Waiting For Wyre Rose


Running Time: 6:06

Released On: "BenchesBenches" - Various Artists (rolling compilation)

Label: EFSPACM (Ensemble For Sound Poetry And Contemporary Music)

Release Date: Our track added 24th July 2021

Format: Download

Buy Link (Album): Bandcamp

For The Full Experience: BenchesBenches




Dateline: 20th June 2021 - The EFSPACM Group

"Hey all, I like to invite you to my project Benchesbenches!"

So posted Tonio Rumoer, along with a cartoon of a bench. Yeah, obviously that's not all he said in the post, we'd have just kept going otherwise, but this one got our attention immediately. We have no shortage of benches around Knott End-On-Sea, the sea wall and Esplanade are littered with them, most of which I've enjoyed sitting on now and again, partly for the fact each comes with a view to die for, partly coz I'm getting a bit lazy in me old age. Either way, the idea of picking a favourite and creating "a soundscape inspired by a view from that bench", yeah, we liked that. Skit suggested the one in front of the library, conveniently in earshot of two car mechanic workshops, thus a great excuse to include power tools. I suggested we did enough stuff like that anyway and how about processing field recordings from one that is spoilt for both sounds AND views? Skit conceded to my wisdom, not that he'll ever publicly admit it.


There are a pair of benches (which seemed appropriate for a project called BenchesBenches) at the top of the ferry slip (GPS 53.9262976, -2.9884416 for the technically minded) which seemed perfect, offering multiple views and the sounds of the the River Wyre meeting the Irish Sea, topped by the regular crossing, tides permitting, of the Wyre Rose, our iconic ferry. For those that don't understand GPS, it's quite easy; just drive through Knott End until the road runs out. That'll be the ferry slip in front of you, the benches (centre of our graphic, which can be seen more clearly on the BenchesBenches site) are near the top of it on the right.


Top left is the view behind them to the north, looking some 10 miles over Morecambe Bay to the Cumbrian Fells and England's highest mountain at 978m, Scafell Pike. Top right is the view south, down the River Wyre, you can just about make out the distant shape of Blackpool Tower, slightly to the right of the upper edge of the sea wall, a little over a third of the way across from the left of the picture. Bottom left is the view to the west, looking along the ferry slipway, across the River Wyre towards Fleetwood, famous around the world for being the birthplace and home of the Fisherman's Friend lozenge. Bottom right is our beloved ferry, the Wyre Rose herself, for which our chosen benches are a popular spot to await the klaxon that tells you she's on the way across.

With Twizz's school ready to break up for the long summer holidays in a few hours, we knew the morning of Tuesday 20th July would pretty much be our last chance to get the necessary recordings done, and having a very low tide smack in the middle of the day didn't exactly help, we needed the ferry running. Skit arrived early and the two of us sat down with a coffee and shortbreads to plan our strategy. The last ferry of the morning would run at 11:45, we didn't want to leave it that late, just in case. So, come 10:30, we marched along the Esplanade for our date with destiny, each armed with a Sony IC Recorder (*other small portable recording devices are available, but we don't own any others coz we like this one) and a microphone boom stand. Actually, when I say marched, I mean drove. It may only be a 5 minute walk, but I have a touch of gout at the moment, it's not coz people would look at us, honest.


As the 10:15 ferry pulled away to make the brief journey back across the Wyre to Fleetwood, we walked/hobbled down the ferry slip to get set up. We wanted to get a good 20 minutes of background recordings before she came back over; rolling waves, seagulls, the annoying git who's always flying overhead in a microlight, that kind of thing. It's always quiet just after the ferry leaves, so it's the perfect time for it. Of course, our luck being what it is, the second it pulled out, along comes a young lad called Henry with his grandparents, looking for crabs on the spit. You'll hear him. And them. Thus you'll work out how we know his name. Actually, it wasn't a problem as it turned out, if anything, it just kind of adds to the atmosphere and sense of the location. With our recording devices fixed to the stands with giant paperclips (oh, we're nowt if not resourceful), an elastic band holding the wind muffs in place (yeah, we learned from that one), we stood zen-like in silence for some 20 minutes, waiting for the Wyre Rose to return.


Everything you hear was recorded there and then with minimal processing, though a fair bit of mixing. You get very self-conscious as people start coming down after the ferry klaxon sounds too, feel their eyes burning in your back. But we're all very polite and friendly up this way, so the only comment I got was from a guy who ignores Skit and says to me;

"Well now, you're just photo-ing are you?"

Which I was, you don't trust Skit with cameras.

"No, recording as well," I replied, "you're gonna be famous."
And true to my word, you'll hear him saying it at the end, so he is.


L e g e n d s   O f   T h e   F y l d e   C o a s t

It is said that as a young boy, one Gustave Eiffel spent many a summer holiday in Blackpool with his family, enjoying the simple pleasures of a donkey ride, a stick of rock and a 'kiss me quick' hat. But the one thing that really captured his imagination was the magnificence of Blackpool Tower (left), so much so that when he grew up and became a civil engineer in France, he had a facsimile (right) built in the middle of Paris!