Excuse me, you’re standing on my brain. – By @currantjones

By Tommy Curran Jones


Excuse me, you’re standing on my brain.


In the morning, before the gravity of the days events and gravity itself have weighed me down, I stand at 6’2” (188cm). At 75kg (11.8 stone or 165lbs) I am slender if not outright skinny. I have a strong brow and my face naturally rests in what could hardly be called an inviting countenance. All of this is to say that I am a largish man who does not feel particularly concerned walking down a dark street at night. Yet I am terrified of loud noises.

The SCA has moved to lovely new accommodation but this generally delightful move has at least one draw back. When, for whatever reason, we gather as a cohort, some near 40 students and faculty, we do so in a space that is fairly cramped. Acoustically it is incredibly challenging. Any mumble bounces off walls and ceilings, permeating the space. The SCA is full of people who think they are (and as demonstrated at the Backyard Comedy Club last Sunday are) incredibly funny. Town halls, masterclasses and pitches are filled with sharp barbs and ricocheting laughter. And it terrifies me.

I find the physical intimacy of the space challenging in its own right. I dislike crowds, even those made of people I know. When noise is added I feel like a cornered animal. If you have ever been snapped at by a beloved pet with a new toy or bone, you will understand what it is like to try to communicate with me during a masterclass. My mind is so filled with physical experience of being in the space, it has little capacity to deal with anything else.

In what seems like stark hypocrisy, when I am working I do so with music playing dangerously loudly, through very good noise cancelling headphones. This is sound I control. Through the blast of Disney songs to which I know every lyric, I find clarity. The sheer wall of sound blocks out everything else and allows my thoughts to run.

I love my loud and exuberant class mates. They are joyful and playful. But they are difficult. I don’t expect nor do I want them to change. Nor do I think listening to “Colours of the Wind” at ear-meltingly loud volume is a viable long-term option. Open plan offices remain the norm, despite their lowering of productivity and morale, so I ought to start working out how I work best. Alternatively I just need to work really hard and get an office as soon as possible.

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