Remembering a crisis in sound

Lights streak by on a main road in east London.

FIELD RECORDING Remembering a crisis in sound Street recordings from the UK’s first coronavirus lockdown tell a tale of quietness, crisis, and the presence of absence. by Jay Richardson3rd April 2022 If you’ve seen a Hollywood disaster movie or two, you may have a sense of how they usually sound: loud. Some, like Earthquake (1974), […]

Forests go up, forests go down, but mostly down

A lit avenue outside Bethnal Green library

CLIMATE Forests go up, forests go down, but mostly down New woodland is an essential climate mitigation tool. So where is it? Urban UK forestry: a tree-lined avenue outside Bethnal Green Library in central-east London. Jay Richardson 3 April 2022 As climate issues go, woodland management is not sexy. In UK forestry, it’s an achingly […]

House price to wage ratio: Wealth fails to trickle down

House prices in London are now 13.65 times the average salary, putting the house price to wage ratio at an all-time high. Illustration: the sonification

OPINION House price to wage ratio: Wealth fails to trickle down Median house prices in England and Wales are now almost nine times the average salary, bringing the house price to wage ratio to an historic extreme. House prices in London are now 13.65 times the average salary, putting the house price to wage ratio […]

Traffic isn’t noise

Flowers spew out the exhaust pipe of a car

OPINION Traffic isn’t noise The way we conceive of traffic sounds reveals what we think of as worth hearing. by Jay Richardson 23 March 2022 Imagine you’re at an exhibition. There’s an installation on something like the Rochdale Co-op or trapezoids in postmodernist watercolours—it’s that kind of gallery. You step into a darkened room and […]

Thoughts on climate, feelings on safety

Thoughts on climate, feelings on safety: Skyscrapers hover precariously on clouds above the ocean

CLIMATE Thoughts on climate, feelings on safety “It doesn’t feel great to live on a cloud while the rest of the world goes under”: the feelings under the surface of climate safety by Jay Richardson 10 February 2022 If your friends say insightful things that you wish you’d written down, you’re not alone. I guess […]

London floods: On microphones and water

Water shoots from the tops of fossil fuel power station pipes in an allegory for the causes and effects of the 2021 London floods.

On microphones and water As rain spills into destruction during the summer 2021 London floods, the violence and disruption of the climate crisis is getting louder. Jay Richardson27 January 2022 Rain sounds good. Just as the crackling of a log fire—another staple of the sleep-sounds industrial complex—subconsciously reminds you of warmth, rain sounds speak of […]

The unique and mysterious life of a London city park

The unique and mysterious life of a London park It doesn’t look like a wild ecosystem, but point your ears at Weavers Fields and you might be surprised. Jay Richardson30 December 2021 The year is 1965. You’re walking on an open green where, only ten years ago, the houses that had survived London’s wartime bombing […]

The curious sound of the void

The curious sound of the void There’s a river in central London, but not the kind of watery soundscape you might have expected. Jay Richardson15 December 2021 On an ordinary Tuesday, I awoke at 6:15am (to my dog’s great surprise). I had a plan: to go down to the River Thames at Millennium Bridge and […]

Think older people have no stakes in the climate crisis? Think again.

Lights shine along Bethnal Green Road in East London.

OPINION Think older people have no stakes in the climate crisis? Think again. Jay Richardson 10 December 2021 The point of this year’s Health and Social Care Bill is to make social care less financially onerous for individuals. Allegedly. That would make a change. It also raises a question: if people are depleting too much […]