I am the first to arrive for a showing of Interstellar, the new film by Christopher Nolan. Stupidly early for what is, by today’s standards, a very long film, I have settled down to writing this post.
Tuesday, as I am often reminded by a friend at work, is writing night so, to avoid further admonishment for abandoning my pen, I am writing this using an old-fashioned pen and notepad (the paper variety, not the Microsoft product). I am still the only one here with barely a whisper from the air-conditioning for company.
Today at work, at eleven o’clock, we were “invited” to participate in two minutes of silence to commemorate those who have served and fallen in the conflicts that have infected the Human race over the last one hundred years.
All invited took part.
In those two minutes, I tried to imagine the exact opposite of silence. As even the traffic fell quiet, I tried to imagine that lethal cacophony to which, one hundred years ago, humanity (or perhaps the lack of it) tossed its future; I tried to feel the inconceivable maelstrom of noise into which the blood, bones and spirits of soldiers were lost.
When a city falls silent, I find it almost unbearable. In Jeff Wayne’s “War of the Worlds”, there is a bit where the Journalist (played by Richard Burton) describes that moment when the last Martian stops howling:
“Suddenly, the desolation, the solitude, became unendurable. While that voice sounded, London had still seemed alive. Now, suddenly, there was a change, the passing of something and all that remained was this gaunt quiet.”
Somehow, noise is synonymous with activity, industry, LIFE. But back in 1914, and again in all the theatres of war since, it must be silence that those present have sought – an ending of the crack of gunshots, the bursting of shells and the music of destruction.
In this case, the most fitting way to say to all those who serve and have served – thank you.