Bourbonese Qualk 1983-1986

Bourbonese Qualk 1983-1986

It’s taken a while but, the first of a series of official re-releases of Bourbonese Qualk archive material comes out in a few weeks on the Berlin based Mannequin Label. ‘Bourbonese Qualk 1983-1986’ not surprisingly, is a compilation of tracks taken from the first five albums during the early Crab/Stanza/Gilbert period of 1983-86 and will be available as a Vinyl LP and CD.

Track listing is as follows:

Bourbonese Qualk 1983-1986

  • 1. ‘Dream Decade’ Originally released in 1987 on the ‘Bourbonese Qualk’ LP
  • 2. ‘Born Left Hearted’ Originally released in 1986 on the ‘Preparing for Power’ LP
  • 3. ‘Pogrom ‘ Originally released in 1986 on the ‘The Spike’ LP
  • 4. ‘Soft City’ Originally released in 1986 on the ‘Preparing for Power’ LP
    5. ‘Headstop’ Originally released in 1984 on the ‘Hope’ LP
  • 6. ‘Gag’ Originally released in 1984 on the ‘Hope’ LP
  • 7. ‘Outcry’ Originally released in 1986 on the ‘Preparing for Power’ LP
  • 8. ‘Return To Order’ Originally released on the ‘Preparing for Power’ LP 1986
  • 9. ‘Confrontation’ Originally released in 1986 on the ‘Preparing for Power’ LP
  • 10. ‘In-flux’ Originally released in 1986 on the ‘The Spike’ LP
  • 11. ‘Qualk Street’ Originally released in 1983 on the ‘Laughing Afternoon’ LP
  • 12. ‘Backlash’ Originally released in 1986 on the ‘Preparing for Power’ LP
  • 13. ‘Sweat it 0ut’ Originally released in 1987 on the ‘Bourbonese Qualk’ LP New
  • 14. ‘There is No Night’ Originally released in 1984 on the ‘Hope’ LP
  • 15. ‘God With Us’ Originally released in 1983 on the ‘Laughing Afternoon’ LP
  • 16. ‘Blood Orange Bargain Day’ Originally released in 1983 on the ‘Laughing Afternoon’ LP
  • 17. ‘Shutdown’ Originally released in 1986 on the ‘The Spike’ LP
  • 18. ‘Invocation’ Originally released in 1984 on the ‘Hope’ LP
  • 19. ‘To Hell With The Consequences’ Originally released in 1983 on the ‘Laughing Afternoon’
  • 20. ‘Erector’ Originally released on the ‘Hope’ LP
  • 21. ‘Black Madonna’ Originally released in 1984 on the ‘Hope’ LP
  • 22. ‘Suburb City’ Originally released on the ‘The Spike’ LP
  • 23. ‘Workover’ Originally released in 1987 on the ‘Bourbonese Qualk’ LP
  • 24. ‘Deadbeat’ Originally released in 1986 on the ‘The Spike’ LP
  • 25. ‘Insurrection’ Originally released in 1986 on the ‘Preparing for Power’ LP
  • 26. ‘This Is The Enemy’ Originally released in 1987 on the ‘Bourbonese Qualk’ LP

The tracks were chosen by Alessandro at Mannequin to focus, I think, on the more electro-minimal, verging on ‘pop’ style. Not the choice I would have made! – I find my early, er, singing, too awkward and painful to listen to, but, it does seem to be what BQ have become ‘known for’ so who am I to argue?

You can get it here:

http://www.mannequinrecords.com/

watch this space [   ] for more re-release news.

 

thatcher_on_acid

With the current beatification and media frenzy over the iron lady reaching Thatchuration point (I’ve been waiting for years to use that one) I thought it would be a good time to publish my own tale of direct disrespect of the Milk Snatcher. I’m being purposefully vague about the details to avoid self-incrimination but apart from that this is a factual account.

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At 3pm on Sunday 15th May the All London Anarchist Revolutionary Movement (ALARM) was born amidst beery cheers in a crowded function room above the Calthorpe Arms pub. The diverse group of eighty or so Anarchist and Libertarian Socialists (including myself and the sound asleep 1.5 yr old Finn) spent the next two hours debating organisational and constitutional issues in an atmosphere more redolent of the W.I. than a revolutionary group. Representatives of London boroughs were nominated and selected, informal communication networks built and, due to the exertions of such a prolonged labour, the debate on the thorny issue of a political manifesto was postponed until next Sunday (at the Cock Tavern, Euston).

