Bridport & West Dorset News, Views, Videos & Curiosities

Chesil Beach? Turn left at The Angel, Islington

Pebbles on Chesil Beach, Dorset. Low tide with an incoming wave on a sunny August day. Looking towards the Isle of Portland which can be seen in the distance.

Chesil Beach, Dorset, looking towards the Isle of Portland - and roaring towards London. Photograph by Nigel Mykura, reused under Creative Commons Licence.

SO JUST where would you expect to hear the sound of waves crashing on stones along the Chesil Beach?

As questions go that might sound fairly daft. But there are two answers.

The one that might not immediately spring to the minds of Dorset residents is London’s Euston Road.

Yes, “the mighty roar of London’s traffic” is to be drowned out by the crashing of Dorset surf.

It is all the idea and work of one Bill Fontana, a ‘sound artist’. He has made a series of recordings of the incoming tide along the beach. He will then mix and edit these to be played through a series of speakers mounted on the building of the Wellcome Foundation in one of London’s busiest and noisiest thoroughfares.

This “experiment in perception” will show that “most people don’t pay any attention to the sounds around them,” explains Fontana. Who goes on to tell us that “to change the context in which you hear something, you change the meaning of it“.

Well, I would never argue with that – even if I understood it.

I suppose he might even consider the alternative.

Why not a string of speakers stretching from West Bexington to Portland carrying the sounds of heavy lorries rumbling, car horns tooting and motor bikes revving in a busy London street?

No, that would be silly!

Editor’s Note: The video is embedded – with thanks for making and sharing it – from WiredVideoUk’s channel on YouTube.