I love the fact that the BBC does a weekly feature called Bells on Sunday [you can listen to this week's "show" using this link]. Its not surprising, I guess. I love the BBC. I love sound. I love bells.
Some years ago I attended a small seminar on sound art where I heard a beautiful piece by a German sound artist. It began with the sound of new bells being cast - liquid metal being poured carefully into massive molds. And then a voice begins to read a poem over these noises and the voice tells us how the bells were once used (for the church, for celebrations, to warn of danger) that is, until the war came and then the bells were melted down to made into weapons. I can't do the piece justice. It really should be heard.
I am rather taken by the idea of a certain place being associated by a particular sound. Other than church bells, the only other unique sounds that I associate with a place are the sounds of the TTC doors chimes (which reassuringly sounds like the first three notes of the Sesame Street theme song). Since music is the next frontier of corporate branding, I think public institutions (schools, libraries, post offices, whatever) should also commision their own sounds. It would make life a little less Generica.
It's harder to explain why have a fondness for the sound of a roomful of slot machines and the BBC's Shipping Forecast.