ALARM is an opportunity to focus the resurgence of interest in Anarchism that has surfaced here over the last six months. It should provide a cohesive and active confrontational force in opposition to the ongoing Tory austerity programme and the corporatist state. It should become a platform for collective action that goes beyond just ‘fucking things up’ but provide real-word examples of practical anarchism in housing, education, work, healthcare etc.

Coming soon: ALARM website, blog and contact information

UK Police protest at pay cuts, London 2008

Police Comment: Dec 13th 2010

“…These idiots (the protesters) have all the answers, all too ready to mouth off to any passing journo or camera crew, filling our screens with pity-me martyrdom. Actually, life is totally unfair from cradle to grave… the revolting yoof do not have a constant worry about starvation, civil war, sky high infant mortality or rampant disease. Most people alive today do. So, students, if you want to go to college, get a job so you can pay your bills – just like the rest of us. If not, take out a loan and live with debt – just like the rest of us.”

Police comment on  http://inspectorgadget.wordpress.com Police blog

Police Comment. March 3rd 2011 – after  Home Secretary Theresa May announces cuts in Police spending

“We are in for a fight, this is a fight that we can win. Honesty, Integrity and Fairness is key. Miss May and Nick Herbert watch out for the shit storm that is coming your way”

Police comment on http://www.policeoracle.com Police blog

The coalition government’s agenda is  to implement their neo-con ideology as rapidly as possible; to make desperate but irreversible changes to our social infrastructure while they are still in power. Theresa May’s (UK Home secretary) latest round of public sector cuts is aimed at, your-friends-and-mine, the police. Already stretched and suffering low morale these cuts will inevitably further impact on the effectiveness of the force – an interesting scenario for the anti-cuts/anti-government movement and one that seems to deliberately catalyse opinion – reminiscent of Thatchers class-centric tactics during the 1980s. Discussions from current police forums (that wouldn’t look out of place on ‘Class War‘) debate internal tactics at combating the cuts including work-to-rule, mass-sick days, strikes and demonstrations – even suggesting jumping sides and joining the anti-cuts march on the 26th:

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“The people whose jobs were destroyed were in no way responsible for the excesses of the financial sector and the crisis that followed…I’m surprised the real anger hasn’t been greater than it has.”

The Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King March 1st 2011

“Students, activists, agitators, stoners, scratters, scrotes. You will be hit with sticks and sent home to mummy. The rule of law will prevail, order will be restored, Winston will not be shamed, my ancestors will not have died to have allowed you to bring shame on England. You will get up early, get out of your bed, seek work and contribute to the greater good.”

Post on Inspector Gadget Police blog December 2010

“Following the student protests in London on 10 November 2010, where greater numbers gathered than had been anticipated by police, and the incursion of the Conservative Party headquarters in Millbank, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson stated that ‘the game has changed’3. The character of protest is evolving in terms of: the numbers involved; spread across the country; associated sporadic violence; disruption caused; short notice or no-notice events, and swift changes in protest tactics. After a few, relatively quiet years, this is a new period of public order policing – one which is faster moving and more unpredictable. Foreseeing the character of events will prove more difficult and, in some cases, their nature and mood will only become apparent on the day.”

HMIC feb 2011 Adapting to Protest and Nurturing the British Model of Policing

Public Order tactics used by the British Police have their origin in colonial rule. From that starting point they were refined through the experience of Northern Ireland and the riots of the 1980’s to form today’s set of Quasi-military tactics where lines of police attempt to control, contain or disperse crowds of protesters. The rise of a spontaneous, decentralised protest movement and increased anger directed at the police set against a deepening economic crisis has led to calls for a tougher approach to public ‘disorder’. The demonstration against the coalition governments economic policy on March 26th will be the biggest showdown London has seen since the poll tax riot of 1989 and will be a defining moment in how the state polices mass dissent. The following is a user’s guide to understanding police tactics and capabilities culled mostly from police sources, specifically “ACPO Manual of Guidance on KEEPING THE PEACE” 2010 as well as various police blogs and forums:

