Ever happened to be snoozing away on a train, and suddenly wake up because someone is shouting in their mobile phone? Or desperately trying to focus on a book, while on the bus, on a plane or in a cafe’ and find it impossible? Children screaming, parents lecturing them; teenagers giggling.
Excluding music, of course, there are also some extremely pleasant noises; the definition of which is extremely personal. What does it make them nice to hear? They tune our mind to that someone, something, somewhere special that makes our heart fly.
My favourite noises, in no particular order are:
– The noise of the my Italian Moka coffee maker in the morning (and the smell of coffee ;))
– The sound of the rain on a summer night
– The engine of the plane when is taking off
Last Saturday I was out and about running some errands in Mayfair, and decided to pop into Selfridges, not for a bit of retail therapy as you would expect, but to give a little rest to my ears, albeit for a few minutes, and check out their newly launched Silence room.
When Selfridges first opened their doors in 1909, Harry Gordon Selfridge created a Silence Room where busy shoppers could “retire from the whirl of bargains and the build up of energy”. Selfridges are now bringing it back as part of their No Noise in store initiative.
This experimental space is now located in the Lower Ground floor. I walk to the entrance, unsure what to do.
A receptionist welcomes me, and asks to remove my boots and leave my mobile phone in a secured locker. I then walk into the dark, towards the room, not sure what to expect. Everything in the rectangular room, from the walls to the floor and the seats, is beige; to avoid any visual stimulation and help relaxation. I lie on the padded seat for a few minutes. It feels weird. I avoid the looks of the other equally embarrassed visitors, and I finally switch off.
A few minutes later, I re-emerge into the buzz of Oxford street, feeling calmer and more composed.
It’s awkward, yes. But I strongly recommend it!