• Ollie Horsfall

Noise, Power Cuts and Rejuvenation

Photo by: Daria Shmalts

There was a powercut in my building for a couple of hours this evening. I was in the middle of a long day of fixing/proofing for this magazine that I am the Content Editor of (Oko! Magazine) and everything just shut off. I took it as a sign from the universe to have a rest for a bit. So I did, by chilling in the silence of my building.

It occured to me just how much noise we are usually surrounded by. Our fridge is bloody mental and is constantly humming, but is usually drowned out by a mixture of the bzzz from our heater and the whir of the PlayStation fan (thing needs a good bloody clean). In that silence, I heard people in my building coming out of their apartments and talking to each other. I heard people laughing. Yes there was a clear desire to get it fixed in the air too, but it was the most I'd heard from any of my neighbours since I moved here two years ago. We also had a couple of visitors, and as our advent candle lit the room, we sat and we chatted. We were so relaxed that we hadn't noticed the terrarium Light come on in our bedroom, and when the lights came back on, and the buzz of our various machines returned it was like waking from a pleasant sleep.

I honestly felt refreshed. I have 4G, so I wasn't concerned by a lack of internet, but I wasn't giving it that much attention because my brain got the rest it deserved. Granted there's such a thing as too quiet; an anechoic chamber in Minneapolis is built to absorb 99.99% of sound within it. People can usually only stand to be in it for ten minutes max before the sound of their own heart beating and the blood pumping in their ears drives them to return to a world of sound.

Noise is a constant factor in our lives, and it keeps us safe so we fill ourselves up with it, whether that be through television and headphones or just walking down the street hearing the bleeting of engines from the roads. So I posit this: we should all take an hour a week and find a space that is decently quiet, not 99.99% quiet, because that's crazy, but somewhere outside of the norm where we can sit, read and think clearly. I think it's good for the soul and for the mind, I'm sure it must be good for the body too as a consequence, but I'll let you look up studies on that.

A quiet hour was all I needed to feel some sense of restoration, give it a go and let me know how it feels, probably best not to flick the fuse in your apartment building though... I doubt people would be laughing then.


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