Eddy Says


By | Published on Monday 1 February 2010

One Tune One Cause

With youth comes a sense of invincibility. I miss it, even though it was foolhardy. I mean, try telling all the kids in Great Ormond Street Hospital they’re invincible. Try telling James Theaker from NME Radio, who at the tender age of 22 developed tinnitus.

I remember the carefree days of going to a gig, blasting my eardrums with glorious and beautiful music, then getting home with a ringing in my ears. How long it lasted depended on the volume, I guess. I’d always have trouble getting to sleep, but it would almost always be gone by the next morning or the day after that. I thought it was just part and parcel of going to a gig. Van Halen at Birmingham Civic Centre Coliseum in Alabama set an unbeaten record of about a week, but it always went away eventually. Then, one day, about a decade ago… it didn’t.

I have a constant high-pitched tone in one or both of my ears, and it’s something I carry with me always, wherever I go. I don’t notice it in the day, there’s too much ambient noise in London, even at night. It’s when I go somewhere really quiet, in the countryside, that it really affects me. I lie down to sleep and, with the absence of planes, trains and automobiles, I realise the awful truth that I cannot hear the silence. That lovely sense of total quiet, of blissful peace, is something I will never experience again. Please don’t let this happen to you. It’s so easy to prevent it, just get some earplugs. Please.

If you’re a musician, a DJ, a producer or if you simply go to a lot of gigs or clubs, then you MUST invest in a pair of fitted earplugs. It’s the best £175 I ever spent. I never get that ringing after gigs anymore, and my tinnitus hasn’t got any worse since I started wearing them, it’s even got a little better.

If you’re on a tight budget, then you can get decent off-the-peg earplugs for less than a round of drinks, and even those yellow spongy ones are better than nothing, and you can get them for about as much as a bag of crisps. They’re not ideal sound-wise because they tend to muffle things, but that’s got to be better than getting tinnitus. On the rare occasions that I forget my plugs, I’ve used toilet paper (chewed up a bit and fashioned into a plug), cigarette filters, even skins (chewed up again).

Most of my colleagues know what I’m talking about. Zane has worn fitted plugs for years, and so has Louis Streetlife (but not Stuart, who still thinks he’s invincible). Erol Alkan told me, about a decade ago, that he’d lost 40% of the hearing in one of his ears, and it was him that turned me onto Musicians Hearing Services and Harley Street Hearing, who fitted most of us out with 12db plugs.

How sad then that Erol couldn’t be bothered to come and drop a tune, for such a good cause, the launch party for The British Tinnitus Association’s Tinnitus Awareness Week, which we’re calling One Tune: One Cause. He couldn’t even be arsed to reply, or help spread the word via his website, or anything.

Luckily for us, not every DJ is so unhelpful and uncaring. Adam F, the dnb legend and co-host of Breakbeat Kaos, not only said yes (and on his birthday too), but gave us a paragraph of awesome ideas on how to spread the word, and even to change the law to make clubs more responsible for their customers’ hearing. This man thinks big, and acts with a big heart.

The same goes for everyone else involved. From Leyline Promotions, to all the DJs (Jon Carter, Lottie, Streetlife DJs, Cassette Jam, Wrongtom, James Theaker, etc), the bands (Burn The Negative, Killaflaw, Othello Woolfe, Losers etc), MC Chicka Boo, even Rhodri from Pictureworks, who’s doing the visuals on the night.

Every single one of these people, organisations, bands, have (or have at least one member with) tinnitus. Each one of these DJs and bands will drop ONE TUNE for this ONE CAUSE, on 8 Feb, that’s a week today, at Cargo in London. It’ll be the greatest non-stop mix in clubland, since the 26 DJ A-Z all those years ago, which we put together for a Remix Night with Mark Jones from Wall Of Sound, another huge-hearted soul who alerted me to Lottie (his other half) being a fellow sufferer.

Another thing: If you’re thinking about getting these plugs, please come and get fitted on the night. Paul Checkley from Musicians Hearing Services will be there and will be offering a 20% discount to everybody who comes (so that’s £140 for those plugs for which I paid £175). For the record, I’ve never had a discount on these things, and I’m not paid by The British Tinnitus Association, this is all from the heart and with no strings attached. If you get fitted on the night, you’ll be entered into a draw to win a £250 set of in-ear monitors, too. Wow.

The whole point of this night is to raise awareness. It’s free. Please come down and show some love, and please drop some cash in the bucket for the British Tinnitus Association, who have bugger all funding, yet still manage to pay for a phoneline so people who are having a hard time dealing with their tinnitus have someone to turn to and talk to.

If you can’t come, then please just help spread the word via your Facebook, Twitter or MySpace. We have to get people thinking about their ears. I cannot let one more colleague, friend, fan or fellow music lover fuck up their ears like I did, and like every person on this bill did.

As long as I have the power to do something about it, I’ll communicate, pressure, evangelise, talk, listen, rant, and anything else I can think of to make sure that you don’t find yourself in the same position as me and all these other huge hearted artists on the bill, of never hearing silence again.

Much love,
eddy X

Eddy Says from this edition of the CMU Remix Update.