The letter. More often than not, it is not what we listen to that is beautiful but the listening itself. I was on the line taking morning sessions on the stopping all stations to Upfield. I was listening to two young woman-talking shoes and spray tans. They slouched, legs akimbo, sharing an Ipod and cigarette. Their voices were unusually melodious. It was mid morning and I had an appointment at Batman at midday with a forty-something academic, having a crisis. After forty-odd-years he discovered that his life was complete nonsense. Frankly, I could have told him that this was a realization that hit us all eventually, but he wouldn’t have believed me. If he did nothing, concentrated on his garden, took up crosswords, his problems would soon vanish. He had been singing socialist folk songs from the age of six. He furthered his unhappiness by moving west to live with the ‘real people’. He subdued his monsters with whisky, rock bands, saving the world through responsible architecture and slaughtering his own livestock in his garage. I didn’t get the connection. He was too cheap to hire a proper psychiatrist and that’s where I fit in. One of his doctorial students recommended me; the outsourcing councilor. Four fifteen-minutes sessions later we seemed to be getting nowhere. It was like we were talking in different languages. Today, I would tell him there was no expedient prescription for happiness, bar acceptance of one’s shifting destiny.