Pop music leaks everywhere like poison gas

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The Hook of Holland

It is impossible to escape it, writes Dalrymple, who is travelling by ferry to Harwich from Hoek van Holland. It is also, he says, hard to avoid

the malign flickering of huge screens, relaying drivel at a volume exactly calculated to make it impossible alike to follow it or ignore it. It is as though the ferry company believes that no passenger can bear to be alone with his thoughts, not for a second. Perhaps it is right; I have noticed that people brought up in an age of continuous entertainment find silence disturbing and even frightening.

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