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:
This first picture we have the Grind (a 24-hour cafe particularly frequented by undergrads studying in study groups late, local weirdos who come to play midnight chess, or as I discovered, workshops in ukalele for groups of 15). My friend and I went to do some quiet writing, etc. and this reading is taken in a pretty low-level ambiance around 2 in the morning. The thing I recall, was despite the quietude around, there was this one persistent sound – very quiet, snipping/clicking sound that I couldn’t place or even decipher. It was bothering me so much, increasingly as the night went on. It reminded me of someone clipping their nails – which I have unfortunately seen people do in public – so I decided in my mind’s ear that that’s what it was, and kept getting silently riled up. Before we left I actually investigated because I could not let it go, and it turned out to be a person in the corner, concealed from me who was playing WoW on their laptop, so the clicking was from pressing keys on their stiff computer keyboard while playing the game.
The second snapshot is from an upscale Italian dessert/aperetif place downtown, again quite late – around 11pm. I was struck – as usual – by how loud-ish it was despite the classy, French-style atmosphere it was trying to convey. The marble top tables and bars provide a lot of sound reflection in places like these and result in a type of acoustic coloration that is quite shrill, and add music to that (something that was present there) and you have a bit of a resonant soup of kitchen clanking, conversations that now need to be elevated, and vibrating music.
The final snapshot is from Shiro’s – a sushi place in my neighbourhood. This was a spontaneous snap, so I don’t recall much of the atmosphere, I don’t believe it was all that “noisy” and other than a persistent murmur of conversation and the soft sounds of the open-style sushi preparation station, there was no other musical background.