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Thoughts on a riot

December 7, 2010

This Thursday’s anti cuts/student fees/con-dem government demonstration (9th Dec 2010) should be an interesting triangulation of over-excited newly politicised youth, a scattering of the pissed off middle classes and us, aging anarcho-troublemakers – the aim; to close down Parliament and force a crisis for the stumbling Tory lead coalition. As usual the demonstrators will offer themselves up as cannon fodder to the well armed riot cops itching for the fight they have been waiting for:

“I wish we could beat the crap out of you with batons and snatch squads you idiots. If it was not for that human rights act crap. We should be able to quell your anachistic (sic) antics you foolish individuals!”

A serving police officer

Afterwards the rightwing press will be  full of images of youth trashing police vans and the internet full of outraged lefties complaining about police brutality. Is it really a surprise to anyone anymore that the police are brutal? They are there to protect the status quo at any cost – we are there to change it…if you think the cops are brutal, wait until they bring the military in*.

Tactics of the day should be: keep mobile and avoid kettling. Act in autonomous small informal units – select targets and move on.

Good luck.

* Referring to the Poll Tax riot of  1989 “the police had armed officers as part of the diplomatic protection force in South Africa house, but were anxious to keep them away from the trouble”

From the Peasant’s Revolt to the Boston Tea Party, Taxation has historically been a defining issue in the struggle of people against imposed government. The poll tax riot of March 31 1990 was ‘the most serious public order disturbance for over a century’ and the culmination of months of anti-poll tax protests and riots in the north of England and Scotland (where the tax had been ‘tested’ on the strongly anti-Conservative Scots) .

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leaflet

“As capitalism collapses around us in the market of ideas the anarchist pound is bouyant  and the 28th London Anarchist Bookfair is back at Queen Mary College in London’s East End…”

for more details: http://www.anarchistbookfair.org/

This is a video i took after gaining access to the RBS Building (Royal Bank Of Scotland – notorious for incompetence, hubris and corruption) with twenty or so other individuals. The offices were quickly set alight and i made my escape up the fire escape persued by a number of portly riot cops, who, encumbered by shields, batons, armour, helmets and excessive body fat took several minutes to make the ascent. The short fideo clip shows the banking district of the City Of London occupied by massed anarchist hordes.

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where’s the riot?

March 31, 2009

In advance of  tomorrows events: a ‘print-out and keep’ map of all the happenings c/0 Indymedia:

g20_map_02

see you’s there…

riot_london

“Anyone who was working in the City in 1999 will remember how awful those riots were. There were riot police banked outside my office and all the tube stations closed so I had to walk for miles through what was effectively a war zone. It was absolutely terrifying and I’m afraid I can’t believe there is anything more behind it than a desire to cause as much damage and mayhem as possible. The mindset is no better than that of football hooligans, if not worse. I for one will be taking April 1st as a day’s holiday rather than risk putting myself through anything like that again.”

London Evening Standard march 2009

 

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how to be invisible

January 11, 2009

surv3

I’ve always been of the opinion that people over concerned with surveillance and data security are displaying the first stages of clinical paranoia. It’s well known, for those that care to look, that the UK police and military have in their possession technology which enables them to track individuals movements visually and electronically (think of google maps ++), trace your behaviour (spending, travelling, health, political persuasion), listen in to conversations and so-on – our only real defence against this intrusion has been the plod/MOD’s incompetence at cross referencing and interpreting the mass of data they’ve so carefully collated.

Britain is one of the world’s most surveyed society; It is estimated (2002 figures) that the United Kingdom is watched by over 4.2 million CCTV cameras. This equates to one camera for every fourteen people; each UK subject is recorded on average by up to three hundred cameras a day. Surveillance has become part of our lives; we’ve become used to accepting surveillance as a shield against crime and terrorism, sacrificing our privacy for the apparent greater good. However a recent trend is the movement of commercial organisation into the field of surveillance and “dataveillance” – using similar unregulated techniques and technologies global corporations are starting to watch you. Is it time to get paranoid?

