Street life 2017

An array of daytime recordings made along street markets and other gathering-places which are pedestrianised by official design or unofficial habit. Playback of each recording is synced to a simple animation plotting the route taken.

Brick Lane and Sclater Street 6:00

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Time, date and weather: 10.30 am, Sunday 10th September 2017. Partly overcast, 16°C, wind 12 mph.

Description: Starting at the junction of Sclater Street and Bethnal Green Road. Noise of traffic on Bethnal Green Road; voices of passersby; footsteps; air conditioning hum from a new building on the north side of Sclater Street; clatter of a market stall being set up; stallholders call out and talk to one another; recorded music from a stall; rustle of carrier bags; electronic bird twittering from a stall selling toys; hubbub of voices in the small flea market on the south side of Sclater Street; rattle of wheeled luggage; music from food stalls on Brick Lane; airplane drone; an Overground train crosses the railway bridge spanning Brick Lane; generator noise and recorded music from food stalls; the market thins and grows quieter south of the junction with Taylor's Yard.

Comments: Compare this recording with the one I made in Brick Lane in 2008 of market traders' cries. The voices in the earlier recording were gathered over a 25-minute period, again on a Sunday morning at around the same time, taking in Sclater Street and parts of Brick Lane and Cheshire Street. The area now sounds much more subdued and this is partly because there are just fewer open-air stalls. While making the 2017 recording I spotted only two stalls in Cheshire Street between Blackman's shoe shop and the junction with Brick Lane. It didn't seem worth bothering to record along there. Also, the old area of waste ground on the north side of Sclater Street which was occupied by stalls has been built over since 2008. The whole character of Brick Lane has changed greatly since I began visiting the market as a teenager in the early 1980s, becoming more and more oriented towards tourists and affluent consumers.