Friday, 23 January 2009

The Art of Noise

Silence, as they say, is a non-reactive rare earth metal. In which case, noise is a precious though abundant element.

The problem is: where do you go for noise? How do you achieve it?

Well, I suggest that an average primary classroom is a good place to start: in there is all human noise - the hum of work, the mutter of conspiracy, the febrile buzz of unconscious flirtation (and that's just the teacher and assistant), the groans of pain, the sneers of hate.

It's all there, and in any good classroom they mix and mould all together, giving an outsider the impression of some kind of productivity. Whereas, what really exists is a sort of subdued revolution, consisting of all the adult, sub-adult and immature minds in that room, dancing together in felcitious concert.

Look for noise in the scribbling of pencils, in the sharpening of the same, in the bloated silence of the rubber, in the pregnancy of the staring into space, in the glare of the teacher, in the misread glance of enthusiasm from educator to pupil: at every stage the noise.

Even to the warlike roars, chants and screams of the playground. This is where we act all politics, from the tribal disputes to the sophisticated attempts to bring protagonists together (usually without genuine success, thus guaranteeing yet another League of Nations fiasco).

Into the frustrated scraping of chairs and all too rapid scuffling of coats at the end of the day. Noise, meaningful noise, what it means to be a community.

A surviving, thriving community.

1 comment:

Crushed said...

I can still remember my serenading of the class with Shakin Stevens being cut short by 'It'll be 'Cry just a lot' in a minute, ****** ******'.

I quitened down then.