Thursday, 11 July 2013

The Absurdist Pedant and the Rants Of

There are two daft questions designed to drive me nuts.
“What music do you like?”
The sort with notes should be my sarcastic reply but it isn’t. .
“What do you mean?” I ask.
“Well, do you like classical or jazz or pop?”
“I like music,” I reaffirm.
“Yes but what sort?”
“All sorts.”
“Do you like classical?”
And this is where the pedant in me gallops forth. 
“Do you mean do I like the period when Hayden and Mozart were composing?”
“Well, yes but what about Bach?”
“Which one?”
“J.S of course.”
“He was baroque.”
“But that is classical isn't it? It is all the same thing surely?.”
The facts as far as I see them are these. I like Beethoven, I like Beefheart, I like Bowie and I like Bassie. A plethora of B’s all of who make or made great music. I like a whole lot more than that and not just from the letter B.The only question after that is one of taste. I don’t much like Tchaikovsky. I don’t much like The Eagles or Counting Crows. What I really don’t like though, what really rankles me is when somebody, usually someone who sees certain people as being, or sets of people as having better taste or being slightly superior ‘cos they listen to Wagner. They aren’t. Simple as that, they ain’t.

It is an affectation, one more to do with 'keeping up appearances' than having good taste This then reflects a gilded light onto and elevating them to some lofty position. Poppycock and balderdash. Most of these people have very conservative tastes and would be terrified to listen to something remotely avant garde. I much prefer it when someone has the balls to say, ’sorry, I don’t like that. It isn’t my taste.’  All too often what you get is a lot of hot aired pontificating usually centred around the noise being made not really being music at all. Or suggesting that guy or girl can’t sing. It is all so biased. All so stupid. Remember that a great many composers drew influence from folk music as do many contemporaneous composers from modern pop, rock and rap.

There is nothing better about Shostakovitch over Stevie Wonder, nothing better about Miles Davis over Led Zeppelin or Puccini over Pentangle. Music is music. Taste is taste and that means it is a very personal thing.

I like music. What I really like when you break it down are some composers better than others, some songwriters and some bands and some singers, better than others. Simples.

The second question?

"Are you spiritual?"
"Am I what?"
"Are you spiritual?"
What does this mean? 
Am I being asked if I believe in the sacred for if I am then please define sacred. 
Life, is that sacred? If so then yes, I believe in life therefore I am spiritual. 
Am I being asked if I believe in the supernatural, in ghosts and angels? If I am then I have to say I have an open mind and that as I haven't yet met either then I tend to want proof.
Am I being asked if I am an environmentalist, or a feminist or a liberal then the answer is an emphatic yes. Does this make me spiritual?
Is it that they want to know if I am seeking the meaning of life? I know the meaning of life; I saw the film.
"Are you spiritual?"
"I don't know. You tell me."

all words and art are copyright © of Russell 'C.J' Duffy.


Sylvia said...

I like a pipe for a Christmas present
Or records--Bessie, bop, or Bach
I guess being colored doesn't make me not like
The same things other folks like who are other races.
--Langston Hughes

Hobbes said...

That was weirsdo, not Sylvia.

Russell C.J. Duffy said...

Sylvia>>>Thanks even if you should be playing violin or studying or not letting your mom steal your identity when you aren't looking.

Hobbes>>>Better watch that wife of yours as she is an identity kleptomaniac.

Perfect Virgo said...

Tough to isolate the kind of music we like without using labels, or at least examples. I think people are mainly curious as to what 'sound' does it for you.

I, as you know only too well, am an inveterate labeller. Without my trusty list of genres I'm as good as speechless!

Russell C.J. Duffy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Russell C.J. Duffy said...

PV>>>I have no problem with you or anyone trying their level best to describe a sound by using all manner of appropriate adjectives. I do it.
Libraries do it the better to organise which shelves records and book sit on.

However, trying to fit everything into wholly inadequate tags in just bloody silly. William Blake, Captain Beefheart are obvious names who simply do not fit into one thing or another.

It may fit the gutter presses simplistic ways of identifying everything in a sad attempt to make us all the same but it is ridiculous to suggest that everything created MUST fit in to a convenient box.

I don't. Nor do I believe, with few exceptions, does anyone else.

Elvis Costello is a songwriter. A tile befitting what he does for a living. Singer songwriter also works. Since the sub-genres he works in include jazz, pop, R&B, folk, orchestral, avant garde, reggae, blues and goodness knows what else it boggles the mind to call him anything aprt from what he is...a songwriter.
Punk was not new. As Bob Geldof said when analysing the Boomtown rats sound, it was old fashioned R&B played faster and louder. Same goes for Sex Pistols. Punk was a political statement and not a new form of music.
Of course there are some labels that really do apply but all too often it is just a case of idiot invention. I imagine that the right wing press, so afraid of anything that isn't the same, would much prefer it if all creative art would only stop breaking the rules and conform to a regulated way of being.
Thank goodness most of it does the very opposite.

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