When you sit on the tube and the person next to you is driving you crazy with that high-frequency rattly sound coming from their leaky earplugs, do you point out that they’re a) driving you mad and b) wrecking their ears? Or do you move to another part of the carriage in the hope that it’s iPod-free? Or perhaps you sit there and reflect that you could make a fortune in the hearing-aid business?
And then these same people and their (young) friends pitch up at the table next to you in a pub or restaurant. You begin to wonder if, in London at least, nobody under the age of 30 can communicate in anything other than a monotonous fortissimo. They have lost their interest in (vocal) light and shade because they have blasted their ears with the most unsubtle noise.