Finding quiet in a madding crowd

I’m currently sitting in the midst of a giant shopping centre, laptop on knee writing my News of the World column (or I was until I interrupted it now to write this).

The place is packed with shoppers, lunchers and browsers – babies are crying, multi-lingual conversation springs from every corner – yet bizarrely I find it a great place to write, far easier than at my desk in MSE Towers (even though I’ve my own glassed off section).

It’s tough to work out why. Of course part of the reason is I’m isolated from the other elements of my work – the MSE team, the internet, questions and discussions – and when writing, that solid chunk of focused time is really important.

Yet I think I’ve always bizarrely found it better to work in unspecific noise rather than silence. Way back, when doing my A levels, I was always able to concentrate better when I had the TV on.

And maybe the same applies now – a subconscious feeling of isolation in a crowd seems to be my perfect writing environment.

Am I alone on this? And does anyone know why?

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