Geolocated Audio Walks

Over the last two weeks I’ve been on five different geolocated audio walks. The way these work is you download an app to your phone, buy an inexpensive walk, go to the start point, put your headphones on and press start. Your phone knows exactly where you are. Following the narrator’s instructions you head off down the street, and entering the next GPS target zone triggers the continuing audio story. Put simply, they work, are entertaining, and provide really interesting insights and points of view.

I went to the First Monday Sound Salon on Tuesday which was held in Brighton. The attendees were all quite advanced, and very diverse in what they are doing. We were given a paper called Urban Sound Planning in Brighton and Hove and a short presentation by Matt Easteal. Matt then took us on a brief tour of Brighton’s Twitterns (alleyways) which are associated with antisocial behaviour and night noise. Part of the councils solution to the problem includes modifying the soundscape – sonic interventions! Brighton is always good fun, so we visited “Quadrophenia Alley”, a mod shrine, with worldwide scooter club stickers up the lamposts.

We also downloaded the Giddy Brighton app which hosts oral histories of teenage memories from the post-war years. It was launched as part of Brighton Festival 2016. One of the creators, Carina Westling, was on hand to explain it. Carina also gave me some good advice on how to apply for lottery funding.

In the pub afterwards I had a long conversation with Miranda Diboll who told me about her Britpop Camden audio tour. I downloaded the tour from the VoiceMap app, and went on the tour yesterday.


Alan outside Dingwalls on the Britpop Camden audio tour.

As suggested I listened to Miranda’s special Spotify playlist:¬†Britpop Camden Voicemap on the train on the way to the walk. This was an fascinating walk around an area I haven’t been to for a while. Miranda’s knowledge and personal memories really put a different slant on my perceptions of the area.

Inverness Street NW1

In the walk Miranda says that Out on the Floor Records has been there for as long as she can remember, and is the place to look for some Britpop gems. I gave my photo the retro look to help you go back to the 1990s. One of the advantages of these audio tours is that you can shut down the app, do something else, and then resume later. I had a great meal just a few doors along from this record shop. Quite apart from the walk itself these tours send you down streets you wouldn’t have explored otherwise.

A painting outside The Good Mixer pub in Inverness St. NW1

In the mid 90s Miranda says that you could mix with Britpop stars in the Good Mixer – not many people knew who they were.

109 Regents Park Road, Primrose Hill

Creation Records, formed by Alan McGee were once above this shop. Nearing bankruptcy in 1993 he signed Oasis and hit the jackpot.

I won’t give away anymore of the Britpop Camden Voicemap tour – try it for yourself, I thought it was really interesting.