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


Walking from the tube to work on Thursday morning I tried to play 'New York I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down'by LCD Soundsystem in my head. "[Something, something] Like a rat in a caaaage/ Pulling minimum waaaage [something, something] So the boring collect / - I mean all disrespect - / In the neighbourhood bars I once dreamed I would drink."

I've always liked to listen to dramatic songs on the way into work. During one thoroughly low period in my life - clinically depressed and dredging myself in to work every day at a company I had recently learned were paying a man with the same job title as me £5,000 more per year - I took to listening to Nicki Minaj's 'I'm the Best' daily. "I'm the best now, anyone with sense and money would invest now." I felt it apt.

I like my current job, so I don't have the same need to aggressively validate myself every morning to face going in. Still, if you live and work anywhere in the British Isles, you are going to have to spend a large section of every day rolling your eyes at anything dramatic as though it is pretentious and acting as though everything important that will ever happen has happened already. My sense of humour fits with this. I love to play large, alarming life events down, but privately I often experience a momentum.

I worry that I am too intense. Now that I find myself without it, I realise that listening to music has been a way that I assuage that fear. There is a brilliant, brilliant Amy Winehouse interview that I have often returned to, where she says she makes notes for songs by writing down, "feelings I have that I don't even want to acknowledge," in the hope that down the line "another girl might hear my stuff and think, 'I'm not a mug.'" Cheers to Amy, because that 'stuff' has worked on me.

Listening to grandiose, state-of-the-nation songs on my walk to my 9-5 job helps me to not kick off the morning with slightly manically delivered, grandiose, state-of-the-nation chat. I stop feeling that desperation that all people who talk too much have - to justify the existence of something about myself I feel is unseen - because I already know from my ears that there are other people who experience life intensely. Loads of them. Like, it's a thing. So I don't need to defend it right now.

Imagining listening to LCD Soundsystem on the way into work helps me to talk about the weather and answer my emails when I get there. I demand less from tired people when I already feel known.