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Live series 2 cassette package
Live series 2 cassette package

 

To Londoners, The old Kent rd  has been for many years a byword for poverty; the cheapest, dismal brown coloured property on the monopoly board and in reality a grimy thoroughfare providing the boundary of two of the most neglected regions of London, Peckham and Bermondsey. Once the heartland of a solid white working class population the area was bombed close to complete destruction during the war and then rapidly rebuilt with monolithic high-rise housing estates which by the 1980s had begun to be abandoned and crumble.

In the cold winter of 1984 we – bourbonese qualk and crew – occupied the Ambulance station, an empty five story castle-like building on the Old Kent Road. Our ambition was to create a radical ‘cultural-political centre’ (though we would never have used that term) and a general base for our activities – performance space, recording studio and office for the Recloose organisation label –  in the middle of this piece of un-picturesque South East London. After lengthy renovation (removing 1 meter deep layers of dead pigeons, replacing piping, windows and tiles on the vertiginous roof) The top two stories were converted into artists studios, the middle storey our living quarters. The first floor was taken up as meeting space for anarchist groups, a free cafe and offices for the local squatters organisation, ‘S.N.O.W’ (who housed more people in 1985 than the local council). The ground floor was changed into a large performance space and bar as well as a recording studio, sculpture studios and print workshops.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Image: Street advert in Hoxton, London, displaying real-time decibel level. March 2008.

“Let us cross a great modern capital with our ears more alert than our eyes, and we will get enjoyment from distinguishing the eddying of water, air and gas in metal pipes, the grumbling of noises that breathe and pulse with indisputable animality, the palpitation of valves, the coming and going of pistons, the howl of mechanical saws, the jolting of a tram on its rails, the cracking of whips, the flapping of curtains and flags. We enjoy creating mental orchestrations of the crashing down of metal shop blinds, slamming doors, the hubbub and shuffling of crowds, the variety of din, from stations, railways, iron foundries, spinning wheels, printing works, electric power stations and underground railways.”

Luigi Russolo excerpt from “L’arte dei Rumori” 1913

Russolo’s eulogy to the sonic city was inspired by the urban clamour of turn of the century Milan.  “L’arte dei Rumori” betrays a fascination with novelty of noise, the signature of modernity and the promise of the future in the form of the industrial city. Russolo argued that music has reached a point where it can longer excite when pitted against the real world sonic complexity of new metropolis. In turn, this statement led to the formation of a new type of music based on machine inspired atonality and stochastic composition.

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Space Now

June 19, 2008

space studios

13 June – 26 July 2008

mon- fri 10-6pm, sat 12-6pm

SPACE celebrates 40 years with an exhibition selected by Caroline Douglas, Head of Arts Council Collections.

Axel Antas, Josh Baum, Amanda Benson, Anne Bristow, Chila Kumari Burman, Leigh Clarke, Julie Cockburn, Ben Cove, Richard Crawford, Layla Curtis, Deborah Dawkin, Natalie Dower, Paul Eachus, Nigel Ellis, Julia Farrer, John Frankland, Peter Fraser, James P. Graham, Paul Green , Mark Harris, Peter Hawksby, Claude Heath, Mustafa Hulusi, Jim Jack, Rannva Kunoy, Ann-Marie LeQuesne, Hew Locke, Camilla Lyon, Andrea Medjesi-Jones, Fiona Merchant, Natasha Morland, Jost Münster, Adriette Myburgh, Saskia Olde Wolbers, Laura Oldfield Ford, Peter Peri, Sarah Perritt, Joanna Price, Bridget Riley, Suzanne Roles, Pascal Rousson, Piers Secunda, Yinka Shonibare, Martin Shortis, DJ Simpson, Walid Siti, Aerial Sparks, Fergal Stapleton, Michael Stubbs, Anthony Sullivan, James Faure Walker, Mark Wallinger, Ben Washington, Jackson Webb, William Wright.

This selling show has been selected by Caroline Douglas who toured all our studios visiting 600 artists to select this rich and diverse group show. It celebrates the strength of London’s artistic & creative community, and demonstrates the value of studio provision to London’s competitive edge and position in the international art world. SPACE has played a key role in establishing this position and continues to underpin its success. SPACE NOW launches a fund-raising campaign to support future SPACE studio developments.

