Late last year Spotify presented me with my Top 100 most listened to tracks of 2018 and, as ever when I’m presented with some unknown version of myself, I couldn’t wait to analyse it. Like a dog returning to its vomit, nothing fascinates me more than my own alien excretions. I could spend the rest of my life contorting my brain to view tagged pictures of myself, attempting to understand how others see me. But there it was, above the other great heroes of my year, Leonard Cohen and Ariana Grande. In the number one spot was White Noise. Not just White Noise – “White Noise For Babies”. I had listened to nothing all year as much as I had listened to flat soundscapes designed to soothe infants.
I first came to white noise shortly after I moved to London from Dublin. I left Ireland in a hurry, with no good plans in place, no real reason to have come, and so lived for two years in a constant stressful flux. I worked temp jobs, I sub-let my bedroom, I relied on the generosity of my best friend to top up my Oyster card when I had nothing left. I felt flayed. London left nothing to the imagination. Link