Monday 10th November

Good morning! It's Monday already, so let's get straight to it ...


She had gone to the shop to buy some noise. She wanted disco dancing, pounding feet, screams. But then she saw the bottle of green cool silence on special offer.


  1. She hadn't heard silence since before her divorce. The moments between sighs, the rolling of eyes, the echo after a door slam. Sod the cost! She picked up the noise.

  2. The light is red on the Dutchman's ship
    The stage is set, the silence thick
    And tense, only the dead sailors moan,
    When in steps Aida through the mobile phone.

  3. ‘Handbag Dancing’ was a mating ritual in nightclubs in the late 20th century. It symbolised the containment and unlocking of chastity, usually on a Saturday night, up against a wall.

  4. Have you noticed that when it rains, it’s more peaceful than silence? Not torrential rain, or sea-blown mizzle. That gentle, steady patter of rain on leaves and roofs and lives.

  5. Whenever he left the house
    she turned off the television
    or the radio,
    turned down the lights,
    walked barefoot
    through the day,
    now, at night,
    she listens for his breath.

  6. Tipping the bottle, the golden-flaked silence snow-muffled New York. Outside, a man with a paint pot and pointed shoes turned, twisted, hip-flicked and shouldered, bemused at the fresh-minted beatless sidewalk.

  7. Mellow night overhangs the parking lot
    full moon hung low on the dome
    of the sky
    your arm around my shoulders
    a jacket against the cold
    your silence
    a promise.

  8. Behind the counter a hand appears to have lost itself inside a jar of pear drops. A sucking sound, before his purple-veined eyes surface. 'Thieves! They can't miss it.'

  9. All he wanted was to go back to the silence; to the dark places where he felt comfortable but the light stopped him. “Light will kill you,” his mother had said, formless in the darkness that surrounded them, holding him on all sides in a caress that would last until he was old enough to venture out on his own.

    It hadn’t been long before he’d been caught; trapped in a green glass bottle with a hand-written label, herded like a sheep by a nimbus of light brighter than the moon. After what seemed like an eon, he’d been taken to a strange place full of comforting darkness and given a skin to wear. it smelled of human. Then it had been forced back into the light.

    Wearing the skin made it bearable. He trembled inside, afraid the suit would tear and cast him into unforgiving sun. So far, so good, though these bags of water and flesh, so hideous in aspect, worried him. Couldn’t they see he wasn’t one of them?

    He‘d found one of their young. It was what the Light had commanded he do and he had carried it into the light, heading for the cool silence of the forest and the path home but he’d been found and questioned and then several of the bags of meat and water had chased him and taken away his skin, leaving him naked and vulnerable and without the human young. The Light would be angry. The bags were angry. Everyone was shouting at him and the blue light hurt him and then at the edge of the light he could see others of his kind, though they neither moved nor spoke.

    He ran, enduring the searing pain of the brightness to enter the healing cool of the darkest shadows.

  10. Her biggest decision was how the walk home that evening in the dark would finish; dancing in the arms of her new found true love, or ending in a rape.


  11. His silence was silvery blue like that moment, that extraordinary gap in time after a virtuoso performance of a piece by Bach or Rachmaninov; even after a quarter of a century Maria longed for those moments and loved to recall his sweet face. He was married now to a fine woman just as Maria was married to a funny man. It was the noise of her husband’s humour that most infuriated her. She liked the effect, but not the lack of subtlety, the performance; it was the same with sex, she most enjoyed slow nakedness, silent, languid quiet dancing love, the kind that imagines air is as heavy an element as water.

    If she could buy one afternoon of silence it would be the one she had shared with him so many years ago when she was beautiful in her desire for him and unaware of it. This morning is the same kind of morning, heavy and grey with rain, cold and unkind with its callous wind.

    Maria climbs back into bed. The children are at school and her husband in his office. She wonders about Will; if he’s still quiet and beautiful. She dreams of kissing his forehead and brown eyes, running her open lips along his broad shoulders; oh but she loathes herself for her dreams. How useless this is she tells herself in disbelief. She switches on the radio and hears Tracey Chapman singing about a revolution. Perhaps she’ll sign up for a dance class, or join a choir or find someone who will make love to her in absolute silence on dull winter mornings. There is a rattle at the window as the window cleaner’s ladder thuds on the glass. She pulls the yellow curtains closed. The phone is ringing. She hides beneath the warm covers.

  12. As a beauty conscious mother,
    She preferred dancing then,
    Child’s crying she construed
    a detestable noise, abhorred
    rocking cradle, child bearing
    a burden, now God silenced
    her womb , her abode.

  13. Silence in the bargain bin where it belongs. Give me red rock guitars, black beating drums, dirty bass notes like a splat against a windscreen, the sounds take me away.

