Hello world! My name is Dandy Darling

We bumped into Julian on Instagram after we heard them singing Calmer's praises. We were instantly wooed - not only by one of our favourite drag names. Here's Julian's story.

Find out more about Calmer here

My name is Dandy Darling and I’m a drag king from Norwich. On my off days, I moonlight as a regular human artist named Julian. My passions are performance and creativity – which I channel into hosting my own events for other drag kings. I like to stay involved local LGBTQ+ community and when not working on my artistic endeavours, I’m interested in activism, cooking, staying active and spending time with my friends and community.

Can you tell us a little bit about how you process sensory information – for example do you find you are particularly sensitive to certain noises or sounds?

Yes – I struggle with auditory processing and so will watch shows or movies with the subtitles on to understand the spoken word. I’m autistic and have ADHD so I’d say it’s linked to that – often, I have to ask others to repeat what they JUST said – but luckily most of my friends are also neurodivergent, so they are understanding. The sounds that bother me most are tinny or have high frequencies, such as electrical humming and clicking or tapping noises, along with overlapping chatter.
There’s a myth that neurodivergent people don’t enjoy loud noises – I love concerts and drag shows – It’s more the complexity or pitch of certain sounds which bother me, or noises being unexpected. I am a former bartender, and this was an environment with some particularly intrusive sounds – smashing glasses, conversations coming from all angles, scraping plates etc. I’ve found workplaces to be some of the most difficult environments for me.

When did you notice you had sound sensitivities?

I knew from when I was a kid - my family used to laugh at me because I was scared of the vacuum cleaner! I found the noise too loud and overwhelming so I would hide behind the sofa when it was time to clean. I also used to find it hard to calm down after hearing extremely loud noises like sirens or car horns – they would make me scared and on edge, sometimes triggering a sensory meltdown – I might cry, or be unable to communicate with words.
How did you hear about Flare and Calmer?

I found out about Flare through an advert on Instagram.

Could you tell us how Calmer helped you and environments you like to use them?

I always use Calmer when I’m in drag. The earbuds are subtle and I own the mint green colour so they are difficult to lose track of. When I experience sensory overload, it affects my concentration quite severely and lowers my tolerance for social interaction. With Calmer, I don’t forget my choreography and I can work on engaging with the audience as I perform. Networking is key to my career as an artist, so wearing Calmer also helps me to enjoy socialising at these events – I can better understand what others are saying and it feels easier to separate important sounds from distracting background noise. I wear them pretty much all the time – being bothered by busy roads, kitchen sounds and electrical humming are a thing of the past, and I would highly recommend to anyone with similar sensitivities who works in a busy environment too. I always notice when I’ve forgotten to put them in as I notice myself becoming stressed more easily.

They really do as the name says – make you feel calmer. This can have some more broad-reaching effects – for example, I deal with chronic muscle pain – but when I’m generally more relaxed, the tension in my body decreases. My mood and anxiety are generally improved too when I don’t have to worry that sounds will overwhelm me in public.

Do you use any other Flare Audio products?

I also own a pair of the SLEEEP earplugs. I live on a street with a rather busy nightlife, and I’ve found they block a lot of the sound and ensure a good night’s rest, as they are also super comfy!

I also made sure to grab a Calmer carry case for my keys in a bright red – I love bold colours out and I am also prone to losing things – so it works perfectly for me!