Location; Space triangle

The much anticipated Noise Maps version 2 was released by our favorite government agency, DEFRA, last week. This version includes a noise source filter (road, rail, industry and air) – which ‘kind of’ works – and day and night switch. The maps spread beyond London to ‘agglomerations’ of over 250,000 people…everyone else will have to wait until 2012  for round two  – or make do with pdf of ‘major roads’ and airports.

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Is it worth it?

January 30, 2008

penny
Next week i’m talking at a seminar discussing ‘the value of creativity’:

Economies of Value: A Seminar interrogating the roles, levels and definitions of value in media arts practice and partnerships.

SPACE, 129-131 Mare Street, Hackney, London E8 3RH

Tuesday 5 February
2008 10.30 am – 5 pm

Distributed South invites you to join us in a seminar which will examine issues of value and its measurement, paying particular reference to Media Arts sector and partnership working. We will focus on resource exchange and the value of research conducted by artists and organisations, through the development of work, residencies and placements.

Contributions from key economists in the field of cultural and creative management will enable us to look at systems that are being modelled to measure value in networks and groups. Alongside these systems, projects designed to focus on measuring value and exchange through social networking and information/resource exchange will demonstrate new methods of measurement

Economies of Value will be of interest to those working in the media, media arts, ICT and business people looking at new models of working.Like all events related to Distributed South it aims to move and inform policy in the media arts sector to drive forward new approaches to working and developing the field.

Some years ago we put the entire Bourbonese Qualk back catalogue online for anyone to download for free and do what they like with it. This wasn’t a Radiohead style marketing exercise but a statement of value – something is worth much more if it is free. Music has always been ‘free’ until it became fixed as a commodity i.e. when the gramophone was invented which triggered the notion of ownership, control and IP. Releasing records for us wasn’t a commercial exercise but a way of distributing our ideas and we’re sold as cheaply as possible (Crass’s ‘steal this record’ analogue equivalent of mp3 downloads).
Someone sent me a link to a discussion about the Radiohead campaign that mentioned our ‘give-away’ (making me feel worthy and smug):
“…as a follow-up example, bourbonese qualk put their entire catalog online for free a while back. i was ecstatic, since their stuff was very hard to find anyway. i DL’d all of it, and got hold of them to see what i could do in return. they asked for a donation to Médecins Sans Frontières rather than any payment to them. a few minutes later, MSF had $50 from me.”
Help yourself from here: http://www.bourbonesequalk.net/
…or all the albums from this single torrent file: http://www.mininova.org/get/763559

SE London 1986(Not really a sound from memory more the memory of an imagined sound…)

The ideal city is a city with mountains – Naples, Lisbon, Sarajevo, Phoenix Arizona even. The flat and claustrophobic city of London lacks this topological quality but tries to make up for it in the form of council tower blocks (not quite the vertical exuberance of Hong Kong or Shanghai but it will do…) and it was to these buildings that i was drawn in a skyward search to try and ‘understand’ the city and the London landscape.

In the early Eighties council housing was in chaos and these blocks had been more or less to fend for themselves; the original tenants had moved out (except for a few aged ” i’ll only leave here in a coffin” types identifiable by heavily armored front doors) leaving the run of the place to a colorful mix of smackheads, the smackhead’s drug dealers, ‘antisocial’ families and the dregs of the squatter population.

(a friend of mine who lived in the top flat of a fourty storey building, hacked a head sized hole through his bedroom wall so that when he was lying in bed he could remind himself that the only thing between him and the void was a thin layer of breeze blocks. His occupancy of the flat was cut short when a pirate radio station gang persuaded him to leave by dangling him out of the kitchen window…)

Access to the buildings was unrestricted, I spent happy hours exploring and climbing these imitation mountains – walking up the stairwells, climbing scaffolding or directly up the exterior of the building, balcony to balcony to sit, dangling my feet of the top. Much of the mid-period bourbonese qualk imagery derives from this architecture (not as commonly supposed an ‘industrial’ affectation but a search for the echo of a more rural landscape) as video, album covers, posters and photographs. But more and more the focus of my climbs became the attempt to record the fall from a high building; Sitting on the edge of the top of a tower block caused me an almost unstoppable physical urge to leap off – i was sure the falling sensation would be worth it, however brief. I decided to try and capture a simulation of falling by dropping microphones and video cameras off high buildings creating a series of short, very short, films and audio recordings (and smashed equipment). I never came close to matching the imagined sound, a sound which has to be experienced to be fully appreciated: in a short six seconds the sound of televisions, and children crying changing pitch though doppler distortion as i drop past the balconies, the noise of the city – traffic, car alarms, sirens fading as the range decreases to a single point of impact on a concrete surface bringing the short journey full circle from solid to void and back again.

