More ambience means less ambulance

Martyn Ware
Martyn Ware
Have your say

AND here’s another Sheffield lad who’s been playing music late into the night...

An experiment by Martyn Ware to see if calming soundscapes could reduce night time trouble has been hailed a resounding success.

Now the results could help revolutionise the approach of British cities to problems associated with weekend revellers. You know the sort: fighting in the streets, being sick in the gutter and choosing a kebab in the takeaway.

The former Heaven 17 sound artist pumped slow down ambient music around one of Brighton’s most notorious areas. The theory, as previously reported in The Diary, was the background sounds – played through 12 speakers covering a 50 metre thoroughfare – would calm conflicts and ease bad behaviour by altering revellers moods.

Sounds far-fetched? It wasn’t.

Police have revealed there was such a reduction in trouble they diverted resources to other areas; while the final report of the Noise Abatement Society, which sponsored the £70,000 experiment on October 29, will recommend other cities look at funding similar schemes. Background music could even become a permanent feature in hot-spot areas.

“I don’t think Sheffield has a major issue with night-time trouble,” says Martyn, 56. “Although I know from my own clubbing days there are still... lively areas. We’ll be contacting various councils in 2012 to see if they would be interested in exploring this idea. Sheffield will be among them.”