Turn the music up and then they won’t hear the walls crumbling around them

I am sat next to a teenager (which once your 44 could be anyone under 30) and they are sharing their music from their earpieces in act of poisonous, public transport altruism. Don’t think I haven’t taken my revenge by listening to free jazz pretty loudly too, though I accidentally bought those earphones that play the music into your own ears rather than sharing a banal R&B tinny tinnitus. I realise the act of music rebellion has changed. Where once the elderly such as I would have been affronted by “that ghastly racket” of whatever bestial rock n roll was turning the teenagers feral, the way to annoy me is by listening to samey, production line made music. Rather than music that provokes fear of what bestiality could be brought to the fore, the music provokes annoyance because of its unutterable blandness, lyrically and musically. Rather than fear a Strummer led revolution, an overturning of the status quo, it is the fear of music to shop by; consumer drones hiding from any light that doesn’t artificially illuminate the walk to New Look. 

At this point, I should say that I haven’t slept very much and I am grumpy. Did my choice of adjectives give that away?

I don’t think all “the young” just like pap. There is so much triteness that it can be spread across the generations. Gigs and festivals I attend have a broad range of ages and there is a huge amount of musical creativity out there, even though most radio stations try to hide that from you with their shriveled, impotent playlists. We need a few more John Peels enchanting and annoying us. “Specialist” music programmes are any that err from the 23 songs that have been chosen to delight you by the few starched executives who feign some form of hipness by wearing clothes intended for skateboarders and ironing out kinks by focus group flattening. 

It brings me back to that low hum of utilitarian joy, product which you decide you must have, perfectly marketed but designed to instill as little passion as possible. 

Everything is a brand. 

You find a new band. They have created something disconcerting. That song that you don’t know if you like, that you have to keep listening to because you don’t know if you hate it or love it. It is something challenging, not immediate. 

And on the day you realise it is magnificent, an advertising executive realises it can be castrated and anesthetized by being used to sell an Audi or energy drink. The band are lionised and spent in a matter of months.

Everything must be effortless, all can be immediate and forgotten. Delayed gratification just takes too long. Did you notice what you just ate? Did you hear the song you were listening too? Has everything faded to grey as you are just passing through here?

All rebellion will be treated as a demand for a new fragrance or skinnier jeans. 

Queue up, queue up, there’s a sale on and we promise there is nothing you knew wanted and nothing that you need. Are your bags full? is your credit at its limit? You may leave now. Thank you for your custom. 

It is getting harder and harder to pay attention, there’s so much going on. Everything is sleight of hand. It is so hard to know what to do in a culture that is designed to instill attention deficit disorder by constant sensory feedback that to have a thought longer than a haiku creates nausea and dizziness. 

As I leave Hull station I spy someone with a peace symbol on each arse cheek of their flesh hugging, Max Wall imitating jeans. Is the act of sitting on them a rude gesture against the arms trade or is the pattern just something pretty to be sewn on by nimble child seamstresses? 

Didn’t someone once say “turn the music up loud enough and they won’t hear society collapsing around them”? Maybe they did, or perhaps it was more poetic than that. 

I’ve just bought a coffee and I have no idea about the tax arrangements of the establishment. What am I encouraging because I couldn’t wait? I can always google it, there’s always google. They must be kind, they do funny cartoon things on their homepage each day. You can trust their humanity I imagine. 

Sorry you had to got through that, it would never have happened if someone hadn’t started drilling at 7.15. 

I am touring – Uckfield, Eastbourne, Norwich, Falmouth, Bristol, Edinburgh, if you’ve got a town, I am probably coming there some time. All details HERE

also new club nights – Your Culture is Ailing, Dirty Book Club and Pointless Anger running regularly in Northampton, London and Brighton. 

Feel free to put links to odd noises, music etc that you make under this blog post.

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14 Responses to Turn the music up and then they won’t hear the walls crumbling around them

  1. Listening to Kate Bush, with a tummy full of spicy home-made sweet-potato, butternut squash and carrot soup, I feel immune right now. But you’re right, it’s all out there…

  2. Dylan.K.Jones says:

    Hey Robin, my mate Caleb Major has made a song about the generation you are referring to and how it’s being shafted: https://soundcloud.com/calebmajor/caleb-major-lost-generation

  3. Dylan.K.Jones says:

    Just as a footnote to your article, vinyl sales have went up dramatically in the last couple of years so this is either a hipster fad that’ll die out or a reaffirmation that people just want to sit down and listen to music for more than 5 minutes and become engrossed by am artist’s work and they can take solace from the mile-a-minute information saturated world that we survive in now. Or maybe neither?

  4. Dylan.K.Jones says:

    not solace, I meant shelter, you can see why I was confused.

  5. Great blog Robin, have tried to upload some of my odd noises/music but can’t get it to work

  6. Inga says:

    Don’t apologize. I like it your grumpy posts. They give me great sentences like
    “It is so hard to know what to do in a culture that is designed to instill attention deficit disorder by constant sensory feedback that to have a thought longer than a haiku creates nausea and dizziness.”

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