Sound Diary

Today, January 2022, I stumbled upon this in my archives, while looking for something to read at a forthcoming poetry evening. Some people will recognise these places and the time in our life. While I read it I realise it must be one complete block of text and not paragraphs.

Below it are some images of our lives from that time.

Sound Diary 18th September 2014

I am sleeping in the study at the moment on a fold out sofa. This is due to a rapid construction project happening between our apartment window and the ocean. I took a photo at the start of our residency of the view from the window, the uninterrupted horizon caught between two man-made megaliths, excitement mixed with the overhanging understanding that in time, the view would be obscured.
I had no idea that the doozers as I consider the workers to be (sic. Fraggle Rock) would be clashing metal rods, scrubbing with high powered water jets and moving immense blocks of concrete all night a month later as they moved up to the 8th and 10th floor. Not even half way.
I meditated after waking Chris up, we’ve been together so long now, we know each other well. i say hey babe, a few words flying into the morning air before I sit for ten minutes in silence only the sound of my breathing in focus and the chitterchatter of thoughts that slowly settle, as mud does in water, they sink to the bottom and everything is clear and still for that moment.
In the shower I conceive of a sound diary. I am already dreading the noise of the studio a shared space where people working with their hands are free to think. It’s very hard to write a line or digest a line of someone else’s writing up there.
So I focus on the water wondering what I would write about this moment if I were to start such a diary. I can hear three types of water, one spraying from the shower head, one hitting my shoulders, another falling from my body in different rivulets and the other hitting the water on the floor of the bath. I know there’s another sound of the water going down the drain but don’t have time or the inclination to think about it. The morning time it’s important to harness all the good feelings otherwise doubt fills your day like a self-fulfilling prophecy.
As I’m dressing I remember words from the night before. Someone asked me a question in response to my question “Why, did you study music in India?” and I replied “No, I just wanted to see how aligned we were in our experiences.” I think I remember that because as we have this exchange someone was listening, and smiles at my response. There’s a whole line of thought about how being observed validifies a thing in this day and age, but we can’t go there now. I also hear and remember my friend’s smile as I refer her to someone I am talking to, she is over the lady’s shoulder. That’s two smiles I remember so far… But back to the morning we have a loud conversation up and down the echoing hallway. There’s stress in our minds about where we are and where we are going and who we are answering to. in the lift there is silence, we skit around the free European films on show this month in Dubai, prompted by the silent but still invasive Elevision, a screen which displays – and possibly watches us in the lift, but the chat is the same as silence, little actual penetrating discussion, just surface level chit chat. Two kids at the bottom, I coo one of them into making reciprocal noises and dancing for us she steps into the lift.
In the sweltering, subterranean car park there’s the constant noise of building; the sound of high pressured water used on some building face, the rubbish chutes make an immense racket, unlike anything I’ve heard of before. I am thinking about Djing and getting some decks, the music so far in Dubai’s dancing scene has been really bland.
In the car we listen to tracks from the laptop, we’d been using CDs but they scratch so easily! Also we’ve not had time to burn new ones so are desperate to hear more varied stuff. I hope to do another mix at the weekend for Free Lab Radio my radio show, these will go well in there. The car sound system is good, it’s enlivening to hear the music clear on so many frequencies. As we enter Nad Le Sheba, the quiet becomes apparent, soon we will turn off the racecourse highway, and I’ll drop the window as I often do so we can hear the nature. It’s so green at Nad el Sheba, there’s lots of wildlife. I wonder what the flamingo park sounds like. It’s been too hot to go until now, I resolve to go there with a recorder and observe it. We stop for second and Chris thinks the cicadas are an industrial sound I challenge him to tell me what kind of industrial sound: electricity? High pressure water jets? But it’s coming from the tree tops. Here, birds and insects reign the airwaves. It’s us who bring industry with us in our minds, conditioned by the city.

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