Posts Tagged: ‘restaurant’

Aural Postcard: the Cafe

March 29, 2010 Posted by Milena D

I am titling this “the Cafe” because I find this to be a quintessential place that certain people (like myself) frequent a lot, and it becomes a kind of a milieu or natural habitat of the student/consultant/unemployed – people who have flexible weekday hours but have decided to spend their time on higher pursuits than daytime television – partaking in laptop envy in trendy/less trendy cafes.

I find the soundscapes in these places generally interesting, curious, sometimes offensive (aurally) but in any case – a “place” to contend with. I will upload some sounds soon, but for now let’s just enjoy a few pictures here:

Blenz2 OurTown1 Bump-n-grind2

This first picture we have the Blenz particularly frequented by undergrads studying in study groups, self-employed yuppies who want to be seen working. My friend and I went to do some quiet writing, etc. and this reading is taken in a pretty low-level ambiance around 4 in the afternoon. Super loud music trying to emulate a dance club.┬áThe second snapshot is a hippy coffee shop in the Main Area – Our Town. Shabby decor meets lots of people working on computers, reading, etc. the occasional conversation. Just a homey, busy, lively atmosphere sans the blaring music. Third place is bump n grind. Commercial Drive swank, something to dampen the superb sound system which employees use to crank up their favourite rock-folk swill. Too pretentious to me. A weird combo between too quiet – yet far too loud to concentrate.


Aural Postcard: The Reef

March 6, 2010 Posted by Milena D

This is the ambience of a quite noisy restaurant in Vancouver with excellent Caribbean food. I have always noted how incredibly loud it is inside…we literally could barely hear each other, and in fact, I dare you to find any foreground voices in the recording…it just all got swallowed up in one big standing wave of voices and sounds.

Annotation: It was around 10pm, and the place was quite busy. I believe near us was a big birthday party group. I recorded with the iPhone just laying on the table.

Narrative: Well, not much to say except, it was loud. I believe despite the fact I don’t trust “dB”, these readings above are fairly accurate. The overall ambience felt akin to a nightclub situation with the music cranked up high and all the voices competing to be heard over it. Once my companion realized what I was doing, we had a bit of a conversation and my take on it is, as I said, that it’s a vicious circle. Patrons raise their voices because they need to be heard over the music, and over waitresses’ voices. But waiting staff raise their voices because of everything else. Whispering is impossible at normal sitting distances. You know you’re in a nightclub when you have to whisper right in someone’s ear so they can hear you, and that’s exactly what we had to do!…

I remember certain moments when the weariness of the day caught up with me and I felt momentarily weak and relaxed and each time, I was jolted back to reality by the soundscape as it all of a sudden seemed to increase in amplitude. It’s a funny phenomenon, I know it didn’t really, but my auditory impression was that it became louder. I think it might have been moments of thresholds of habituation that my ears went through. I don’t feel even drama queen-y saying it was painfully loud.