Jane Pitt Minster Golden Gloves – Blog 2“Don’t tickle me…Punch”

“Don’t tickle me…Punch”

It’s easy to forget the outside world when I’m at Minster Golden Gloves Club.  Everyone is there for the training, all activity and even the chat is mostly about boxing – total focus.  There’s still a great feeling of inclusion.  Sometimes I’m so engrossed in listening and recording the sounds I don’t always hear when one of the trainers teases me or a young boxer suddenly becomes aware of his language, so a tuneful serenade by a trainer directly into the mic is a gentle surprise!

After weeks of focusing on particular sounds and recording with a shotgun mic I’ve switched to using a contact mic, partly as a way to seperate the general ambient racket from the sounds directly related to boxing; but also because I’m interested in finding the sounds we can’t hear directly with our ears through the air, the hidden sounds.  I also like the synchronicity of recording a contact sport with a contact mic..!

The club building is built around a central stucture of steel girders with a grid bolted on for hanging the punch bags off.  By placing a contact mic on various parts of the steel structure I can record the screech and squeak of the chains that suspend the punch bags allowing them to swing freely, as well as the impact, rhythm and tempo of boxers training on them.  There are sounds more deeply submerged under the clammer and clang of punchbags which I’ve found by clamping the mic to the floor of the ring itself.  The base of the ring acts like a sound box, the contact mic picking up the tup and whisp of deft moves, split second timing footwork, hushed feints and sharp thwaps as a glove finds it mark.

Because my contact mic records in mono I’ve taken to leaving my headphones off one ear, this has the advantage of allowing me to hear the trainers’ narrative as they motivate, cajole and push the boxers limits.  A supportive stream of instruction, keeping up the boxers rhythm, imprinting the moves into their body’s physical memory, as each boxer develops their style and heart.  Top quote so far is “Don’t tickle me…Punch” .  I’ve been searching for a title, this is the top contender..

post by sound artist Jane Pitt


Art Transmissions part 1 Press your Ear to the Rail on BRFM 95.6

Press your Ear to the Rail

Art Transmissions part 1

A Community Radio broadcast with a twist.

BRFM the community radio station from the Isle of Sheppey has embarked on a unique project to air new broadcasts by three local community groups who have been working with artists to capture the individual sounds of the groups.

Working with arts organisation FrancisKnight, ‘Press your Ear to the Rail is the first of the Art Transmissions, which features the Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway and sound artist Jim Whelton.  Jim has immersed himself into the daily routines and lives of the volunteers as they go about restoring and maintaining the working railway.

Jim has explored the acoustics of the yard and recorded a wealth of anecdotes and technical detail from the volunteers. From the throaty growl of the diesel engines ticking over, to the gentle chug of steam power, listen to the evocative sounds that brim with meaning and memory on the Daniel Nash, Arts and Community Show from Monday 7th April between 7 & 10pm.

Karen Day, BRFM Station Manager, said: “This project has involved and enabled local community groups to work with BRFM. Similar projects have been undertaken and then played on air.  This project has been designed specifically for radio and BRFM are proud to be the station to air it.  The Community Media Association (CMA) has been very pleased with the progress and is being kept updated throughout by Daniel Nash (Community Liaison Coordinator / BRFM Presenter).  It is very exciting to be a part of a project recording social history as it is hoped it will be shared with the CMA and then archived in the British Library when it’s completed.”

BRFM 95.6 is a Community Radio station based in Minster-On-Sea, on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, which provides a wide range of music, news and local information, traffic & travel. BRFM broadcasts 24 hours a day 7 days a week and is run by passionate and hard working group of volunteers.

Daniel Nash is an artist and presenter on The Daniel Monday Night Community Show that is aired on BRFM 95.6 every Monday 7-10pm. Since launching his show in November 2006 he has interviewed a wide range of guests with a focus on the arts in Swale.

