London walks podcast started early in 2006. The unique proposition was to record walks in London live. Initially this involved clipping a pair of microphones onto my lapel, and describing the walk in real time as my words and the soundscape were captured on minidisc. The transcribing and editing process was timeconsuming, and so later on I changed to recording direct to a Roland MP3 recorder. Each walk took a lot of planning and execution, and was distributed by means of a podcast accompanied by notes, a map, and full directions to reach the start.
Many people appreciated the freedom from tedious walking groups, maps and guidebooks. All you need is an iPod, or any MP3 player with headphones. To my surprise, people downloading the walks were not confined to tourists or those planning a trip to the capital. There were also schools in China and India, who used the walks as teaching aids. There were elderly folk in the USA who could no longer travel abroad, and listened to the sound file as a ‘virtual’ trip. There were disabled people who could not travel at all. And many, many others – for example, a soldier in the US military who listened from his tank in Iraq.