Brett Westwood is captivated by the songs of crickets as he explores our relationship with an insect renowned for both its singing and fighting abilities.
When Brett Westwood is invited to stroll around the streets of London with a ‘singing cricket‘ as a companion he is following a tradition which can be traced back over a thousand years ago to before the Tang Dynasty in China when people kept crickets in cages and enjoyed their songs. This custom began in the Royal Courts when the Emperor’s concubines placed caged crickets near their pillows so they could enjoy the songs during the night. The practise was soon taken up by local people who carried crickets around in tiny cages and in London, Brett meets Lisa Hall, a sound artist who has brought the tradition right up to date with a tiny audio player fitted with a set of speakers that are small enough to be concealed in a pocket. As Lisa explains the effect is like wearing ‘a perfume’ of song which masks the ugly urban sounds. Could this audio trend catch on? Producer: Sarah Blunt