Sounds of the Morning

Room 407E Julian Markham House, Elephant and Castle, London

7:30 am

My window is cracked open.  There is always the constant hum from the building’s air ventilation, there is one higher tone contrasting a deeper low rumble.  I wake up to discussion in the small parking area five floors below my window, words are not distinguishable, there is a slightly negative tone from them, as if they are arguing about a parking spot or something, then they stop and leave. Sounds from outside the enclosed parking area are many times more distant.  The occasional bus or car is heard, very low. Single vehicles sound almost haunting, hanging in the air longer than they should in the confines of the parking area. There are airplanes that fly over elephant and castle often, going east every 15 minutes or so.  These are almost inaudible over the hum, but there is slight rise in general noise level, the rush and constant turbulence of air in the sky.  A few minutes with only the hum of air ventilation. A car horn.  There is a rush getting closer, a high squeal, split seconds of scraping metal, and a rumble with knocking in it as well.  There is a hesitation and then it is 3 times louder as the southbound train from Elephant and Castle passes the rear corner of the building.

8 am

Traffic begins to become slightly more constant around 8.  Every now and then a pause is heard as it stops for the light at the intersection.  Train again.   Three emergency vehicle sirens go by within 4 or 5 minutes.  Rising slowly and changing as they pass by the front of the building, beginning to die away.  Hum.  Dull knock far away, sounds industrial.   A harsh engine accelerating fast, changing gears, a motor cycle.  It sounds odd because the higher frequencies I am used to hearing with them do not reach my room.  Another airplane fades in.  Another train.  Back to just the hum.

8:30 am

Voices from outside the parking area.  Kids.  A car goes slowly through the one way alley outside the parking area, has to stop for the light, then finally pulls out.  A Train, this one seems to be going slower.  Individual sounds that were a blur before, are more defined.  The knocking has more of a rhythm to it.  A heavier breeze hits my window making it vibrate slightly.   There is a squeal like a car belt and then it stops.  Someone parked a car on the back side of the building.  The higher whine of a motor bike going quite fast, zooms through the intersection and fades.  Some other constant hum is switched on, I think in the building that encloses the parking area across from my room.  This has more texture than the air hum, it reminds me of a fluorescent light but loud.  It has a higher pitched rattle in it, just slightly.  Traffic takes off from the light.  There is a heavier vehicle than a bus, a truck of some sort.  Plane.  Train.  High squeal of brakes as a bus slows to a stop.  Door to parking area from my building opens.  Footsteps, someone puts a bag in the dumpster.  Car horn very far off.

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