A Brompton sound diary. 1: Window Cough

Monday 5th July 2010

High summer, 9 pm, a fourth floor hospital ward, above the roofs of Sydney Street and Fulham Road. A wet, mucal hack from an adjacent window. Close by, yet far from the streets below, and I with it. Streets that, only now, as I hear that flannely cough echo into the prosceneum space between pavement and trees, seem a world of an entirely different imagination. Down there the sound would be drowned in the white noise of traffic and footsteps, but here, on this window ledge, it is so terribly close. This Victorian building, built for quarantining TB, sounds a carillon of expectorant peals across London.

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