Wednesday, September 29, 2010
The Sounds of the UK
The screech of the metro (or "tube") rails, especially around corners. This sound makes me feel more nervous about being suspended on such narrow tracks, under the mass of earth that supports the roaring city above. I can hear the cars rattle. Click, click, click. It's the sound of my own motion, rushing headlong. At the stops, the sound of an oncoming train makes me squint down the tunnel's dark hole even before the headlight has rounded the turn into the station.
On the same walk, an eight boat goes streaking past, the Oxford rowers pulling their oars in unison. And I hear them chanting from across the water, stroke by stroke. In. Out. I can't make out the words, but I stand and watch them, listening until the sound fades at several hundred yards. When other boats go by I can hear the cox's voice. Now I see what people mean when they say sound carries over water.
And the tang of British accents, of course. More on that another time.