CHRIS THURMAN: The time of a clock without hands
James Webb’s ironic undertaking was absorbed into the bitter cosmic joke we are now all living through
I never took to earphones pre-lockdown. When I was running, sitting on a bus or working at a coffee shop — those were the days! — I always preferred ambient noise. It made me feel superior; while all about me seemed doubly cut off from the world by their phone screens and their bespoke soundscapes, I alone was in touch with my surroundings. I was Mr Mindful, lapping up the call of a bird, the clank of metal on metal, a snippet of conversation, the collective hum of a thousand Doppler effects.
Headphones, too, were anathema to me. Worn outdoors, they seemed some kind of hipster retro fashion statement; worn indoors, they made me think of programming nerds who were “in the zone”, manically writing code while listening to electronica or death metal.