So that was September

Back in February when we began planning Sound Walk Sunday, (Sunday 1 September) little did we envisage how it would grow in popularity, although we did consider defining the Festival period as a few days either side of Sunday 1 September.  By June, with an invitation from the British Library to run an event on sound walks, we were already considering how to manage more than 120 contributions and 30 or more events.  With George Fort from Placecloud offering his platform for the whole of September, we took the decision to allow Sound Walk Sunday to morph into Sound Walk September. Even as the final weekend approached, we still had more than half a dozen events still to come.  Sound Walk September has reached out to sound artists and creatives in 41 countries and provided a promotional platform for more than 80 events, with more than 200 sound walks contributed to the directory.

Here is what one of our key contributors wrote about the experience – Hamish Sewell produces Soundtrails in remote parts of New South Wales, Australia:

Hamish here from Australia wanting to congratulate you on your amazing Sound Walk September effort. It was all quite odd and wonderful from our end. Out of 8 Soundtrails we had two pull out at last minute (one due to dangerous fires); we had one ‘fizzer’ (Goonoowigall Soundtrail – terrible communication all around and low numbers on the day); we had two very low key events (Armidale and Aboriginal Diggers): and we had two really successful SWS (Uralla and Nambour). But the best by far was Walgett Freedom Rides where we had up to 60 people with kids and dancers and chats with elders. Lots of energy and quite surprising. 

All in all it felt like a very constructive event and I know that many want to do it again, bigger and better, next year. So thanks again for all you hard work and organising. We had quite a bit of media coverage (one still to come this weekend I believe – though disappointingly, no national coverage) and everyone got the gist of what’s going on. All quite organic and great to be part of.

We would love it for Sound Walk September to become embedded in your calendar – and that maybe you too will try your hand at creating a sound walk and sharing it during September 2020.  And it is not too late, to glance through those sound walking pieces that have been made in 2019 and cast your vote on which you like best – voting closes this Friday, 4th October.

We have woven creative writing into Sound Walk September, by inviting people to take part in a Flash writing competition, in association with Placecloud, asking the public write a story in 250 words and under about a place that is special or significant to you.  We recognise that writing an engaging and complete story is not so easy when restricted to so few words.  Here’s an attempt by me (Andrew Stuck) to reveal a couple of gardens that are special places to me:

Let me tell you about a special place for me – a #mylandmark of hidden gardens.

As three lanes of traffic rush up to the Vauxhall gyrator along Harleyford Road drivers and passengers alike are unaware of nearby urban spaces that have been nurtured into gardens by local communities. Metres to the west, through pedestrian gate, not immediately obvious in the line of railings, you reach Harleyford Road community garden that in itself offers a variety of features and micro spaces to sit and contemplate. Follow meandering stepping stones through the garden and you reach the rear of the terraces that mark the garden’s boundary. There is a door propped open in one of the houses, and you can see along the corridor that there is a further doorway opening onto a square. Curious? As you walk through this house’s hallway you’re encountering one of London’s most charming and generous gifts – a right of way to Bonnington Square.

As you enter this somewhat cramped space made more so as you’re surrounded by narrow four storey terraced houses. The footway in front of you offers intriguing curiosities with little vignettes and flower beds. Walk on towards the deli on the far corner of Vauxhall Grove.  Just a little way off, over your shoulder, is the Bonnington café, serving food to derived from market waste from nearby Covent Garden, and turn into the garden beneath the sculpture of a giant hand. Sit on the swing bench. Look up to catch a glimpse of the high-rise blocks, the developers of which once threatened this now charming quarter.

Winners of our Flash #mylandmarks writing competition that closed at the end of September, will be announced shortly!

All about walking blog posting is unpredictable – if it’s raining biblical downpours then a blog post is more likely to appear, in most other weather conditions we are out walking and not blogging on a keyboard…..