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  1. I have burst my left eardrum twice in my life. As a result I have lost about 20% of my hearing on that side, with most of the loss in the high end. Normally, this isn’t too great a concern and I have a hearing aid to make up the difference. I do, however, notice the loss when I’m listening to music, podcasts and audiobooks on normal in ear headphones, especially when different instruments and voices are panned to the left and right.

    Aftershokz Air Box

    It was my audiologist who first told me about bone conduction headphones. He pointed out that they are an option for anyone with conductive hearing loss as they bypass the outer ear entirely (in my case, my perforated ear drum), instead feeding the sounds directly to your inner ear through physical vibrations on the jawbone

    After much deliberation, I have recently bought the Aftershokz ‘Air’ bone conduction headphones in Midnight Blue, which are currently priced at £99.95. This is not cheap, and I had high expectations. Now that I’ve spent a week with the headphones, have they met these expectations? Yes and no. 

  2. CulturalWriter and Chopin music SQUAREI am happy to say that I am an old romantic. I am a confirmed Lisztian, having spent the last 8 years researching and writing a book on the pianist. I am also currently streaming myself on weekday evenings learning Chopin nocturnes on my Twitch channel as part of #the100dayproject.

    Surprisingly, my road to Romanticism didn’t start in my piano lessons. Nor did it involve any personal Damascene moments. Instead, it went the way by Proust’s Swann, the local library and a friend’s record collection. In this blog post I’ll map out my own personal path that led me to Liszt.

  3. Picture_20200428_145356964I recently decided to take part in #the100dayproject. My project: to learn a piano piece on camera. I would stream 30 minutes of piano practice at 6pm every evening on my Twitch channel for 100 consecutive days.

    I’m now 20 days in to that project, so it’s a great time to take stock of my progress so far, and reflect on what I'm learning from the experience. 

  4. This Tuesday 7th April 2020 marks the beginning of another season of #the100dayproject. If you don’t know what this is let me bring you up to speed. It’s an opportunity for people to explore their creative sides. Those taking part work on something every day for 100 consecutive days and post their results online. Set up by Lindsay Jean Thomson, it’s a great excuse to get stuck into something creative or to learn something new.

    I’ve decided that I’m going to get involved this year and would love for you to follow my progress.


    The Project:

    CulturalWriter #the100dayprojectI’m going to teach myself to play Chopin’s Nocturne no. 8 in D flat Major on the piano. What’s more, I’m going to do this live on my Twitch channel.

    I love this piece of music and have wanted to learn it for some time. However, I’ve always lacked the impetus. It’s a little beyond my current ability level so will take dedicated practice – which means dedicated time – to master. What better motivation than The 100 Day Project? 

  5. ‘In my snug little room I shall forget the world outside; I shall narrow down to my lot, and possibly come to believe that my valley is the hub of the universe.’

    20200326_152205The need to self-isolate has reportedly sent many people online to buy new books to help them through the weeks ahead. Others have surely returned to the pile of unread novels already sitting on their bedside tables. Now’s the perfect time to catch up with the reading we all feel we ‘should’ have done or have been putting off.

    One book that probably won’t be on anybody’s reading list in the coming weeks of quarantine is Étienne Pivert de Senancour’s Obermann. And yet this is in many ways the perfect self-isolation novel. It is, after all, a work that is largely about self-isolation, or at least the active pursuit of solitude.