Why do I want to participate?
Living in a noisy part of a noisy city, I am hoping this project will help me appreciate the sounds around me that I usually take for granted.
Listening to one of my favourite songs, ‘Choke and Fly’ by Plaid, as a constant looping soundtrack to the day, made me realise how much I take it, and portable music in general, for granted. Not having the dubious luxury of variety and having to concentrate solely on one piece of music was illuminating. It became better with repeated listens, I realised why I enjoyed it so much. It opened out and expanded rather than, as I had expected, closing and becoming over-familiar.
The track even had a practical use as a unit of measurement: it is, for instance, 8.5 CaFs from my front door to work; pasta boils in 1.25 CaFs. It has also, as I type this, soundtracked a muted Tom Hanks smashing one of his teeth out with an ice skate.
Most significantly, it has invaded my thoughts and surroundings; the pavements of Stockwell, the bricks of Pimlico and the wind swept void of Vauxhall Bridge in London will now forever be associated with the never ending drums and floating bloops of ‘Choke and Fly’.
The pub, a meeting place full of buzzing noise, is, if not the main pulse of this city, at least a major artery. This particular pub is The Marquis of Granby in Westminster, London; conveniently situated near a bigger, grander pulse: the pulse of power and government, itself full of noise and argument. Debates of national and local importance replacing those of personal and small group interaction.
A busy pub, this one merely being an example, echoes with the noise of everyday lives represented in a collective roar of conversation, increasing in volume with the intake of alcohol. This mingles with the clink of glasses, the scraping of chairs, the bass grumble of passing traffic, the pounding of inane pop music, the clatter of cash registers: a comforting, clamouring murmur.
Sometimes individual details emerge: a shouted greeting; a blokey roar, a weird unbridled laugh. A walk across the room shifts emphasis and conversations emerge: relationship problems, bad news, good news, aggression, declarations of affection, surreal diatribes. This is the pulse of social glue, the beats that accumulate into the rhythm of lives; an ever-changing, shifting, vital noise.