On the roadside, close to Teesport and a stone’s throw away from the Black Path, stands this rather impressive electrical facility, humming to itself a song of untold voltage. I thought I’d firstly photograph it (here’s the result) and then record the sound of its low thrum. Unfortunately as I aimed the camera, carefully attempting to get the ‘Danger of Death’ sign bang in the centre, a police car pulled up.
The policeman said he’d passed me earlier on wandering around the vicinity, and as it was an industrial area with few pedestrians, could he have my details as there was a high risk of terrorism in such an area? He also wanted to know why on earth anyone would be taking pictures of these things and he asked what was in my bag. I showed him the black boxes, microphones and wires I was carrying around and he contacted North Yorkshire Police to check out if I had any history of nefarious acts.
Explaining to the constabulary about just liking sounds for their own sake, and that the recordings might well be amalgamated into compositions which some people consider almost like music, might seem a fruitless task. To give him his due though, the chap (who said he was in the armed response team) listened, didn’t smirk, and said ‘its good to have a hobby’. I quite liked him. He was courteous throughout and the police car was warm and had a christmas tree air freshener in.
When he let me go on my way, I moved away from the road and onto the Black Path. Unfortunately my intention to record at the abandoned Grangetown railway station was thwarted. The gate which had previously been open was now chained and double padlocked. As if to rub things in, the batteries on everything ran out, the replacements didn’t work (duff batch), so I cut my losses and drove home.
On the upside, I can now go into any police station in Cleveland and ask to see my personal dossier. I now consider myself a bona fide sound terrorist.
The Black Path near Grangetown station