Sunday, July 8, 2012

in defense of noise

On sculpture work days I get up and run before having my coffee.  I get Blue set up with whatever things he needs, let the dogs out and I head down into the basement sculpture studio.  I plug the iPod classic into the little speaker dock and punch the volume up pretty high.  The volume must be high because the next thing I do is put in earplugs.  Then I turn on a series of very loud pieces of equipment....welder, plasma torch, side grinder and die grinder.  I can make out the louder parts of songs while the welder is running but can generally hear no music at all when using the other things. 

A few weeks ago Georgie came down the steps and yelled at me for several minutes before finally getting my attention.  She laughed and told me how idiotic I was for having music on with earplugs in and using loud tools. 

I enjoy a good debate but I stood there with my earplugs out realizing just how loud the music was and I had absolutely no argument for her at all.  This, of course, got me thinking and for the last few weeks I've been trying to figure out a way to defend my subterranean noise.

I still have basically no argument for it.  Music is important to me and it is particularly important for me to have around while I'm working.  I rarely focus on the music while I work and when I'm zeroed in on my work I do not consciously know what's playing...but somehow it is important.  Years ago in my dad's welding shop I tried turning off the old radio and I made terrible decisions in problem solving.  From that point on, music has been a must in the studio.  But since these tools are terrible for your ears, you have to wear ear protection naturally the music must be turned up louder.  I suppose that's my argument, but I do not feel it is strong enough to take upstairs yet.  I should probably look into why music helps me but right now I have sculptures to make. 

 That same day I noticed what I thought was condensation on the speakers. 

 A closer look showed that it was not moisture but tiny particles of steel pulled out of the air by the magnets inside the speakers.    Proper ventilation is very important boys and girls.  No wonder I rust when I get wet. 

A barely related postscript:

One of the things I enjoyed about Don Miller's books is that he provided a list of artists and albums he listened to while writing.  I think there's some sort of connection to be made between the music and the inspiration but again....that's research for another day. 

But in the spirit of documenting such things, here's what has been seeping around my earplugs this summer:

 The Way We Move by Langhorne Slim

 The Whole Love by Wilco

 Underwater Sunshine by Counting Crows

and pretty much everything by Clem Snide

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