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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Noise Abatement

I just wonder if folk out there have similar views to mine or whether I'm now in the 'grumpy old man' category. My gripe is with the sheer extent of music saturation - most of it irritating pap. It seems you can't go into a shop or a store without music blasting out - our local B&Q has music so loud you can't hear yourself think. I complain to the checkout folk but they look at you as if you're crazy.
A lot of TV (especially sport) has loud (louder than the conversation) rock music phased in behind any interviews or stats. Everywhere you go radios seem to be blasting out -- in folk's cars (doof, doof), over gardens, etc. Jobbing builders play radios you can hear streets away. On our local minibus service the drivers have radios going. Recently I experienced that plus a youngster playing an MP3 in the rear of the bus. Unwanted bitonal noise in stereo!!
Most of it is pop/rock with irritating DJs who love the sound of their own drivelling voices. I hate it and moan on about it a lot (which annoys my wife!). I just don't want any noise inflicted upon me that is not of my choosing.
It seems that the perpetrators (shops, TV) conclude this is actually what their customers want and maybe it is. It seems that folk these days just have to have 'noise' around them. But what damage is all this music saturation doing to live music promotion? I mean if you were a store employee who has just done an 8 hour shift with endless background music droning on, would you want to go to a music concert that evening? I don't know the answer and wonder what other music/jazz lovers think about it.
Roly

6 comments :

Lance said...

I remember a Bunny Berigan story. Bunny would go into a bar and, if there was a juke box, he would stuff the coin slot with chewing gum - Wrigley's doublemint - making the machine inoperable.
He said, "There's no reason in the world why some son-of-a-bitch with a nickel should impose his tastes on a roomful of people."
Unfortunately, you can't do that in B and Q!

Steve Andrews said...

Agreed! Extraneous "muzak" played too loud has ruined what little enjoyment remained in watching tele. The worst thing to me is muzak in Pubs. I can't abide it. I go to the pub for (i) a drink (or three) (ii) conversation (hopefully intelligent) without having to bawl into someone's cupped ear (iii) time to sit quietly away from family etc.. If I don't want to talk, I take a book or a 'paper.
Another major problem for most musicians that I know is that if the musical wallpaper is too quiet to hear properly you spend your time trying to identify what's going on, while your partner/wife/acquaintance gets progressively more irritated at your inability to maintain a conversation.
I expect it will spread even further, though - look out for Radio 2-style soft rock behind the sermon (played just too loud) the next time you go to church!

Liz said...

I totally agree Roly. When we go into a café/shop/bar and this dreadful stuff is churning out, I don't mess about, I just go right up to the manager & ask for it to be turned right down. I know I get black looks , but who cares? someone has to make a stand. I used to ask for extractors to be switched on in the smoking days too. I am not a person who "puts up & shuts up" it goes against all I stand for.
Liz

Hil said...

I vote with my feet. Was in a shop in Whitley Bay last week when I realized I just couldn't stand another minute of the awful music. Put the basket down and retreated fast.

Anonymous said...

During the wonderful "Ashes" test matches, whenever Sky Sports showed re-runs of some great batting/bowling moments they had to play beat music in the background!
Also, has anyone noticed that in a TV series like "Lewis" or other 'tec series, whenever the detective takes a surreptitious photograph with a modern camera, the resulting photograph is always in black and white? Also, whenever the cast switches on their 50" flat screen TV the sound comes across like my original transistor radio, circa 1955.
V. Meldrew.

Keith said...

Johnathon Meades in 'Off Kilter' described silence as a modern day luxury and bemoaned constant exposure to 'Drivelling pop noise and burger stench'
Keith, Dunfermline

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