Listen out – the city speaks

posted in: London today | 0

No place stands alone by what you see. There’s a myriad of senses that delight. And the sounds of a city are just one part of the sensual jigsaw.

When you’re blind to the outside and just waking from sleep, the imagination takes over.

So what do we hear in our city centre fifth floor flat? Garden birds venture by once in a while. But here the seagulls and pigeons vie for attention.  In summer the seagulls win as their babies hatch on the rooftops and call for food around the clock.  And when the evening suns glances off their shiny, white backs as they swoop by at eye level there’s no better sight.

The noise that shouts ‘trouble’ is the sound of the local birds panicking for cover. This is when the hawk man comes around and lets loose his bird of prey to frighten off the pigeons. I can tell you, nothing beats seeing a hawk land in the window box.

Night time in the city is the sound of fancy bars and disco’s emptying and revellers heading home in the wee hours. The early morning traffic is the waking bell. This is a mix of taxis, delivery trucks, commuters in cars and on noisy motorbikes.

Then there’s the weekend clip clop sounds of the mounted police that drift up on lazy Sunday and counteract the busy weekday streets. They normally come in pairs. But the photograph above shows a parade we were treated to unexpectedly.

Boy cadet bands have a habit of taking to the streets early on a Saturday morning. This is when the occasional musical note floats high above the road. And in May, Covent Garden remembers the first Punch and Judy show that was performed in this country, as mentioned by Samuel Pepys‘s in his diary in May 1662. The event is marked by a brass band parading through the streets with stilt walkers.

On the Queen’s birthday we’re treated to a visual treat of Vulcans, Spitfires and other ancient planes on a fly past heading their way to the Mall and Buckingham Palace. The peacetime roar of the engines make you wonder how foreboding that sound would have been during war. The thrill for us is to see the planes fly low over the rooftops and then turn and see the end of their journey on the television. A truly stereo experience.