In the progressive city of London, England, the campaign against noise continues. With the abolition of trams from main streets the employment of "phons" is to be considered. A "phon" is the unit for measuring sound, and no vehicle may emit more than 90 "phons" at a distance of 18 feet. Meantime, Melbourne increases its electric trams and its noise, and cheerfully ignores its "phons".
Ladies and Gentlemen of Melbourne's delectable but deplorably detonating city: It is less in censure than in pity That I would crave your gracious permission To allude briefly to the awful condition Of your city streets. Where'er one fares in and about your otherwise pleasant metropolis one almost inevitably meets Noise, clamor, uproar, outcry, bangs, bumps, rumbles, rattles, shrieks, clangs, slams, Due mainly, as I and other distinguished visitors have told you, to those horrific, lumbering, archaic street railways known locally as electric trams. I hate, detest, abominate, condemn and abhor them; But, smiling tolerantly at my rustic sensibility, you bid me ignore them. "For," say you, "we have become inured to them thro' familiarity and long use, So that we no longer regard them as an inconvenience, danger or abuse." To which I reply, "Forget it! Snap out of your silly urban complacency before, too late, you come to regret it." For I have seen the signs writ plain On face, hand, eye, nerve and brian Of the fevered city dweller. Wherefore, poor feller, Since, with other wise ones, I know that excessive noise is a deplorably deleterious thing, I am moved compassionately to sing:- Oh, bury Mr Bagosights! In spite of all his wealth The phons attacked his phagocytes And undermined his health. He dwelt on Clamor Crescent All among the traffic din; And he deemed it rather pleasant Just to sit and listen in. But the phons thro' his defences Inconsiderately hummed, And obtunded all his senses Till he finally succumbed. We'd be happier the sooner all His obsequies are done; Then we'll ride back from the funeral In electric trams. What fun! Ladies and gentlemen, I have spoken. Here, amid sweet silences, tranquil and unbroken, Save by the songs of birds or the whispering breeze, I have heard the city visitor, ill at ease, With strained face, nerves taut, and frightened, listening eyes, Cry pitifully unto the quiet incurious skies, "Alas, the ambient atmosphere of this bucolic backwater is positively unlawful. Turn on the raucous radio. Gyrate the gabbling gramophone. This silence is awful!" And then I know that the frenzied phons have got him. And he will return to the urban uproar till, harried and hog-ridden, the phons will rend and riddle and rot him. Oh, be ye warned in time by the fearful fate of Mr Bagosights, -- tho' in presenting it I may have been a little vague -- And avoid the ferocious phon as you would the plague, For powers nor principalities shall avail when once ye are smitten. So it is written.
|Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2005|