Monday, April 27, 2009

A Cream Egg Left Too Close To The Fire

It has been a weekend when I have been forced to confront prejudice and preconceptions. Whilst there is nothing wrong per se with one's own prejudices and preconceptions - other people's are an entirely different kettle of fish - events occasionally conspire to make one question them and it can be an uncomfortable process. In case you think I am about to suddenly announce a decision to start buying the Daily Mail or supporting Manchester United or receiving religious instruction : fear not. I am talking music here.
For most of my life I have been a lover of jazz and, as with all things, I am a faithful lover whose eyes (or ears) rarely stray. During the years when I was deaf I shunned music like a Trappist monk at a girl band convention, but during my listening years I have seldom been happier than when Billie Holiday (or Gerry Mulligan, or Miles Davis, or Duke Ellington etc. ) was going in one ear and not coming out of the other. I avoid other types of music because "I don't like them".
So picture the scene : it is Saturday night at the White Horse Karaoke. A bloke I don't know (smaller than me, nearly as fat and just as old) is singing some country and western song about a love-sick truck driver burning rubber on the highways from Denver to Des Moines. My wife turns to me and whispers in my ear, "this is the kind of music I really like". I am shocked, how can anyone I have lived with for the last 40 years confess to such crimes? I decide to pretend that I didn't hear the comment, I have always been a great believer in denial. So there I  am sipping my pint of Tetleys with a sour look on my face when with horror I suddenly realise that my foot is tapping in beat with the music. By the end of the song tears well up in my eyes as the story unfolded of the truck drivers' young wife being accidentally crushed beneath his Firestone tires as he drove through Tucson, Arizona.
As I recall this on Sunday morning I hope that it might have been an alcohol induced dream. To take my mind off things I tune into CUR 1350, the radio station operated by Cambridge University. My good friend Tim Atkin is doing a Sunday morning radio show called Two Wise Men. It is a mixture of contemporary music and talk and Tim's on-air persona is a kind of cross between Alan Bennett and Alan Partridge. I fully intend to confine my listening to just the chat between the records but I don't. I listen to the music. My foot begins to tap in tune with some Glasgow Art-House Band and tears well up in my eyes at the rapping of some mono-denominated artiste (well, not quite, but you get the idea).
So what is happening here? It appears that my musical prejudices are melting like a cream egg left too close to the fire. Who knows where it will lead to, but I am anxious to explore the possibilities. I therefore invite anyone who is interested to suggest some particular track of music that I should listen to. It can be Grand Opera, Punk Opera or Pan's Pipes. I will honestly listen to the first half dozen or so recommendations I receive. I will explore life without musical prejudice. After all, you can only go deaf once can't you?

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