Schizophonia


There’s always the sound of some work being done in this city. In the centre it’s the far reaching sounds of construction; in the lanes it’s the smaller sounds of domestic industry: the most common being various forms of haberdashery, cobbling, shoe cleaning, butchery and key cutting.

With the exception of key cutting, all these sounds are human generated and as such have their own rhythms and play against each other – from the ‘tap-tap’ of the cobbler to the soft whirr of the treadle sewing machine. All these smaller sounds dissolve into the soundscape as they sporadically start and stop and travel no further to round the next corner. It’s the same for the market traders – although they continually shout out their wares, their voices do not actually carry too far. As one climbs the steps, however, from the harbour area to the commercial centre it is the metallic clang and grind of the building industry that gradually impose their presence. Although not always visible, these sounds travel to places where they don’t physically belong.

There is also something else with these sounds. Some have the feeling of ‘permanence’, like they have always been there, in some form or other; whilst others sound much more of-the-moment, and soon-to-be-passing. Thankfully it is the louder sounds whose urgency implies that they will soon be moving on….

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