The Tsunami CD

Tsunami, Indian Ocean, 2004.

Hollow of the Deep Sea Wave, by Hokusai

The Performers:

Princess Celia
Stephanie Green
Matthew Green
Phil Green
Chris Green
Stripey Howling Hancock
Beryl Hayes
The undersea 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake occurred at 00:58:53 UTC on December 26, 2004, generating tsunamis that were among the deadliest disasters in modern history. At a magnitude of 9.0, it was the largest earthquake since the 9.2 magnitude Good Friday Earthquake off Alaska in 1964, and it tied for fourth largest since 1900. Originating in the Indian Ocean off the western coast of northern Sumatra, Indonesia, the tsunamis devastated the shores of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and other countries with waves of up to 15 m (50 feet) high, even reaching Somalia on the east coast of Africa, 4,500 km (2,800 miles) west of the epicentre. At least 166,000 people (156,000 confirmed dead) are known to have died as a result of the tsunamis and the count is still taking place. The true final toll may never be known due to bodies swept out to sea, but it is likely to be higher than the current estimate. Relief agencies warn of the possibility of more deaths to come as a result of epidemics and starvation. The plight of the many affected people and countries has prompted a widespread humanitarian response. (Source: Wikki online encyclopaedia, 8th Jan 2005)

The Tsunami CD was my response to the disaster.

I had already given half my Christmas-gift money into one of many collecting buckets when it occurred to me that I could give a lot more with just a few resources. A number of recordings of family and friends stored on my computer hard-drive, although far from perfect technically, were more than adequate to raise a few funds. The CD was put together in under two days. People were unstinting in their generosity. A local firm printed the covers for free, and their supplier gave the paper gratis as well. We gave away copies of the CD for nothing but a voluntary contribution to the disaster fund. My son Matthew, proud of his story-telling contributions, was a particularly energetic salesman. After about three weeks the CD had earned around £500.

While organising the material to include on the CD, I happened to come across a scratchy old tape of my mother reading a poem. The shock I felt was tangible, especially as she prefaced the reading with a greeting to me personally. So of course I had to include it. The poem was

"Nicholas Nye"

by Walter de la Mare:

THISTLE and darnell and dock grew there,
And a bush, in the corner, of may,
On the orchard wall I used to sprawl
In the blazing heat of the day;
Half asleep and half awake,
While the birds went twittering by,
And nobody there my lone to share
But Nicholas Nye.

Nicholas Nye was lean and gray,
Lame of leg and old,
More than a score of donkey's years
He had been since he was foaled;
He munched the thistles, purple and spiked,
Would sometimes stoop and sigh,
And turn to his head, as if he said,
"Poor Nicholas Nye!"

Alone with his shadow he'd drowse in the meadow,
Lazily swinging his tail,
At break of day he used to bray,--
Not much too hearty and hale;
But a wonderful gumption was under his skin,
And a clean calm light in his eye,
And once in a while; he'd smile:--
Would Nicholas Nye.

Seem to be smiling at me, he would,
From his bush in the corner, of may,--
Bony and ownerless, widowed and worn,
Knobble-kneed, lonely and gray;
And over the grass would seem to pass
'Neath the deep dark blue of the sky,
Something much better than words between me
And Nicholas Nye.

But dusk would come in the apple boughs,
The green of the glow-worm shine,
The birds in nest would crouch to rest,
And home I'd trudge to mine;
And there, in the moonlight, dark with dew,
Asking not wherefore nor why,
Would brood like a ghost, and as still as a post,
Old Nicholas Nye.

To play a track from the CD, sung by a young Stephanie Green, click here.