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Occasional posts on subjects including field recording, London history and literature, other websites worth looking at, articles in the press, and news of sound-related events.

27 January 2010

Notting Hill Carnival 1984

CAMERON McNALL FROM Los Angeles has very kindly uploaded some recordings of his made in London back in 1984. There’s a nice one of the Chelsea vs Liverpool match, with some great crowd noises and atmosphere. If the Chelsea fans sound happy, it’s because their team’s busy beating Liverpool, final score 3:1.

A short slice of London pub life in Notting Hill during the Carnival was captured as well. You’d be less likely to hear such voices and conservation around there now. The Carnival has attracted a much more cosmopolitan audience and some of the pubs have been reinvented as bars with mysterious single-word names.

Two recordings stand out as particularly good. This, at just under three minutes long, features a DJ playing his set somewhere among the crowds:


Cameron is keen to know what’s being played, so if anyone reading this knows, please leave a comment below. The next one weighs in at just over thirteen minutes and it’s a fantastic recording of some musicians jamming in a park – could it have been Meanwhile Gardens?


Would you hear music quite like that at the Carnival today? I only go about once a decade, not liking very dense crowds much, so I’m not qualified to spot many changes over the years. But there does seem to be a lot more high-profile corporate sponsorship compared to when sound systems might get a helping hand from small Caribbean-run businesses like Duke Cars in Brockley.

So many thanks to Cameron for those, and remember, uploading your London sounds to the Survey DropBox only takes a bit of this – takka-tak-tak – on your keyboard. Also, have a look at Cameron’s Electroland website to see some wonderful light sculptures and installations.

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