FrancisKnight is an independent arts consultancy based in Maidstone, Kent. Through the arts they offer positive experiences and new ideas that inspire vibrant communities and places delivering projects in north Kent and across the southeast. For more information please visit http://www.francisknight.co.uk

Art Transmission is funded by Ideas Test, (Creative People and Places: Swale & Medway), an action research programme to find new routes into creativity and the arts, embedded with and led by local people.

Background on Jim Whelton

Art Transmission #1

Jim Whelton is an audio artist and sound designer. Over the last fifteen years he has produced experimental radio shows and written original scripts for Resonance104.4 FM, ORF Austria, CKLN, Toronto, Dutch National Radio, Radio Corax Halle, Sao Paolo Biennale and for various internet radio stations.

A number of his sound and musical pieces have formed part of interactive displays in the Tate Modern, Science Museum, National Horticultural Museum, National Trust of Scotland and most recently for the new Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth. He can also be found performing live experimental music and making short films when time permits.

The Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway operates over almost two miles of the original main line from Sittingbourne Viaduct station to Kemsley Down Station and crosses one of the first and longest reinforced concrete viaducts in the world. The line was formerly owned by Bowater papermaking and was used to carry raw materials and finished products between the company’s two mills and Ridham Dock. This steam railway is run entirely by volunteers who work together to keep the service operating and open to the public between April – December each year.

For Art Transmission #1 Jim is exploring the acoustic spaces within the yard. He has also recorded a wealth of anecdotes and technical detail from the volunteers and will use the station tannoy system to produce some surreal station announcements.

For further information contact Louise Francis at FrancisKnight on 07956 437242

podcast An update from Jane Pitt

podcast http://youtu.be/tWavZmdXhiM An update from Jane Pitt 1 of 3 sound artist for Art Transmission, Jane is working with the Minster golden gloves Amateur boxing club. on at BRFM Bridge radiothe Daniel Monday Night Community Show at BRFM Bridge radio

podcast Kate Chapman

podcast http://youtu.be/oB-0oaY96Dk Kate Chapman sound artist who is working with The Sheppey Horticultural Society on the Daniel Monday night community show at BRFM Bridge radio

Kate Chapman’s first weekend on Sheppey

It was a chilly start – the coldest weekend for ages but all wrapped up and ready to go I embarked on my audio adventure with the Sheppey Horticultural Society.

I started off at the Medway Road site – not many folk around on a Saturday morning – the plots were looking perky in spite of the cold and there were figures in the distance bent over their spades and forks. I decided that the first step was to introduce myself to people and to start some conversations.

My idea for this project is make sound postcards – that’s postcards made in sound. Yes – it’s a tricky thing to explain but quite a simple thing to make. I want to ask people what sounds they enjoy or notice on their allotment and then record those sounds with them. Then I’d like to ask people to write a postcard to someone from their allotment – sending a message as you would when you’re on holiday.

I’ve no idea how people will respond to this idea on day 1 I decide that the most important thing is to meet people and to have a chat.

It’s good to have such a simple mission on a cold and windy day but I also feel slightly awkward interrupting people as they work.

At the Medway Road site I chat to Norman who is trying to work how best to secure a rotivator inside his estate car. He’s been on his allotment since 7am even though he was MC-ing at a ballroom dancing gig the night before. Ballroom dancing is his main passion with vegetables coming a close second. He calls me over to his rows of enormous leeks and gives me a couple. There’s an amazing oniony smell as he cuts away the heavy soil from the roots.

Everyone I meet on the Medway Road site tells me I should chat to Mr Poppy – an allotment veteran with many stories to tell. Strangely I don’t meet him until Sunday but when I do it turns out that his weekend is not going well. His wheelbarrow is missing and one of his chickens escaped on the A249 whilst he was transporting them.

Amanda and Tom are running the shop. I ask them about sounds they associate with their allotment. Tom talks about the Easyjet planes heading for Southend airport that cross the site every day at 2.30 and make that distinctive sound that planes make as they get into landing mode. He says its regular as clock work “Mr Poppy sets his watch by it”. I also meet Jim who’s emptying sacks of manure onto his plot. I ask him about sounds he likes and he talks about his kettle coming to the boil on his stove in the shed.

