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A truly unusual and strangely revealing lens through which to view music and history and the dark life of the sea' Brian Eno What does the foghorn sound like? It sounds huge. It rattles. It rattles you. It is a booming, lonely sound echoing into the vastness of the sea. When Jennifer Lucy Allan hears the foghorn's colossal bellow for the first time, it marks the beginning of A truly unusual and strangely revealing lens through which to view music and history and the dark life of the sea' Brian Eno What does the foghorn sound like? It sounds huge. It rattles. It rattles you. It is a booming, lonely sound echoing into the vastness of the sea. When Jennifer Lucy Allan hears the foghorn's colossal bellow for the first time, it marks the beginning of an obsession and a journey deep into the history of a sound that has carved out the identity and the landscape of coastlines around the world, from Scotland to San Francisco. Within its sound is a maritime history of shipwrecks and lighthouse keepers, the story and science of our industrial past, and urban myths relaying tales of foghorns in speaker stacks, blasting out for coastal raves. An odyssey told through the people who battled the sea and the sound, who lived with it and loathed it, and one woman's intrepid voyage through the howling loneliness of nature.


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A truly unusual and strangely revealing lens through which to view music and history and the dark life of the sea' Brian Eno What does the foghorn sound like? It sounds huge. It rattles. It rattles you. It is a booming, lonely sound echoing into the vastness of the sea. When Jennifer Lucy Allan hears the foghorn's colossal bellow for the first time, it marks the beginning of A truly unusual and strangely revealing lens through which to view music and history and the dark life of the sea' Brian Eno What does the foghorn sound like? It sounds huge. It rattles. It rattles you. It is a booming, lonely sound echoing into the vastness of the sea. When Jennifer Lucy Allan hears the foghorn's colossal bellow for the first time, it marks the beginning of an obsession and a journey deep into the history of a sound that has carved out the identity and the landscape of coastlines around the world, from Scotland to San Francisco. Within its sound is a maritime history of shipwrecks and lighthouse keepers, the story and science of our industrial past, and urban myths relaying tales of foghorns in speaker stacks, blasting out for coastal raves. An odyssey told through the people who battled the sea and the sound, who lived with it and loathed it, and one woman's intrepid voyage through the howling loneliness of nature.

57 review for The Foghorn's Lament: the disappearing music of the coast

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tom

    This is the third book published by White Rabbit that I've read in as many months. Like the other two, Monolithic Undertow and Medical Grade Music, it's brilliant. This one is that special combination of travel diary, historical research, and theoretical exploration of a niche topic: the sound of the foghorn. The travel and historical aspects of the book set out the foghorn's history, as well as its connections to lighthouses and maritime navigation generally. The theoretical aspect is mainly con This is the third book published by White Rabbit that I've read in as many months. Like the other two, Monolithic Undertow and Medical Grade Music, it's brilliant. This one is that special combination of travel diary, historical research, and theoretical exploration of a niche topic: the sound of the foghorn. The travel and historical aspects of the book set out the foghorn's history, as well as its connections to lighthouses and maritime navigation generally. The theoretical aspect is mainly concerned with questions about how sounds (soundscapes, soundmarks) are related to people and places. The main question that underlies the whole thing is: why foghorns? As someone with an obscure interest or two, I empathised with the self-aware obsessiveness that comes across in the author's enthusiasm for this outdated piece of technology. I may just be easily convinced, but the book made me want to become a foghorn enthusiast too. I now live in hope that the foghorn at Nash Point (with which I am familiar from a childhood visit which ended memorably with a broken hand) will soon sound again. As I did with Medical Grade Music, I listened to the audiobook. This one is also read by the author, who does an excellent job. Highly recommended!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Chris Tyson

    If you want to learn more about foghorns from a historical and social viewpoint, then this is the book for you. But that sentence does this work a disservice. The author travels through the history of foghorns, and the lighthouses they accompanied, and in so doing shines a light onto the societies they served for so many years.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Chad

    Absolutely brilliant, Ms Allan is a tremendous talent and this is the best book I've read in ages. Absolutely brilliant, Ms Allan is a tremendous talent and this is the best book I've read in ages.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    For future editions I hope they move the footnotes to the bottom of the relevant page.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kate Connolly

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mark

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ellie

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sheena Ashford

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    Jurgen Van den Brand

  10. 4 out of 5

    Curt Langston

  11. 5 out of 5

    Brendan Hastings

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    George Orton

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tom

  14. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Jones

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alice Christen

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    Josh Molyneux

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Mckinney

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    Mark Williamson

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    John Wesley-Barker

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    Riloai

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tom Orr

  22. 5 out of 5

    André C.

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    Louis Johnson

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    Duncan Moore

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    Richard Adams

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    Deirdre Canavan

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    Ben

  28. 5 out of 5

    Craig Johnson

  29. 4 out of 5

    Dorian Fraser-Moore

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jacqui

  31. 5 out of 5

    Marianne

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    Jonny

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    Penny

  34. 5 out of 5

    ryan

  35. 5 out of 5

    792681357431324

  36. 4 out of 5

    Pickle.

  37. 5 out of 5

    Leo

  38. 4 out of 5

    Emily Hilliard

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    Aleix

  40. 4 out of 5

    Cailleach

  41. 4 out of 5

    John Hilton

  42. 5 out of 5

    Une_femme_est

  43. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

  44. 5 out of 5

    Eoin Murray

  45. 5 out of 5

    Stephanos

  46. 4 out of 5

    Tom F

  47. 4 out of 5

    Sorcha

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    Thomas Cogley

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    Kim

  53. 5 out of 5

    Megan Hamill

  54. 4 out of 5

    Vibeke

  55. 5 out of 5

    Patrick King

  56. 5 out of 5

    Gem Wilder

  57. 5 out of 5

    Dan Traynor

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