Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Most men of my acquaintance are fixated on music or football. The football thing escapes me but the music obsession fascinates me There seem to be three basic types of male music obsessive. Those obsessed with a music style from before they were born, this can be anything from Mississippi Delta blues to the work of Lonnie Donnegan, those fixated on music from the best period of their life, punk, dance, electronica etc, and those who need to be always on the cutting edge, out with the old in with the new. (Warren Ellis is probably a fine example of this type). Men whose obsession lies elsewhere tend to have no specific leaning towards a genre of music.

The third type seems to me to be mainly a way of fighting off the encroachment of old age by being, or at least appearing, hip. Being only a day away from my 43rd birthday I can understand the feeling behind that. The other two groups seem peculiarly self limiting. They focus on one corner of a vast artistic arena to the exxclusion of everything else. Admittedly this behaviour isn't restricted to music, people do the same thing with books, tv, comics films and theatre and in many other areas as well.

I cannot imagine going through life watching only medical dramas, or Sci Fi movies or only reading murder mysteries or reading Archie comics or going to musicals. It would seem as stiffling as only eating cornflakes for breakfast everyday and kippers for tea and only drinking water. The mind craves variety.

When confronted by this closed attitude to other areas I am reminded of my late Grandma who refused to eat brocolli as it was "foreign muck". This sort of closed mindedness verges on intentional stupidity and I find I need to challenge it wherever I meet it. Don't let the human race get any stupider introduce someone you know to a new eperience today.


Pete Ashton said...

I think I'm in the third group and I blame John Peel.

I often find myself in bars full of young people listening to dull retro-throwback dad-rock and I despair. You're young! Stop playing it safe!

Music that young people like should scare me. Instead I find myself unutterably bored.

But then I used to like Oasis back in the day. Maybe music taste is like wine appreciation - needs a mature pallet.

(34 for the record)

Peter Bangs said...

I know what you mean, I despair for my daughter, where's she gonna find music to horrify me when she wants to rebel. She's got ten years maybe for someone to creat a type of music that'll make me throw my hands up in horror. Current music trends just leave me thinking "done it in 1978", "done it in 1983" and so on ad infinitum.

paulhd said...

I just listen to whatever comes my way, and then pass my damning judgement:) I figure my taste is just random.
And yes, most modern music bores me, but I put that down to my age.

Pete Ashton said...

On the plus side I notice that young people (okay, those in their very early 20s) are incredibly open to all sorts of music these days across all ages. There's no cultural barriers for them - it's just music. Whereas we might have defined ourselves by a certain genre they just suck it all up. I quite admire that attitude.

(I realise I'm contradicting myself - I think it all depends on the person. There's plenty of scary stuff for your daughter to like, even if you also like it too.)

Pete Ashton said...

Sorry, one other thing. I remember discovering punk (real DIY punk, not the postcard nonsense I'd seen as a kid) for the first time and being blown away by it. It didn't matter that it was 10-15 years out of date - the fact that I discovered it on my own terms was enough. Hopefully your daughter will have the same experience and feel a sense of ownership of interesting music. In other words, don't force that Einst├╝rzende Neubauten album on her!