Between the Ears – Empty Ocean (Radio 3, Saturday) was a beautiful lament. Its setting was Fair Isle, the most remote inhabited island in Britain and a place little known. Most people, explained one resident, think it's "a weather forecast or a jumper".
In elegiac tones, the programme took a sonic journey through the island's history, swirling round the issue of ﬁsh stocks like an angry sea. What's been done to the ocean, through over-ﬁshing, said another resident, "is like somebody going through the Scottish highlands ploughing up the moorlands every week". But because the damage here is underwater, "nobody sees that, nobody reacts."
The delight of this feature was the melding of elements: word and song, the buﬀeting wind, the sea, the sound of sheep and hungry seabirds. We heard about "intriguing recipes for ﬁsh livers or stuﬀed ﬁsh heads", and were treated to a poem full of ﬁshy alliteration ("halibut hooks"). Everything in Jessica Isaac's ﬁne production swept into everything else, and like the ocean, it had a bewitching range of moods. But some things on Fair Isle are constant. "You can taste the salt all the time," we learned, "you can hear the sea all the time."