1. I saw some things that really caught my attention, but that don't make any noise..
2. It was too cold to play my fiddle for long without my fingers going numb
3. It was too windy to make decent recordings on the bridge (I need a better windshield!!)
So what did I find? There were two things that really stood out to me today...
The High Level Bridge is home to many pigeons, and the evidence suggests that they both live and nest there (lots of pigeons, LOTS of droppings, a few broken eggs, and the cute young pigeon to the left.. I don't think he's able to fly yet, as I was able to get very close without him attempting to move..)
The sound of the pigeons is fairly pervasive whilst your on the bridge - both cooing, and the sounds of their wings flapping as they fly about. It was interesting to walk over the bridge listening to how the sound changed as the acoustic changed - on a less windy day, I'll hopefully get a good recording of this. The pigeons provide a way of thinking about the bridge that I hadn't thought of before - as home. I've previously thought of it was a place of transition; for us it's a way of getting from one side to the other, not somewhere to linger, not a place of permanence. But for the pigeons it's much different.
I was struck today by the amount of graffiti on the bridge - I'd not really noticed this before. You can see it on nearly every pillar as you walk along it. I walked from the Gateshead side of the bridge back to the Newcastle side, on the left hand path, taking a photo of every piece of graffiti I encountered. It took a long time - there's an awful lot of it! I need to go back and do the right hand path, but this can wait for another day, as I got very cold!! What was interesting was that I encountered the same pieces of graffiti over and over - it looks like four or five different people (or sets of people.. or gangs..?) that have been spraying their symbols over and over again. I got talking to somebody on the bridge, who described it as 'dogs marking their territory'. But why on the High Level Bridge? Is this seen by the people doing the graffiti as their territory? Or contested territory? Does it hold any personal significance for them? Or is it simply a convenient place to do it, as there are so many pillars, and so much surface area, available to work with?
If anybody reading this knows anything about this , or has any opinions, please do get in touch - you can comment on this blog post, or there's a contact form on this website. I'd be really interested to find out more about why this type of graffiti happens in this particular place. I'm also really keen to compose something based on this graffiti. Not sure yet what form this should take, I'm thinking maybe some sort of collage work would be appropriate. I'm going to start by editing and playing with the photos I took, and see what inspiration comes out of that. Any ideas or suggestions would be most welcome!
That's all for now - I'll be posting photos, and maybe some audio recordings, over the next couple of days.