(borrowing some content from my previous post……)

Political unrest and riots are somewhat rare - that's why it's important to record and preserve them. Although they can be violent and unnerving, finding a way to safely record an event like this is important, so long as it can be done without putting yourself in harm's way (at least not too much).

Do we have any SSDers in the UK that are willing to take a risk and capture some amazing events?

PS. I have to say that I've really enjoyed seeing this conversation evolve into such an intelligent collection of thoughts on a very sensitive topic.

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    take the cheapest recorder and wear grey hoodie and your on the way... Aug 9, 2011 at 17:52
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    @Jay Part of me thinks it's morally wrong to record the misfortune of others but reading your motive in the comment you just wrote in response to Rada makes me agree with you that it would be important to document this. World War II for example has many photos and documentation that would be lost if it were deemed wrong or incorrect to do so. I just hope no-one puts themselves too far into the danger that is out there right now - please be safe!
    – Utopia
    Aug 9, 2011 at 20:32
  • @Jay, I constantly have my radar up for popular gatherings of any nature. You'd better believe I'd be out there with the stealth rig if there were some craziness going down near me. But then, we audio guys tend to get ourselves into trouble....
    – Rene
    Aug 10, 2011 at 17:17

4 Answers 4


Hello, thanks to Nick and Ian for linking to my recording of the looting of the Iceland store in Peckham.

Don't record riots etc in areas that you don't know well beforehand and don't flash gear around. Binaural mics and a pocket-sized recorder are all that's needed for noisy urban settings.

  • @LondonSounds, thanks for chiming in. Great work you're doing there, a benefit to all in the sound community. Keep recording, and be careful! PS. Interested to know what sample/bit rate you're recording at when you go out stealthing… Aug 10, 2011 at 16:10
  • Thanks Jay! I record everything in 24bit/48kHz as a standard archival practice. The MP3s on the site are usually 192 or 256kBps. Aug 10, 2011 at 16:34

I know someone who had thought about it. Sadly even some TV crews (BBC and Sky on Saturday) were attacked so I doubt it'd be easy to get close to any "action". I did hear this earlier today though.

  • @ianjpalmer, that's a great link - thanks for sharing it. Strange, it does sound low-key and calm, but it's a slice of reality nonetheless. Aug 9, 2011 at 18:04

Hi Jay, Ian Rawes captured some looting in Peckham for his inimitable London Sound Survey: http://www.soundsurvey.org.uk/index.php/survey/blog_comments/1447/ I've attended many political demonstrations in the past but this current wave of insurrection is on a different level. I've heard a few accounts of journalists and others that crowds have taken a dislike to being attacked and threatened. Having said that, I'm sure a few more recordings will surface soon. Regards, Nick

  • @Nick, thanks for passing that along. I've not heard of London Sound Survey until today when both you and @ianjpalmer posted. Keep in touch - Aug 9, 2011 at 18:13


That is a totally inappropriate mate !!! Shame on you !!

Have you been reading papers etc???

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    I imagine the request for riot recordings has less to do with sensationalism or exploitation, and more to do with documenting real life, as gruesome as it may seem. I can see value in capturing events that appear inappropriate for many reasons. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_Adams_(photographer) Aug 9, 2011 at 20:20
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    @Rada, apologies for any offense. Clearly, events like the riots in London will cause hurt and suffering to many people, that is not lost on me. My reason for posting was in regards to location recording only, and not in any way to disregard the magnitude of what has been occurring. I am amazed, shocked, captivated and moved when hearing recordings of this nature; I don't believe it is inappropriate to capture and archive these events, for posterity or possibly for later use. What if a documentary is made about this time? Or a museum installation? SSD community, let's hear your thoughts… Aug 9, 2011 at 20:21
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    The riots have had extensive TV coverage since it kicked off in Tottenham and many are saying that this has fueled the problems. Is that inappropriate? London is my home city and what we have seen over the last few days has been saddening, but I feel an audio recording of the events would be fascinating to hear. Documenting something and sharing with others is not in any way condoning what is being documented. Aug 9, 2011 at 21:48
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    Guess whether it's appropriate or not depends on the context you place the recordings in. It'd be irresponsible to upload them to Soundcloud and add titles like THIS IS WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT!!! tbh I recdkon there's more complicated issues surrounding privacy. You hear some bizarre conversations - what are the ethics around recording them without people knowing? And why does recording such conversations seem more invasive than writing them down word-for-word? Aug 10, 2011 at 16:49
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    @londonsounds the way that recordings could be more invasive than transcription is because they convey inflections that we humans are acutely tuned in to. with that said, I don't believe that a person's utterances while standing outdoors during a riot are in any way private or should be expected to be exempt from archival.
    – Rene
    Aug 10, 2011 at 17:16

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