Over at Richmond Street, the shop is open and there’s plenty of activity. Dave makes me a coffee and I meet Chris who shows me his new homemade chicken coop complete with four handsome inhabitants. He’s new to the allotments but he loves it already. In spite of the cold day, he’s brought burgers, buns and a barbecue which he’s planning to fire up later. I admire his optimism. I ask him about sounds he notices. He says the sound of the geese that fly over the canal next to the allotments and just as he says it, the geese are off – honking away as if on cue. Yvonne has the plot next to Chris, she’s treasurer of SHS and she’s putting two new panes of glass in her greenhouse. I record the sound of her clipping the glass in and I admire her elegant painted nails.

“How do you keep them so perfect when you’re down here so much?” I ask. She says “They’re acrylic – tough as anything. Lots of people comment on them. When you’re retired, you have time for things like that”. I ask her about sounds she notices and she refers to the rotivators which have been humming away all morning. The earth is thick and clay-like – really hard to turn over and so rotivators are essential. Yvonne describes a symphony – or perhaps a cacophony – some low pitched and some high pitched, some close up and some in the distance. I like this idea.

So – once Dave has shown me his beehive,  I’ve chatted to the community police officer about preventing allotment break-ins and I hear about frogs in the canal that sound like ducks (intriguing) I make my way back to Chatham feeling as though I’ve got off to a good start.

post by sound artist Kate Chapman



Jim’s tenth visit to SKLR 12.02.14

Location interview with Alex from the coach and wagon department. He really
knows his stuff. We learn how SKLR carriages are repaired and restored ­ or
even built from the ground up. On site, there are enough coaches and wagons
to fill an infinitely rolling level crossing dream where the train never
ends. Mind you, if you told a Freudian psychologist you were having such
dreams they’d probably inform you that your unconscious is trying to resolve
a conflict between your desire to travel second class (super-ego) when
you’ve been handed a first class ticket (the id).

As you stroll through the yard you encounter passenger coaches decked out in
the Bowater company’s rolling stock livery. The exteriors are a confident
cheery green while the interiors are split at waist height by a saucy
caramel above and a deep nut brown below. Behind, on rise that borders the
vast modern paper mill, sharp faced daffodils poke out from the banks,
shaking their trumpets noiselessly in the wind.
Further on, toward the margins of the SKLR land, in an area reminiscent of
the forbidden zone in Tarkovsky’s ‘Stalker’, you find coaches bearing
Chattenden and Upnor logos. These originated from the military railway in
the Hoo, the marshy alluvial spur that separates the Thames from the Medway.
These de-militarised veterans still stand defiantly to attention though
they’ve long passed out on their last parade.
In among flat beds loaded with ruddy iron junk, clay and coal hoppers that
invite you to leap in and yell at the top of your voice. One is filled with
rolls of barbed wire, the spaghetti of security. Walking back to the
business end of the site, opposite the platform, are a row of wagons with
rusty ends loaded with the ballast and sleepers used to maintain the track.
Close to these are my two favourites – the recycled wood wagon and the fire
engine. The former has sides that look charred and burnt, as if it’s
survived a ride through a fiery torment. Close inspection suggests the
‘roasted alive look’ could just be the effect of the peeling paint. The fire
wagon is a child’s toy scaled up to life-size.  Impossibly red and festooned
with hoses and buckets. It waits patiently for a call to action. Despite its
comical looks, it’s no mere show piece. Last year it was raced down the line
to tackle a raging brush fire. In the heat of summer, dried reeds that cover
the marsh present the perfect tinder.

post by sound artist Jim Whelton

podcast Paul Best from The Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway

podcast  http://youtu.be/YEUPjZDGcoc Paul Best from The Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway on the Daniel Monday night community show at BRFM Bridge radio