  14. She never could resist a BOGOF, no matter how useless. Once home, she opened both bottles.

    Remember maths at school? Two negatives make a plus. What ensued was a riot.

  15. Musicality is not his strength. His feet are cemented, he sings out of tune,
    his laughter: a fighter through the sound barrier. But the sound of his breath: a song.

  16. How did it work? Was one supposed to drink it or simply drip teardrops on to the earlobes? Without easily understandable instructions she would be better off with boogie woogie.

  17. The bottle of silence was on special offer. She drank it all in one go, hoping it would be enough. It almost was, but it couldn’t drown out her hangover.

  18. She lit an aromatherapy silence candle to stop him snoring – it did. Now they’re both on an emergency waiting list for new voices, even the cat has lost its miaow.

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  20. I used to work in the Noise Factory: repetitive, tiring work, but a steady job and we produced quality noise.

    Then it was all outsourced abroad.

    Now the factory’s silent.

  21. The green gin bottle called to her from its place on the supermarket shelf.Its glass reminding her of the ice she will pour it over. Obilivan from the cold.

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  23. The look on her face spoke louder than the words of her mouth. She might say “That was disgusting,” but I knew what she really meant was “YOU are disgusting.”

  24. His words still echo in her mind: you're useless, you're nothing, you're such a waste of space. But with every swallow they grow quieter until they are almost gone... almost.

  25. Delivery will be when you're least expecting it. On arrival, it is likely to be a little dirty, slimy even, but that's normal; just wipe it off and wrap it up in something (you can buy the appropriate wrapping in specialised retail outlets) and then transfer it to a box. Initially, we would recommend a clear plastic box so that you can see it clearly from any angle. Later, when you get home, you can move it to one with bars. Don't worry, it won't fall out or anything.

    Try to keep it clean as prevention is always better than cure. A quick wipe down is acceptable as long as you make sure it is thoroughly cleaned at least once a week. Feel free to adorn it with the latest accessories but be warned against making it look cheap. Try not to make any modifications or to customize it in any way as this will inevitably result in devaluation.

    Servicing is likely to be expensive but unavoidable and this should be carried out at regular intervals. As it ages, the intervals should become longer but beware of unexpected bills from accidental damage or excessive wear and tear due to misuse. Keep a record of all the work done. When you come to pass it on to someone else, they are bound to want to know its history. Be honest, otherwise you'll only get it back again.

    Remember that getting one is a commitment not to be taken lightly. Above all, you should be aware that returns are not permitted, not even upon the production of a receipt. Furthermore, the Customer Services Department are less than useless so don't try and go there. We regret that there are no instructions to accompany it. So there you go. Your son. Good luck.

  26. It seemed a bargain, a genuine offer hiding amongst the spam. An empty bottle of nothing, for nothing. Disquiet lurked on the label: even Tibetan quiet is not genuine silence.

  27. It was unlike her to choose silence, especially on a Sunday morning, but the glade called to her. Cooing doves, humming bees, and nodding daisies were enough church for her.

    Valerie Gregg

  28. From Gerry:

    On day ten, it's time to pause and reflect. What a relief to surface from fathoms deep, laying octopus eggs in grapelik clusters, while he was filling his eight tentacles with poison. To say goodbye to the old lady mourning on the deserted platform, from where lines vanish to points and no sweet warm smells can comfort.
    What a panic when I lost the bag full of lorgnettes, monocles and pince nez. Then on the news came the announcement, a new attempt on a speed record is to be made. And I received a message in a dream three days before. My own fragile vehicle, thought to be amphibian, very slowly submerged into a lake. Is that clairvoyance?
    On the first Wednesday came delight. Auberon, that shyest of poets, seized a microphone and found an audience!
    Worries clouded my rather fine description of the gradual erosion of a marble egg, through too much stroking. And the tiny Mexican dolls retired to the dolls house, exhausted from giving away too much free therapy.
    Dear Honeysuckle, why do you persist in clinging to any old wooden planks, brickwork or stones in a wall for support?
    To be frank, modern life is all too much for me. On the tenth day, clicking on to the daily message, I see Oprah is Reunited With Dude; and something smarter than Botox, works within minutes.
    No space left for Elizabeth David, Tried Favoutites or Constance Practice, my three teachers. Nor how grandma got so excited by a witch's hat, a wig of long thick hair and liberal coatings of make up, she took hold of a besom and flew up into the sky. And found her true vocation.
    But I never resist a special offer.
    So I grab the bottle of cool green silence.

  29. It was perfect. She wished she could bottle it.
    Part of its beauty was knowing its life was short.
    Like flowers.
    She treasured these moments before it slipped away forever.

