Twenty-Eight Empty Fields #20 : Upton Recreation Ground

Recreation Grounds, Playing Fields and Village Greens have fallen silent – football isn’t happening. A twenty-eight day suspension is in place as part of measures to reduce the incidence of Covid-19. On each of the twenty-eight days I will be visiting a football pitch and recording the sounding absence of football.

Upton Recreation Ground

Twenty-Eight Empty Fields #09 : East hendred Sports Ground

Recreation Grounds, Playing Fields and Village Greens have fallen silent – football isn’t happening. A twenty-eight day suspension is in place as part of measures to reduce the incidence of Covid-19. On each of the twenty-eight days I will be visiting a football pitch and recording the sounding absence of football.

East Hendred Sports Ground

Twenty-Eight Empty Fields #01 : Bodkins Playing Field, Long Wittenham

Recreation Grounds, Playing Fields and Village Greens have fallen silent – football isn’t happening. A twenty-eight day suspension is in place as part of measures to reduce the incidence of Covid-19. On each of the twenty-eight days I will be visiting a football pitch and recording the sounding absence of football.

Bodkins Playing Field, Long Wittenham

Distal Bodies 53.6dBSPL (LAeq)

Woodcote Village Green

Location: Village Green, Woodcote, Oxfordshire, UK

Date: 18th September 2020

Time: 08:57 – 09:12

Weather: Sunny, with a moderate breeze

Temperature: 15oC

Average Sound Level: 53.6dBSPL (LAeq)

Woodcote Village Green

Distal Bodies 51.9dBSPL (LAeq)

Woodcote Village Green

Location: Village Green, Woodcote, Oxfordshire, UK

Date: 12th June 2020

Time: 08:44 – 08:59

Weather: Sunny intervals and a moderate breeze

Temperature: 17oC

Average Sound Level: 51.9dBSPL (LAeq)

Woodcote Village Green

Distal Bodies 46.6dBSPL (LAeq)

Location: Village Green, Woodcote, Oxfordshire, UK

Date: 8th June 2020

Time: 09:01 – 09:16

Weather: Sunny patches light cloud with a gentle breeze

Temperature: 13oC

Average Sound Level: 46.6dBSPL (LAeq)

Woodcote Village Green

Aligning and calibrating the sound meter, I stroll to the bench, stopping briefly to say hello to mums I know from the school run. The sounds of young children and their carers have returned with some force today, enlivening the air with chatter, squeals of laughter and the occasional cry of pain. Like the library, pubs, community centre and churches, the schools bring the community together, reinstating routines and regularity that structure the soundscape and encourage the conversations that connect us with neighbours. In a similar way, sitting on this park bench at the same time every morning surrounded by recording paraphernalia has provided a consistency and conspicuousness that facilitates conversation. Dog walkers understand this. The connections that bind community seem to be built upon this sharing and structuring of time and space.

With the school run over, I am left to ponder the contrast of this structured connection with my experience of listening to online communities, notably on social media, where I carefully maintain relations with two distinct pools of people. There are those that currently shout “Ginger Lives Matter”, share sounds of violence, looting, rioting, alongside speeches listing the past criminal acts of George Floyd. Then, there are those that depict Nigel Farage sobbing at the fall of Edward Colston’s statue, placards screaming ‘White Silence is Compliance’ and endless soundscapes of chants and peaceful protest. Neither seem aware of the others existence and when they occasionally do meet, angry exchanges hammered out on keyboards, have them retreating to recuperate amidst the familiar voices of like minds. As such, social distancing has been developing apace for many years now, nurtured by preferences and algorithms. The voices listened to online are largely our ‘heavy rotation’ playlist, personalised, portable and available to stream at almost any time we choose. In contrast, the public playlist provided by the soundscape of the village green, is on shuffle, added to by others, available only at given times to experience together with those who share the space with us.

Hearing faint, awkward footsteps in my headphones, my train of thought is broken. I look up to see a friend, wide grin, tiptoeing past the microphones in jest.

Woodcote Village Green

June 7th

Somewhere near a field in Oxfordshire

I made this recording on Sunday 7th June:

07062020

At daybreak, my face still turned to the wall, and before I had seen above the big window-curtains what tone the first streaks of light assumed, I could already tell what the weather was like. The first sounds from the street had told me, according to weather they came to my ears deadened and distorted by the moisture of the atmosphere or quivering like arrows in the resonant, empty expanses of a spacious, frosty, pure morning; as soon as I heard the rumble of the first tramcar, I could tell whether it was sodden with rain or setting forth into the blue.

Marcel Proust The Captive (1925)

Leaning out of an upstairs window I can hear the sound of hedgerow birds, chickens running in one of the nearby gardens; a football bouncing on a paving slab and then being kicked into the shrubbery; a lone car heading West on the A4130 sounding the asphalt; a Red Kite circling overhead. I lean out further, listening into the distance, into the future, waiting for the tide of mechanised sound to return, for the drone of tyres on asphalt, not the phasing passage of a single car, but the sweeping tide of traffic sound flooding across fields, down lanes, through dense woodland. Perhaps it is still here, cars pass in groups, the air vibrates, the X2 pauses at the bus stop. Covid 19 has transformed our sounding environment, but how much is that transformation felt in any one place, in a place on the periphery of the situation? Can I hear it from my window? Is it evident in my everyday? And when will the tide of sound turn? and when it does turn how will we feel about it? As the air begins to vibrate with the phasing of distant jets will we want to step back or will we embrace the return to the normative sounding of the world? The soundscape is ambivalent. It represents the reduction of pollutants in the atmosphere but also signals the absence of loved ones. The temporary absence of friends but also the permanent absence of those who have lost their lives. This is a soundscape of hope and a soundscape of loss. It is a soundscape of a brighter future, one where listening to the world is part of the decision-making process we undertake when we chose to travel or not to travel; but it is also a soundscape of a brighter past, a past where now lost loved ones were still with us, where we could hear the sounds of their voices vibrating in the air and not just in memory.

Distal Bodies 59.9dBSPL (LAeq)

Woodcote Village Green

Location: Village Green, Woodcote, Oxfordshire, UK

Date: 5th June 2020

Time: 09:00 – 09:15

Weather: Sunny, light cloud with a strong breeze

Temperature: 12oC

Average Sound Level: 59.9dBSPL (LAeq)

Woodcote Village Green

#22 It’s still in! Finish!

(Ashendon Playing Fields)

 

The Get Rid! advent calendar returns to Sound Diaries this December with twenty four sounds of 24″ duration from our growing archive of audio documentation of grassroots football.

Expect last-gasp equalisers; feral goal celebrations; baffling explanations of the offside law; erratic grass mowing; overwrought full-backs; the diesel-powered tremolo of the floodlight generator; goalkeepers making it up as they go along; nothing happening at all and a lot of sending it long!

Get up! Get on the spillage!

Visit the Get Rid! archive on RADAR here, take a look at the blog, or get a copy of the book and cassette.

#16 Football not happening

(St.Genies)

 

The Get Rid! advent calendar returns to Sound Diaries this December with twenty four sounds of 24″ duration from our growing archive of audio documentation of grassroots football.

Expect last-gasp equalisers; feral goal celebrations; baffling explanations of the offside law; erratic grass mowing; overwrought full-backs; the diesel-powered tremolo of the floodlight generator; goalkeepers making it up as they go along; nothing happening at all and a lot of sending it long!

Get up! Get on the spillage!

Visit the Get Rid! archive on RADAR here, take a look at the blog, or get a copy of the book and cassette.