Silence is problematic. The modern world is so full of noise from traffic, mobile phones, crowds of people, chairs scraping on floors and a million conversations filled with laughter, angry voices, sniffs and coughs that for most of us silence is a prized occurrence. That makes it all the more problematic when silence is a near impossible state to achieve.

We came across an article recently that documented the many ways throughout history that we have tried to bring silence to our world. From ancient Rome’s spread to the Palatine Hill to the construction of the New Town in Edinburgh, the noise and hustle and bustle of the streets were impossible to escape for long. That’s not to say that many haven’t tried, but the risk is that a desire for silence only amplifies the discomfort of the slightest of sounds, even the more pleasant ones.

In the modern world, where each of us can isolate ourselves through noise-cancelling headphones, behind double glazing and through infinite choice of more appealing noises, there is certainly a move towards distancing ourselves from other people’s noise. That’s a problem. As we try to protect ourselves from other people’s noise, without distinguishing its purpose, use or appeal, we also distance ourselves from those people.

 “Shutting our ears to what's especially uncomfortable to behold has almost always led to a dangerous form of social deafness. Not only have we become hypersensitive to whatever sounds remain - we've also become estranged from the people who make them. Certain kinds of music or ways of talking become steadily less familiar - they become alien, even threatening.” BBC
Here’s where we start to think hard about ourselves. We deal with a lot of music, for a wide range of clients in a wide range of venues. We try and share new and less heard music where we can, and we love to hear back from people via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn or even email and on the phone. We’re constantly adding new stuff to our playlists, and we love to review our favourite new music via our monthly newsletter. But surely we can do more? What if we’re also distancing ourselves from music, sounds and people? How do we engage in conversation with those who feel we create unwanted noise?

We don’t know the answers to all of these questions, but we do hope blog posts like this, the free availability to find our venues on the Open Ear App and the fact that our ears are always open helps just a little bit. Silence isn’t possible when you can’t close your ears, but being open enough to enjoy the sounds around you without shutting off is something we all need to have a go at.

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