The Club

A lady in black satin heels and a white plush jacket seated next to a mirror ball on the steps of a nightclub; her back is to us ad she's holding a champagne flute. Behind her we can see a big stuffed chimp on a long white banquette, a bottle of champagne and more flutes on a low table, and the booted legs and high heels of fellow partygoers
Image: oneinchpunch via Adobe Stock

by Dessane Lopez Cassell

Standing in front of a mirror recently, applying makeup before an evening out, I realized I’d been humming unconsciously. My ritual dabbing and blending is normally set to an ever-shifting soundtrack, and my body was remembering a lost rhythm. When had I stopped listening to music? 

The composer John Cage has often spoken about his love of silence—not the absence of sound, but the sonic layers and pops that fill the spaces we live our lives in. I share Cage’s understanding of silence as something more feral. Having grown up in New York City, on streets teeming with activity, I tend to feel the the absence of background noise as unnatural, even alarming.

Yet at some point in these last few months, amid personal and professional shifts that have cut like a knife, I stopped noticing the ordinary din. My internal turmoil, loud as a roar, had cannibalized most desires, including my usual yearning for music. 

It’s a paywall, but a small one

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