Tuesday, 4 December 2007


Music is my life. It's something that you see on countless social networking site profiles everywhere. People say it and I'm not sure what it means. So I've been thinking alot about it lately and I've come to the conclusion that music isn't my life at all.

But let's get one thing clear from the outset. I love music. It enriches my existence more than I can possibly say. An example - yesterday I had my ipod on shuffle and Nothing But Flowers by Talking Heads came on - a song I would never have specifically picked to listen to. And then I heard the lyrics:

Years ago I was an angry young man I'd pretend that I was a billboard. Standing tall by the side of the road I fell in love with the beautiful highway.

It literally made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. There couldn't be a more thoughtful, caring, poetic, generous admonishment to tubthumping youngsters anywhere. And all this set to Johnny Marr's glorious guitar, ringing like a bell, coupled with the best rhythm section in rock history. Make no mistake - every single day there are moments when music fills me with complete and utter joy and love.

But music isn't my life. In fact - there are moments when I just want it to go away. I hate it on a Sunday morning, for example. I just want quiet. I'd rather listen to the sound of the waves when I'm walking on the beach. I like to go drinking in places where there is no music, just the gentle hum of conversation and the chinking of glasses occasionally. And is there anything more irritating than being forced to listen to music that you despise? Well, yes, of course there is, but sometimes it doesn't feel like it. At the moment my bugbear is that (I think) Killers song with the line it's indie rock 'n' roll to me. There are few things in the cultural world more lame than that song. And that's another reason why music isn't my life - though I hate that song and hate it when colleagues at work put it on, it doesn't inspire huge feelings of ire in me. I don't really mind - I know that it will be over in four minutes at the most and then I can forget about it.

You hear people who act as though it really is the apocalypse when they are forced to listen to a song they don't like - or even a song they don't know. These are usually people who like to use music as a weapon - to prove to people how much cooler than everybody else they are. Sorry - but music can't do that. Liking Devo doesn't make you cool - Devo are cool, but you aren't. There are millions of Devo fans all over the world (including me) and they can't all be the coolest person ever. Fact of life I'm afraid. Conversely, thinking that the end of the third act of Mozart's Marriage of Figaro is one of the most sublime musical inventions ever (as I do) does not make me naff. I reckon the only people who would think it does would be people who haven't heard it and who don't want to hear it. That just makes me more musically literate than you, I'm afraid.

So. No. Music isn't my life. I'd hate to have to live without it, but it's not that high up on the list of things I would rather die than give up. I fell in love with the beautiful highway, I'm afraid.

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