We use music for all kinds of reasons. The advent of the portable personal player, beginning with the Walkman, has allowed us to take our favs as painkiller while exercising or as boredom killer during those epochs in the doctor's waiting room. Now, of course, you can watch a movie, listen to a book, look at photos-practically anything is possible, as I said, to kill boredom and block out other people.
[The 80's Fripp stares at the two Revox machines whilst making Frippertronics. Thinking aloud, he saith: How can I further kill any commercial possibility?]
Last week, I decided to use my iPod to help alleviate the drudgery of buying groceries at Kroger. At one time, places of commerce used Musak-the musical equivalent of Valium designed to calm the consumer, to lull them into spending money in happy consumer land. While Muzak was an abomination with occasional hilarious results (hearing John Lennon's Watching the Wheels as elevator schlock), today's stores try to rev you up with Today's Most Predictable Mass Produced Country Hits. There, while pondering mayonnaise, Faith Hill will be railing away about her love life as plastic Barbie love doll. Me not care. It is torture. Soon to follow are every faux cowboy McSinger hits all designed to cause pain. This isn't background music, it's akin to a root canal.
This time I decided on some truly apocalyptic music for my mayonnaise gathering-Robert Fripp's Let the Power Fall. Somehow this music, being so off kilter from Kro-god, was perfect. Fripp's searing and wailing guitar made the grocery run seem bearable-even funny. That's my recommendation to you-play music that's entirely contrary to your environment. The results may surprise you.
People always hate others who truly do their own thing-like so rudely shutting out others with music. How dare they! We don't like when people do something different from us. It's as if we despise them from being so unselfconscious. I always get a few choice "looks" when the ear buds are in.
It's as if somehow I am an impaired, irresponsible idiot who must be tolerated by the hateful women shoppers who take this arduous task very seriously. Women, without any variance, are always the rudest, the most hateful of grocery store shoppers. Guys wonder around with blank looks; carrying a list from High Command. One woman just paused behind me (as if listening to music somehow impairs vision), stood there, waiting to see which bewildered direction I was going to take, gave me a look as she blew passed me. A great citizen, to be sure.
Rednecks have a hard time processing the need for portable technology. If they only could see how all voices, especially ones closest to you, could be silenced so easily by the entire Lin-erd Skin-erd catalog, I am convinced they would join in the fun. Until then, they judge (and have no fun).
So may your next dreary grocery run a little bit easier with your choice of psychotic music. Early Pink Floyd, some deep electronica from Dom F. Scab, Syd Barrett is always a laugh-anything weird.