  30. Her hand shook as she reached for the bottle. She knew she should stop, but she couldn't seem to muster the strength. She'd only fail again, so why bother trying?

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  32. The emptied bottles multiplied outside her back door – each one silencing his voice for a few hours.
    As she smashed them into the bottle bank, their crashes shouted his accusations.

  33. The music infects her body like a virus. Her toes begin to tap, and her hips begin to sway. She raises her hands to the sky, and her soul sings.

  34. From mary atkinson...

    If only we could buy silence of mind over the counter. Just think of all the delicious ways we could spend those long painful hours dedicated to meditation and mindfulness.

  35. An impulse purchase. Not thought through. That ride home with its hollering, wolf-whistling every passerby. Muffled, now, hidden in a bedside drawer, another guilty secret waiting for batteries to die.

  36. It was the silences she enjoyed the most; the times when their tongues ran out of words but their hearts continued speaking. Together they had discovered how to truly connect.

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  38. ‘My name is Alison and I’m an alcoholic, NOT!’ She laughs to herself. She doesn’t need those silly meetings. She doesn’t have a problem. Sometimes a little voice tells her that a drink isn’t a good idea, but a bigger voice always says that it is. Tonight, she’s going to go to a club, meet somebody and have a good time.

    On the way home, the special offer in the supermarket catches her eye. Buy one, get one half price. The liquid trembling inside the green gin bottle promises to rekindle the excitement she remembers. She only drinks for ‘the buzz,’ but, these days, it never seems as good. Maybe the answer is to drink more. The special offer challenges her to try.

    At home she gets ready to go out. She takes a bath and takes a drink. Puts on her makeup and takes a drink. Gets dressed and takes a drink. She realises that the first bottle is empty and wonders where it went. Good job she bought another.

    Suddenly she feels scared. She doesn’t know why, but she knows something bad is about to happen. She puts on some music to drown out her thoughts. The songs talk to her, telling her that she’s worthless, sad and unlovely. If she goes out tonight, the people won’t like her. They’ll hurt her and laugh. Surely, it’s better to stay in and write some poetry, or maybe just think.

    Like the day before and the day before that. She turns off the music and the lights. In the darkness, she sits alone in silence. She won’t go out tonight, but tomorrow she will. Yes, tomorrow she’ll change, she’ll find happiness then. She won’t buy a bottle tomorrow, well maybe just one, but only in case a friend comes around.

  39. 10.ll.08.

    The noise from the top flat rarely stopped till 3am. With a secondhand trumpet at 4am she blew blasts of discordant noise until exhausted. Silence now and she slept thankfully.

    Mary Rose.

  40. From Douglas Bruton


    Abigail lay awake in the near dark. She’d been asleep, earlier. Now she was not. Closing her eyes and opening them again made no difference to the dark. No shape, no edge, no end. Only noise. The ringing of bells that never left her, never varied, not in the still hours of the night. This night. Every night, for years now.

    She shifted in the bed, rolling out of the warmth she had made, searching for the cool that was hidden in her sheets, somewhere. Then she was unmoving, her breath shallow, and sometimes held, and Abigail listening, for all the slight adjustments the house made around her, small cracks and sighs that reached through the ringing.

    Abigail felt for the switch by her head and broke the dark with a sudden yellow light that made shadows in all the corners of her room. It was funny how the light also affected the bells, how they played a little quieter in her head when the dark was not near. Still there, but a little more faint.

    Some sleepless nights she felt like screaming, or singing, or just talking. The sound she made those nights, silencing the bells at last. Drowning them out, at least. Briefly.

    Abigail craved silence, the close whisper of no-sound, the absence of all vibration. But knowing it could never be – not till the grave was her bed – she made do with noise, all noise. The radio always playing, the thump thump of music an antidote to the madness of bells. The windows never shut, letting in the noises of the busy street, better on wet days or windy.

    And this night, this slow still night, Abigail was crying, and that made a difference too, like laughing would, only she never laughed now, not on her own.

  41. He lived in a world of silence. It was an incredible thing to watch the world around him and hear nothing of its beauty. To hear only sounds of silence.

    Jamieson Wolf

  42. Abstinthe, slotted spoons and sugar cubes. A splash of cold water mingles sweetness and bitters. Now, see the mixture turn cloudy? A perfect recipe, she thought, for marriage gone sour.

  43. He arrived, unaware of the lipstick on his collar. She saw. Her green eyes flashed. Her icy stare giving him a hint of the jealous silence he was to endure.

  44. It was a shock to realise that lost youth was not what she needed, but pure tranquillity. Settling back in her chair, facing the western sky she opened the bottle.



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