph 18, Section B2. An Act of Enclosure


FX:                             Frame-making atmos


PLAY TAPE:            STEVE CUT 2

                                    IN: There are two sorts of frames...

                                       OUT: ...distress, antique them (fade).

                                    DUR: 24”


                                    (Hold frame-making atmos under)           


NARRATOR: There are things which puzzle me. The different you before being

framed by that final doorway. The different me. The other frames around our life that

now lie empty, stacked in dusty piles, broken. Our memories are poisoned by the



PLAY TAPE:            STEVE CUT 3

                                    IN: Measure up...

                                       OUT: ...that’s the guillotine (fades).

                                    DUR: 33”


FX:                              Guillotine


NARRATOR: Let me try to explain this.


FX:                              Clockwork                 (hold under)


NARRATOR: What I wanted was nothing more or less than the harmonious

conjoining of raw edges. Mitred right angles and hard nails. Burnished gold leaf

over flat gesso. The bounded world, defined, ordered, under control. You can

breathe in there, you can sit back and drift off. Easy.


Beyond that, things to avoid; the periphery, the margins, the things you can’t see,

the dark, difficult things that make no sense. Things that fly off unrestrained.

Disconnections that make you laugh, make you wonder, make you hurt.  


You see? The doorway matters.


                                    (clockwork rhythm fluctuates)


A frame, I said once, quoting someone, is “A dry quadrilateral plunging into the

hazard’s of nature’s diffuseness”.   You liked that. Nature’s diffuseness. Messing

about in the garden, half-finished renovations. Leaving the top off the toothpaste



Let’s plunge in together, you said. We’re both in this.


                                    (clockwork rhythm speeds up)


But we’re not. We’re in different pictures. I’m framing you and you’re framing me.

We fear the madness that lies in unframed moments.


FX:                              Mitre saw


ANNOUNCER: Frame-Works. Six pieces for radio on the margins of visibility. Act 3,

Scene 1. Beyond The Square


FX:                              Stapler rhythm


FX:                              Frame-making atmos


PLAY TAPE:            STEVE CUT 4

                                    IN: The v-nailer shoots...

                                       OUT: ...cutting and joining of a frame.                                                                         DUR: 1’.07”


FX:                              Bass rhythm/voice sustain     (hold under)


NARRATOR: We frame our thoughts. Frames of mind, habits of thought.


What are you thinking, standing in the doorway? That look in your eyes. There’s time

to reconsider. Are you reconsidering? Changing your mind? Seeing things in a

different light? Thinking beyond the square? Go on, rescue us both from the oblivion

of the doorway.


But no, you’re thinking about the cat. What feline quality allows her to escape your

fate? The claws of instinct. Sinew, muscle, nerves, fur. Ears, eyes, nose, tail. The cat

is her own frame. She can’t be framed, she can’t frame others. She doesn’t need to

think laterally, she is already and always beyond the square. One step ahead.


FX:                              Glass crash reverb


We think we’re special, but our minds are just bits and bytes, a practical joke. The

last thing an animal needs is self-awareness.   Hemmed in four-square by frames custom-built and off-the-shelf, handed down through generations. Awarded, earned,

stolen, disguised as something else. The frame as fashion statement. We watch

ourselves being watched.   We’d all be better off as cats. That’s what I think.


What are you thinking about, now?


It doesn’t matter. Thinking gets us into all kinds of trouble. I think of you, you think

of me, I think of you thinking of me, we spiral down together into a neat rectangle

that contains roses, tickets to the theatre, offers of marriage.


But you’re not thinking that at all.


FX:                              Bass rhythm/voice sustain


                                    (collapses into rumble)         (hold under)




NARRATOR: I can’t hear myself think!


                                    (silent pause)


Are you still listening?


FX:                              Tinkle bells


The colours are beginning to change around you, and your hair looks longer than I remember. Let’s try another approach.


ANNOUNCER: Frame-Works. Six pieces for radio on the margins of visibility. Scene

5, take 32. The Field of Looks.


FX:                              Tinkle-Bell interlude


FX:                              Art Gallery atmos     (hold under)


NARRATOR: A rare visit to the art gallery. We’d been arguing about some piece of

abstract frippery. You can’t frame an abstraction, you said. You can’t put an outside

around an inside that doesn’t have an outside. You can’t enclose the future.


                                    (gallery atmos up - cross-fade to)


FX:                              Clucking clock rhythm     (hold under)


You were wearing your spectacles. The ones you never wear because you don’t want

anyone to know you wear spectacles. The tortoiseshell oberlins that make you look

oh so smart.


I said I thought the frames were more interesting than the pictures. You laughed,

and our eyes met, the fire in yours magnified, my crooked smile reflecting back.

Take off your glasses, I said. Rub your eyes a little. Stop thinking, start looking.


Stop looking, you said. Start seeing.


A theory of vision, framed by spectacles. Corbusier frames, horn rims, tortoise shell. Lognettes and aviator glasses meet carnivale, fiesta, mardi-gras. Love, death and



FX:                              Party whistle


                                    (art gallery atmos out)


In The Metropolitan Museum in New York, they have the largest collection of picture

frames in the world. They hang them on the wall, just the frames. Empty.


FX:                              Frame-making atmos       (hold under)


Windows of sober walnut, gilded oak. Baroque mouldings, laurel leaves, flannel

flowers. Scallops, flowering vines, delicate filigrees and wild rococo statements.


PLAY TAPE:            STEVE CUT 5

                                    IN: There are two forms of gilding...

                                       OUT: ...they really are chalk and cheese.

                                    DUR: 1.23

NARRATOR:   Time does not have wings.


                                    (Frame-making atmos stops)


ANNOUNCER: (subdued) Frame-Works. Six pieces for radio on the margins of

visibility. Volume 3. The Fifth Edge.


FX:                              Glass drifting interlude     (hold under)


NARRATOR: (distant, dreamy) You paused in the doorway for just a moment.

(I stopped in the doorway.)


You hesitated, swaying between two worlds. (I waited for you to speak).


PLAY TAPE:            STEVE CUT 5

                                    IN: You put a good frame...

                                       OUT: ...pretty bloody good actually.

                                    DUR: 19”

NARRATOR: Time does not have wings. It crawls across dusty surfaces. It hides in

the dark. It feeds on fear. We tame it with watches and calendars and endless

clockwork trickery. Bells and bundy clocks, fitness and face-lifts.


You look different now, standing in your frame. More relaxed. I can’t be sure. The

light has lost its sharpness, it falls softly on your hair, your face, your skin. Softly,

poised between light and shade, you cast your glance. Softly, I receive it, an arc of transmission, a measure of meaning.


But it’s too late. In your gaze, I'm forever framed by this doorway.   A permanently

startled look. Unkempt hair. A sarcastic goodbye wave. This, is how you will

remember me.


I hear your car driving off. I open the door. The cat appears, purring.


                                    (Glass drifting interlude cross-fades to)


FX:                              Glass cacophony up and out


FX:                              Person leaving studio and shutting door