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End this awful street 'music'.

I HAVE just returned from a brief visit to my hometown city, Newcastle, which I left over 30 years ago.

Taking the Metro from Kingston Park, I looked forward to a stroll down the now pedestrianised Northumberland Street, which I recall once carried all traffic of the A1 but now, I thought, would prove to be a cosmopolitan joy - a place where I could enjoy a peaceful stroll in a modem-day city. Well, I was in for a shock.

It was a lovely summer's day, but where I had hoped to enjoy the freedom to roam Northumberland Street now free of traffic noise, I had to endure a far worse fate: music. That is to say, a young fellow screaming at the top of his voice into a microphone, backed by loud music, all amplified a millionfold through huge speakers, so loud as to bar natural conversation.

As I watched him, he was clearly enjoying himself, but whether the racket that ensued was to the enjoyment of passers-by is doubtful. Most people hurried by, presumably used to the din.

Truly, it had to be heard to be believed.

Moving up the street for hoped-for silence, I encountered another young man.

He was strumming a guitar to no particular tune, again the noise being transmitted through amplifiers, and reverberating for a considerable distance up and down the street.

Resolving to keep well away from Northumberland Street in future, I fled to the Haymarket Metro where, lo and behold, I encountered another fellow, singing to the accompaniment of his guitar. He could neither sing nor play particularly well, but his voice and the music echoed through the underground station and the people there had to listen, like it or not.

I am not acquainted with the law on this issue, if there is any, but I would have thought it reasonable to expect to be able to walk along a pedestrian thoroughfare without having to endure this unnecessary racket.

If authority is required, who on Earth is giving it, and have they ever walked along Northumberland Street when it's happening? No one that I could see was listening.

In fact, the only people who seemed to be enjoying the noise were those making it, in which case may I through the Chronicle that these destroyers of the Queen's peace move to the middle of the Town Moor, where anyone who wants to listen to them may do so, enjoying at the same time the walk and fresh air.

This would make Northumberland Street a quiet thoroughfare in a modern and progressive city, to be enjoyed by Newcastle's citizens and visitors alike, the way it should be, surely. Alternatively, if this cannot be enforced, let's have the traffic back. Cars, buses, lorries.

They are a source of veritable peace compared to the lunacy prevailing in Newcastle's main street, now being ruined by gratuitous noise.

PAUL HESLOP, Keswick, Cumbria.
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Aug 15, 2012
Words:485
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