Hi, I'm Clara. I'm a music critic, and on Sunday 12th June, I tore my eardrum.

I was on the train back from Edinburgh when I experienced a cracking, massive, almost refreshing in its extremity, amount of pain. I'm saying 'experienced' because I don't know if the right word here is 'heard' or 'felt', considering I did experience the tearing like sound, but I knew that it wasn't an external noise. It was a bit like hearing the guitar when it's your hands playing it. The noise becomes kind of internal and wobbly, like its part of your body and not the air around it.

I rubbed my whole head against the blue carpeted virgin seats to try and relieve some pressure. The man I was sitting next too asked if I 'liked cats', so I guess I I looked like one rubbing against an ankle for attention.

I was listening to 'Better Run' by Witching Waves at the time of the tearing, a song which both has the momentum of American punk-rock, but all the gloom and bluster of British post-punk. It starts definite then gets uncertain, which makes it just the right song to listen too when you're on a fast train hurtlling into a cloud of fog.

A visit to the doctor the next day revealed what had happened. Doctor Krishnamurphy told me that I stand to recovery full hearing as long as I don't listen to music for one whole month, don't wash my hair properly so's to avoid getting water in my ear, don't go anywhere loud or smoky, and take antibiotics, painkillers and an anti-inflammatory tablet every day. I'm one of the lucky ones, but I feel like half my face has fallen off and I don't know how to cope with my life.

In this column, I'm going to document the next month, writing daily about what songs I'm craving and why that might be. Maybe you'll like the sound of something I'm describing from memory. Maybe you can find it to listen too. Savour it for me, eh?


The Start

On Monday there was a vigil in London for the 50 people in an LGBT nightclub who were gunned down in Orlando. I walked from my office in Bloomsbury to The George pub in Soho, where people were starting to gather. The walk took about 20 minutes, and for the first time in years, I had to do it without listening to music. Time felt different. Stretchier than usual, like one moment couldn't be trusted to latch on to the next by itself.

I started playing the game I used to play when I was a child in the back seat of a car my parents were driving, where I'd clench and unclench my jaw, imagining that doing so was controlling whether we were passing space (lampost, barn) or negative space (field). I'm an anxious person and music eases the stiffness of the day.

I think it stops me noticing too much, which sounds strange. You'd think that adding something sensory might make the sensory overload that proceeds a panic attack more, not less likely, but it doesn't when it's music. Maybe because music is unifying. It makes it feel like the parts moving around you are moving in time, buses crossing cars at right angles.

In my head I played 'All the Young Dudes', performed by David Bowie. I craved to actually hear the downward swoop of the vocal on the first, dragged out appearance of the line “duuudes”. I guess there's a brotherhood in the delivery. Bowie does that half-laugh, like he's self-aware about how calling out to his mates in that way might sound pretentious in its obviousness, while also thinking that honouring his community is the most important thing in the world. The line carries on, "All the Young Dudes/Carry the News." I thought of all of my friends who'd texted me that the vigil was on. An economy of young people, bypassing print media, letting eachother know it was important to come out tonight.

It's funny, because if I'd been able to listen to the song, I would've got the comfort of that connection without the self-reflection. I'd have clicked into the rhythm of the drumbeat and enjoyed it without thinking there was anything significant about the choice of what I searched into Youtube on my way to the vigil. I always just think I want to be distracted, but perhaps I want to sink further into my situation.

Maybe having to think about music rather than listen to it will make me realise that all of the subtle, nuanced connection I think I have with sound are actually pretty fucking obvious. Like walking to an LGBT event, and wanting to listen to a song by David Bowie. Or perhaps once I make it past day one I'll figure out it's all more complicated and sonic and jumbled. I guess we'll see.