Sound section

Water flowing gently by;
A bridge opening (perhaps);
The sound of my footsteps as I start to walk;
Kittiwakes calling from their urban eyries;
Paving stones being scrubbed clean of the residues from yesterday’s excess;
The echo of sounds bouncing out of a covered alleyway;
My breath becoming more laboured as I walk up the valley-side;
The sound of others passing by;
Buses driving past the point where I would cross;
Market stall conversations or callers declaiming their ideologies secular and religious;
More buses and ever more people;
Hundreds of fragments of overheard conversations;
Shop-music booming;
Buskers, beckoners & blaggers;
Traffic again at the end of pedestrianisation;
The honk of an irate bus-driver;
Traffic diminishing;
More fragments, more academic in tone;
(Occasionally) the call of a misplaced duck;
Wind blowing between tall building;
A passing ambulance;
The hiss of a mobile espresso machine, transactions negotiated;
Traffic again;
The calls of skaters and the roll of their skates on concrete;
The echo of footsteps under the motorway;
Wind blowing through ornamental trees;
Children playing in a playground;
Grass rustling;
Cyclists passing;
Cattle ruminating;
Airplanes approaching;

A while ago, inspired by the field recordings on Framework, I thought it would be interesting to make an aural recording of a section through Newcastle, running from the quayside to the town moor. I wasn’t organised enough to find the time or the equipment. However, I’m in the middle of David Toop’s ‘Sinister Resonance‘ and that prompted the idea that I could write a hypothetical list of sounds encountered. (A bit like Georges Perec listing everything that passes whilst he’s sitting in a cafe one day, only this time both the world and I are on the move.) I like the idea that a particular configuration of sounds could be linked to a particular place: the line from quayside to cow-side seem to capture Newcastle.


About Bruce Davenport

Research associate at Newcastle University. Previously a museum educator and researcher.
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