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.

09 July 2012

Motorcycle Wall of Death

SUNDAY BEFORE LAST I went to see and hear the Wall of Death motorcycle stunt attraction at Belair Park in Dulwich. It was part of Carter’s Steam Fair, which makes a point of featuring old-style fairground rides.

The Wall of Death has to be one of the best things you’re likely to witness at a fairground. It uses a wooden barrel-like structure perhaps 30 feet/10 meters or more in diameter. The top is open to allow spectators to watch the action inside as the motorcyclists circle and pick up enough speed to ride along the walls at right angles to the ground.

Here’s what it sounded like:

It’s the first recording on the site which I’ve applied dynamics to. 3:1 compression starting at -12dB was selected in Sound Forge and it brings up the voices of the spectators and performers. A lot of people don’t like the increasingly widespread use of dynamic range compression in music, but in this case I think it makes the recording sound more like how I remember the event.

This photograph of a Wall of Death stunt rider is by the Flickr contributor SeaDave and is reproduced here under the terms of its Creative Commons CC BY 2.0 licence:

Wall of Death photo by SeaDave

If you want to check out the Wall of Death for yourself, then you can visit Carter’s Steam Fair at Clissold Park this coming weekend, July the 14th and 15th, or at Boxmoor Common in Hemel Hempstead on July the 20th through to the 22nd.