For the newly opened wedding shop, the proprietor and I agreed that I would try and find some suitable ‘wedding’ sounds to represent their shop; however, I didn’t want to use his first suggestion of church organ music, nor was I keen on using any of my existing collection of different bell peels, as it is important to me that all the sounds for this installation actually come from where streetwaves is to be located. So, I have been waiting for St Michael’s Church (at the other end of the High Street) to have a wedding service so that I could record the bell ringing, and finally on Saturday I had my opportunity. At 4pm, I climbed the church tower to meet the six bell ringers (out of a possible eight) gathered for the occasion from St Michael’s and surrounding churches, before climbing further up to the bell chamber to set up my recording equipment.
As I have done this project it has once again confirmed how our soundscape reflects our changing times. Very rarely now are the sounds of our shopping experience related to the actual trade that any shop represents. These days, the predominant sounds are the schizophonic sounds of the radio, the 50Hz hum of electrical appliances and the sounds of commerce supplied by a beeping cash register. Even as I was up in the bell tower, it was apparent that the quintessentially English sound of peeling bells is also dying out as the pool of available bell ringers diminishes.