A beautiful silence…

POSTED 19.04.2015

Image credit: Hugo Glendinning

Good evening, given the sad recent events I think now’s a good time to have a really, really beautiful silence.

Yes. Something that can really bring people together.

We’re going to have a really, really beautiful silence. It’s going to be beautiful, it’s going to be like the kind of silence you may have experienced for yourselves, if you can imagine being in the countryside at night, miles from anywhere, lying on your back in a field or something, just looking up at the stars and there’s no one else around, just you and this beautiful silence. It’s going to be like that.

Or we could have the kind of silence that happens with one of those actors. You know, he just finishes the show and he goes backstage and he doesn’t even take a shower, he just puts his clothes on really fast and then he runs out into the foyer and runs right up to his friends, very enthusiastic and he says, “So, guys, what do you think of the show?” and there’s just this beautiful silence.

Yeah. Yeah. That’s beautiful. Or what about we have the kind of silence that just happens when you are waiting for an elevator. The doors open and you ask the people, are they going up and they say, “No, we’re going down”…

Yeah. That’s beautiful. What about we have that kind of silence that happens where you’re at home just watching TV. You grab the remote to change channel and you accidentally hit the MUTE button and then there’s just this beautiful silence.

Yeah. Or there’s that kind of silence that happens at a dinner party sometimes, you know where the guests are all sitting round a table, they’re joking and having a good time and one of them gets up to use the bathroom and while they’re in there they can hear everyone in the dinning room, they can hear all the laughter and when they’ve finished in the bathroom they come back and as soon as they open the dining room door, the laughter just stops.

There’s also that kind of silence that happens on a family outing sometimes. They’re all on the motorway and dad’s behind the wheel and they’re all singing in the back. And then suddenly dad makes a little mistake and the car swerves off the motorway and it rolls down the bank and it goes over and over and over and eventually it comes to a rest. And dad, he’s a bit shaken and he says, “Is everyone OK?”

That’s beautiful. Or what if, we have that kind of silence that happens when a family decides to turn off the life support machine. They decide to turn it off and everybody’s right there, gathered in the hospital room and the father is laid out in the coma and the doctor, he looks to the family and he says, “Are you sure you want to do this?” And the two kids are there, quietly crying and the mother he looks over to her new boyfriend and then looks back to the doctor and he just goes, “yeah” and the doctor he goes over to the machine and its like, “Pschhhhh, whoooooo, Psschhhwwww whooooooo” then he just makes this one little click and its like “Pschhhhh, whoooooo, Psschww whooo.” [Getting softer.]

That’s beautiful.

Um, so, should we do it?

Let’s do it, let’s do it. Let’s have two minutes, two minutes beautiful silence.

Sorry, sorry, which? Which one? Which one do you want us to do?

I think people can choose. They can choose their favourite one, and just do it.

Right. We’re all happy. [Announcing] It’s 0.0 and we’ll do until 0.0. We’ll do two minutes beautiful silence, alright?

Do you want me to time it? I’ve got a stopwatch on my mobile.

He’s got a stopwatch.

It’s OK. I have a watch. I’ll use my watch.

Yeah, but this is digital – get it exactly right.

Digital. It’s digital.

My husband gave me this watch and I’d kind of like to use in the show.

Yeah. But that’s analogue. This is digital – it’s a lot more accurate.

It would be more accurate.

There’s kind of sentimental reasons I’d like to use this watch.

It’s digital. Get it right to two hundredths of a second.

OK. I think sometimes sentiment is more important than accuracy Richard.

OK. It’s um…

I could time it as backup. Just in case your watch malfunctions.

Great, thanks. [to audience] So. It’s 0.0 now and we’ll go to 0.0. Two minutes beautiful silence. Ten, nine, eight, seven…

Sorry, sorry. Do you want any music in the silence? Just a bit of music underneath?

Richard. Richard. It’s a silence.

It’s going to be a bit boring without music isn’t it?

It’s not going to be boring. It’s going to be beautiful.

It’s perfect – 0.0 to 0.0. Here we go Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one…

No, no, no. It hasn’t started yet. You haven’t said zero. When you count down you have to say the zero. Otherwise it hasn’t started yet.

Zero, zero.

Has it started yet?

Yes. I’ve said zero. It’s started.

Turn it off. I’m not going to say anything.

I can’t turn it off. It hasn’t got a switch.

Disconnect it.

Sorry. What?

Disconnect it.

[To audience] Shhhhhh, shhhhhhhh…. [Testing mic] One. Two. One-Two…. [To audience] Shhhh, shhh


[To audience] Shhhhhh!

There’s a bit of a buzz on this speaker, don’t know if you want to start the silence again?

We can fix it. Take about 10 minutes then you can start the silence again.

[Gestures that they will continue rather than start again.]

Not really a silence then is it?

[Pointing to the first rows of audience near him.] They can hear it.

[Again gestures that they will continue.]

Suit yourself.

To audience, signalling the end of the silence.] Thank you.

It’s not finished yet. The silence isn’t over. There’s another 26 seconds to go. Digital.

Do you want to do those 26 seconds? Or just forget about it?

Let’s do it. Let’s just try to do these next 26 seconds in silence. Please.

One-two. One-two. [As if the horn blast might have damaged the mic.]

Thank you.