Listening III.

thumb_COLOURBOX5661662 - CopyThe art of listening to music has been lost. There are generations of us now who use music as a means of keeping us entertained while we do something else.

Headphones plugged in, we exercise our limbs at the gym or running in the park to give us momentum, it fills the vacuum on the commute, allows us to block out the irritating behaviour of others and avoid the chuggers on the high street. Music has become a useful tool rather than a cherished entertainment in its own right.

Watching Ghost World and High Fidelity feed my own romantic preference for listening to music, that of whiling away hours, laid out on my bed, feet off the end of the mattress tapping away while I examine the CD case and its insert with all the cool artwork and lyrics, the album in question playing out the speakers and filling the room. There’s probably a mug of tea on the side and some sweet tasty treats to munch on; I’m in this for the long haul, not darting between rooms doing chores or using the music as a distraction while browsing or messaging on my smartphone. This for me is an epic use of my time.

Here’s what I was listening to when I wrote this.

Music can take you places, inspires you to dream and makes you question emotions and world views. Its energy can lift you out of a funk, it can bring you peace when outside this cocoon the pressures of the modern world weigh heavy. It is theraputic and motivational all at once, and the art of listening to music, really listening to music and feeling its rhythm, is a truly wonderful experience.

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I remember sitting with a good friend of mine, when we were 12 or 13, listening to Now tapes for hours. We’d play that game where we would challenge each other to guess the song from the opening couple of seconds of the tracks. We were good at it! And it came from hours of listening to music in our rooms when we had an innocently unfathomable and then inappreciable wealth of free time.

I do admit, I’ve found less and less time to partake in such a leisurely and solo pursuit as I’ve ‘grown up’ but the listening of music in the sense where I am detached from everything else and am absorbing the sounds conjured up by incredibly talented imaginations, voices and hands… well, I’ll never stop finding time for it entirely and neither should you if you know what’s good for you. I’m willing to bet that everyone who reads this blog can relate to the distinction between hearing music and really listening and digesting it.

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I’m thoroughly excited. I’ve just celebrated a birthday and have the dosh in purchase what should be an awesome addition and one that will indeed encourage me to find more moments to indulge in this past-time. Decades after the event, as it were, I’ll soon be the proud owner of a record player. I’m joining the vinyl revival; a nostalgic sub-culture that tugs at my own inclinations. And, the best thing is, when you do it this way round, there’s the parents’ extensive back catalogue to raid.

Led Zepplin and The Beatles for starters I reckon…

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