Field Trip Happenstance Observation Poetry Sounds of Spaces and Places

4’33” on a train – John Cage Centennial, 5th September 2012

(c) Edition Peters

Our modest contribution to the John Cage centennial celebrations. On 5th September 2012, we decided to undertake a performance of 4’33″on the train from Falkirk High to Glasgow Queen Street. Raising and lowering the seat tray served to mark the three movements. During our ‘silent’ performance this is what we heard:

Low bass throb

                                              – of train thrum.


                                              – of pitched track squeal.


a sigh

a cough

a sneeze.

earphones fizzzzz and

crisps crunch.


fingers tap on digital screens

as turning pages            – fan

distant carriage whispers.


The shuddering recoil – from

                                                     – the slap of a passing train

all sound and silence cocooned

                                                    – underneath a bridge.

Out in the landscape

– an imagined Williams Mix:

Doppler-shifted siren,

birdsong and turbine whirr.


a ratttttttttttttling window

“tickets please”


the seat tray creaks.

Happy 100th birthday John Cage. In another place you are walking around Walden Pond with Henry Thoreau looking for mushrooms.

Now Playing: John Cage and David Tudor – Rainforest II / Mureau – A Simultaneous Performance (Part I)