I played at the Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts earlier today, a building designed by Sir Norman Foster on the UEA campus to house the Sainsbury art collection. The jazz/klezmer trio of which I am a part is not especially loud but we do amplify ourselves. And I remember playing here in a nine-piece salsa band some years ago which certainly packed a punch.
It occurred to me that future generations may be shocked at the damage our noise has done to the molecular structures of the works on display, some of which are thousands of years old. I completed an archaeology degree at a time when the practice of leaving parts of a site untouched (so that scholars as yet unborn could one day apply techniques that would make ours appear crude by comparison) was still a recent development. It was symptomatic of a new humility in science: the idea that although we may be at the cutting edge of knowledge we may not yet be the finished article.
I love playing at SCVA but will do so henceforth with a slight feeling of unease. But I notice the venue never seems to hire any operatic sopranos so maybe they're way ahead of me on this. Should I ask to see their risk assessment paperwork or keep schtum and be grateful for the gig?