Some tips on falling:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2004/may/20/thisweekssciencequestions2

http://www.wikihow.com/Survive-a-Long-Fall

Sounds From Memory #3: Riot.

December 12, 2007

The intention of these series of posts is to document sounds that have remained in memory. Not sounds that are particularly pleasant or trigger ‘Proustian Resonance’ but unique sounds that once heard are never forgotten (therefore impossible to reproduce or record). If i get enough – and please add your own – i’ll organise them into a top ten ‘mnemaudio’ chart.

poll tax riot london 1989Miles was the first casualty, and, I always maintain, the inspiration for the violence that took place at the Trafalgar Square Anti-Poll Tax protest in 1989. During what was an admittedly tense but peaceful sit down protest in front of Downing Street, Miles charged at the Police brandishing a metal pole. He was immediately floored, struck on the head by a brick thrown from the police lines*. Seconds later the police panicked and sent mounted riot squads charging into the unarmed protesters, this event ignited a day of fierce fighting in the centre of London. For six hours the police held protesters in the square: The sound that fixed in my memory is the combined roar of bottles and bricks being thrown, burning buildings, screams, police sirens, helicopters, horses, whistles and ambulances which, after six hours, merged into one high pitched continuous distorted scream. This noise stayed with me for weeks, day and night -a kind of hysterical tinnitus.

trafalgar square 1989

*I dragged miles to an ambulance which took him to hospital. A few hours later he discharged himself, concussed, dripping blood from a head wound he returned to the battle pressing home his assault on the forces of ‘law and order’.

noisemap
(Image: London Noise-map. The arrow points to my house)

” Noise can cause annoyance, interrupt conversation, disturb sleep and, in extreme conditions, cause physical damage to those affected. The types of noise that are experienced can be classified into some fairly broad categories. For example, occupational noise which is experienced at work, neighbour or neighbourhood noise and environmental (aka ambient) noise caused by transport and industry.”

My cousin does this – standing on a street corner all day in some bland suburb of London, microphone in hand, recording the average volume of environmental sound. The data is collected and projected over a London street map to form a graphic visualisation of the changing volumes throughout the city. this is part of DEFRA’s “National Ambient Noise Strategy” who’s aim is to provide us and ‘policy makers’ with a source of sound data for the whole of England.

The map, though fascinating, seems to me to be of little value because volume is not the only parameter in determining the annoyance factor of ‘noise’. Equally relevant are duration, repetition, pitch, timbre, time( the noise of the city animated over one day), and frequency. And, DEFRA assume that all noise is inherently annoying. My thesis is that the map should become a tourist map of London defined by it’s unique sound as much as by it’s geography, architecture and so-on. At the same time as capturing volume data, all other aspects of noise can be measured and visualised giving an invaluable and unique ongoing audio-visual symphony of London.

London is noise:For instance where i live in east London ( marked a dark brown on the map for ‘reasonably quiet’ ) is bathed in an ever present low volume but high pitched susurrus generated by traffic on the A12 – the sound spill from the motorway gives this area a unique feel and interestingly where the noise peters out, the social demographic radically changes. Time plays it’s part: in the morning the low almost inaudible mumbling of the underground trains at 6am in Whitechapel and the sounds of the first aeroplanes circling the city, a descending tone as they drop down to Heathrow (Sarah says the sound of the banking planes changes from summer to winter and that the winter sound she finds depressing – i had never noticed the difference). Each city has it’s own audio fingerprint: the time i spent in Lisboa had the backing sound of the Ponte 25 Abril (inaudible to the Lisboans), the sound of angry bees made by cars on the resonating bridge (i heard this sound again later in Oxford where the noise from the unusually corrugated surface of the a34, several miles away, drove my friend from his rented, supposedly tranquil rural bolthole). Hanoi is the scooter horn and the early morning rumble of a single advancing tidal wave of noise as the traffic en mass, enters the the sleeping city.

London Noise Map Link here