It was touching to receive so many birthday wishes via social media on Thursday. I’m always appreciative when individuals take time to convey regards; a gratitude mirrored when they make space in their schedules to visit my website and/or read my narratives.

With my time predominantly spent in solitude, by choice I hasten to add, gaining an awareness I still register on many friends and acquaintances radar is heartening. Out of sight hasn’t been out of mind for some.

You could rightly argue that “Yes, we hardly see you from a physical perspective, Gary. However, you’re hardly a e-hermit; you’re always posting stuff on Facebook…. In fact, so much so I’ve had to mute your inane posts, you attention-seeking buffoon!”

Admittedly, a point that wouldn’t be without basis in fact.

If truth be told, the older I get the more I seek the serenity bequeathed by solitude. I despise noise and the fact many people don’t talk at a normal volume anymore. For some reason, many individuals now feel the need to verbally deliver their observations at the cacophonous levels of an 18th century town crier.

I’m unsure at what point in our evolution Homo sapiens mouths developed into megaphones, however it’s a development I find increasingly irritating during my aimless venture through middle-age.

This may appear harsh, but personally I blame Simon Cowell for this manifestation of the proletariats over-excitable oration. To my mind the catalyst to popularising this unnecessary clamorousness coincided with the inception of his tabloid TV talent contests. The possible root cause an acceptance as mainstream the audience’s tumultuous caterwauls designed to influence judicial decisions.

Cowell may argue a countless number of people’s existences have been enhanced by his latter day equivalents of 1960’s/70’s talent show Opportunity Knocks (OK). Claiming the Hughie Green show’s audience did influence results with noise. However, I’d proffer to OK producers credit this was sought via the far more acceptable reaction of hand clapping; not the boisterous animal-like howls encouraged from an X-Factor or Britain’s Got Talent crowd.

Of course, blaming of Cowell for the populace’s overall ramping up of noise levels is undertaken with tongue very firmly tucked in cheek. He’s a good man who’s done lots for charity, heavily influenced contemporary music and TV culture, along with frequent displays of benevolence, such as letting his local cinema project their Wednesday matinees onto his white t-shirt.


My wife Karen isn’t immune from communicating in a raised voice, and I’m not just referring when she verbally snipes back at me for self-indulgently antagonising her.

During telephone conversations decibel levels of her voice are noticeably ramped up a notch or two. In her defence, though, at times this is unavoidable as on occasion she speaks with elderly people who suffer from hearing issues. One of them requires vocal communication of cacophonous volume due to his refusal to adorn his hearing aids around the house. Corrective equipment they’ll only countenance wearing socially, or as they call it “For best.”

My fairly new-found distain at excessive noise has been troublesome post my heart attack in January. With a cardiologist’s edict of avoiding existential stress still ringing in my ears, over-sensitivity to rambunctious sound diminishes my ability to adhere to doctor’s orders.

Breaches of quiet when writing, affecting my concentration levels is another potential trigger to moments of angst. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been robbed of a creative notion due to being distracted.

These main protagonists to epiphany loss being TV background noise, none urgent vocal interjections from Karen, or my writing flow disrupted by my mum frustratingly asking me a question I’d answered thirty minutes earlier. My poor memory retention a big contributing factor to my desire for quiet and distraction free penmanship.

They say that listening to rainfall can be a calming experience, but it’s throwing it down at the moment and I’m still feeling incredibly fraught…….. Perhaps it’s time I fixed that hole in the conservatory roof!!….. Incidentally, has anyone got a brolly?!

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