Good vibrations

I spent most of this morning in Germantown, hunting for some quality sound bites to use in my upcoming audio project. The finished product isn’t due until next Monday, but I thought I’d provide a sneak preview of my efforts, with a dash of my own observations added for good measure.

I started my search at the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Germantown branch. The building’s quiet, serene atmosphere was the perfect setting for an interview, and, thankfully, I was able to find some individuals willing to talk to me. One lifelong G-town resident, Anthony Kennedy, was particularly insightful.

After leaving the sanctuary of the library, I set out to gleam more insight from local residents. Unfortunately, this task was much harder than I anticipated. Some people didn’t have anything to say. Others shied away from my microphone. One young man close to my own age interrogated me. Based on his insinuations, I think he suspected me of being an undercover police officer. It was the first time in my life that anyone ever told me I looked older than my admitted age. Strange indeed.

I decided to try my luck along Germantown’s main thoroughfare. Germantown Ave. was sparsely populated, which surprised me in light of the unusually pleasant weather. Again, the majority of individuals strolling the neighborhood’s sidewalks balked at answering questions.

However, I was finally able to secure some willing participants at the thrift store near the Germantown Friends School. 18-year old Manny Thompson spoke candidly about education and the importance of disciplining the youth of today.

After three hours of pounding the pavement, I was feeling a little dejected. Out of the dozen or so people that I convinced—actually, pleaded might be the more apporpriate term—to talk to me, only two really had anything useful to say. As I made my way back to the intersection of Germantown and Chelten Ave. to catch the 26 bus, I challenged myself to come up with a solution. At this point, I knew that my audio project would focus on what needs to be improved in Germantown, given the amount of commentary my interviewees provided on that subject, but I didn’t have a strong third voice to tie the package together.

I’ve heard journalists talk about “brilliant surprises”—unexpected quotes or leads that bolster your work in a big way. I had the first “brilliant surprise” of my short career this morning, and it came on four legs.

I could elaborate…but that would be too easy. Stay tuned for more information.