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

On Wednesday, I attended the Canadian Embassy event I had believed I was going to attend on Tuesday.


Travel sickness is caused by imbalances of the liquids in your inner ear. That's what I was told by someone's mum when I was younger and vomited on the coach on a school trip. Since then, I have always visualised that invisible planks of wood protrude from either side of my head and that if they aren't parallel then I will get sick. When I feel funny I hold my head very still, and think about the word 'equilibrium'.

I mentioned this on the phone to my friend Hannah on Tuesday night and she spluttered with laughter. "You think you get travel sick from the ears?" – "Well yes, that's why I wear earmuffs on roller coasters" – "you wear earmuffs on roller coasters?". I ended up laughing so much I had to stick my head out of the skylight in my loft bedroom to cool down, tears of mirth in my eyes getting swamped out by droplets of rain. Hannah and I agreed that our mutual outrage at each others position was so enormously enjoyable that neither of us would google whether or not the ear-liquid-imbalance thing was true, so as to both be able to both continue thinking we were right. So I can't confirm whether or not you technically do get travel sick from the ears, but either way, I know I've felt off-kilter.

Perhaps this explains my desire to listen to very repetitive songs. I want progression less than I want to return to feeling grounded. I have enough 'avant-garde' feeling in my day from the sensation that my head is encased in a half-full tank of water whose surface keeps rippling.

The Canadian Embassy event, which centred around a film screening of a half-an-hour long video poem about snow, partially satisfied that desire. I had been invited to go because I work for a publisher that has a strong history of publishing work by emerging Canadian visual artists. Though, having been at the company for all of two months, I can't personally claim much ambassadorial credit for the Canadian Art Scene. So far I've pretty much just learned how to use the company database.

Over slides of different ice and snow formations, the artist read out the names Newfoundlander's have for minute variations of flake form. I'm fairly certain that me having thought of this as repetitive reveals I wholly missed the point of it; how many weird and wonderful variations there are in anything once you pay attention to it, or something like that. No matter, it soothed me when I needed soothing.

On the walk home from the event I wanted to listen to something repetitive but busy, rather than repetitive and spare like fields of snow are. My first thought to satisfy this was playing some MIA. I haven't heard one MIA song that doesn't have the chorus repeat at least five times. Think of 'Bad Girls' – I'm currently incapacitated from checking this – but from memory the line "My chain hits my chest when I'm banging on the dashboard" must repeat at least 13 times. I wanted to listen to 'Jimmy' most of all. It's both cluttered and organised. There's enough there to take all of your focus for a few minutes, and considering my concentration has been so fractious since I stopped being able to listen to music, I wanted that.