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.

Chapel Market, Islington 3:28

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Time, date and weather: 2.55 pm, Saturday 12th August 2017. Partly overcast, 21°C, wind 11 mph.

Description: Starting at the eastern end of the market by the junction with Liverpool Road. A stallholder talks with a friend; the rush of an air conditioning unit or fume extractor; faint music from a stall; voices of shoppers and traders; footsteps; rusttle of carrier bags; the market thins out and grows quieter a short distance west of the junction with Baron Street; a car door slams and another car drives away.

Comments: I first began visiting Chapel Market in the early 1980s. Then it was larger and noisier than today. The stalls extended a bit further westwards towards Penton Street and there were more cheap cafes along its length, as well as two pie-and-mash shops. One of them shut down many years ago; the other, M. Manze's, announced its impending closure in July 2017. In late 2016, two national newspapers reported how a residential landlord had complained to the council about the traders raising their cries, but this seemed to be an isolated complaint. Nonetheless, the market is subdued compared to twenty or thirty years ago, and it may be that the balance will eventually shift towards selling street food, where smell rather than sound is the main advertising medium.