I was at the cinema last week – there are so many good films out there that I just have to see – and as usual I was early. This was not just because of my anxieties about being late and my love of the ‘what’s on next week’ but also about the timing of the trains into New Brighton. So there I was waiting for the fun to start when I realised that the background music was hideous. First there was the woman scream-singing about breathing and then the whiney bloke wanting to know if the feelings flowed both ways. What?!? The words were banal and the music untuneful.
I am not a music fan – I pretended when I was a teenager but that was more peer pressure than anything. And then I gave the game away by liking Gilbert O’Sullivan. But in my defence there were some interesting lyrics which told a story and it was set to music. I don’t suppose there is anything wrong in this active listening to the words and music – although it can be a bit distracting when shopping, waiting for the film or eating a meal.
I wish I could tune it out but once I have latched onto the sound I find it impossible not to listen, (and listen good) to the words and try to work out what is happening. It can be distracting. Sometimes when I am shopping in Home Bargain I have to stop what I am doing to fully appreciate the awfulness of the music. However it might be just our local branch that has a particular skill in selecting the most tortured tracks and heartfelt ballads.
I am not leaping on the noise-abatement thing. Background music dulls the silences that would accompany our communal activities. I just hate how something that is intended to ease a situation, provide innocuous entertainment and mask the conversation of others presents itself front and centre in my ears.
I suppose wearing headphones is an option.