Goodbye Twenty Twenty #2 : Leaning out of an upstairs window

Everyday sound has had a curious and extraordinary year in the midst of some of the toughest of times. Amongst the sounding memories we have of the last eleven months is the shuffle of papers, hushed voices and birdsong on the live feed from the Rose Garden at number ten Downing Street as journalists waited for Dominic Cummings to make a statement about his visit to Barnard Castle; the sound of rain falling on the turf at Elland Road, home of Leeds United, audible only because there was no crowd, no sound in the stadium other than the sporadic shouting of the players and coaches and the falling rain; the still quiet of the fields alongside the A34 usually saturated with the deafening sound-making of tyres on asphalt but during the first lockdown in England filled instead with the sound of birdsong and children playing.

Contributor: Paul Whitty

Location: Brightwell-cum-Sotwell (Latitude 51.615220 Longitude -1.158860)

Time and Date: 09.00 23042020


On April 23rd this year, during the first lockdown in England I began to document the sounds I could hear from my bedroom window each morning with a view to documenting the slow changes in the soundscape that the gradual easing of the lockdown would bring. The A4130 which runs East to West just North of the village usually delivers a constant white noise drone of tyres on asphalt. In this recording, however, you can hear the sound from the road dissipating completely on a number of occasions revealing the more delicate, slight and ephemeral sounds beneath. The sound of football being played in the garden is more detailed and intense than it would be if the usual wash of tyres on asphalt was at normative levels; and it is possible to hear the hushed sounding of a borrowed Ergo Rowing Machine being operated by one of my sons in the garage which blends with the slow phasing of the sounds from the A4130.

Somewhere near a field in Oxfordshire

You can read more about this project and listen to the other ninety-six daily recordings here.