Thursday, July 28, 2005


The last few days I've been doing various things; writing, reading, playing games, even lowering myself to the depths of prolonged solitare binges. While doing all these things I've been, of course, listening to music. I usually have some music playing when I'm doing just about everything, even essay writing and sleeping. The misapprehension that most people seem to have is that it is background, that I just have it there because I don't like silence.

To an extent this is true, my ears do a strange thing when there is no noise that I can best describe in terms that might miss most people. It's like turning up the gain on a amplifier with no signal going through it - it starts as silence but ends up amplifying noise, if I just listen to silence for more than a few seconds I get the strange sensation of a sound that isn't really sound that rises to a deafening pitch but at the same time isn't actually louder than any of the minute sounds around me. However, that doesn't bother me, it goes away if I make a noise, which is why I make all sorts of strange noises when I'm on my own - see I'm not mad. Although that said reading back through this it does sound more than slightly peculiar.

But anyway, music for me isn't always the background; in fact quite often it is exactly the opposite. There are many people who have sat around talking to me with some music playing in the background not realizing that in my head things are the other way round. All of the various activities that I described above as ways of passing the time have, in fact, just been things to keep certain parts of my mind occupied while the rest of it is diggin' the sounds. Absorbed though I get I can't just sit and listen to a piece of music, I get bored, my hands and the bits of my brain that aren't involved in the music need something to do. If they don't they tend to disturb the other bits of my brain like someone playing trance music in an exam.

The best place to listen to music, I find, is when out walking or in a car, the constant stream of things that pass you allow you to absorb yourself completely in the music. All of the times that I've been really affected by music have been when I'm traveling somewhere; it was on the walk home that 'Castles Made of Sand' by Jimi Hendrix made me cry or when I got so into the album 'Beautiful Freak' by the Eels that I ended up walking around my neighborhood listening to it for hours rather than go home.

In reality what I've been doing for the last few days is trying to get all there is to get from various CDs. I heard sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts club band for the first time and liked it. I got completely sucked in by the images that Creedance Clearwater Revival and the Queens of the Stone Age stuck in my head. I jumped around like a mad hoon to the Mad Caddies and King Prawn. I read the entirety of a Terry Pratchett book while listening to Ben Harper and Skip James and can honestly say that although I was turning the pages and, in theory at least, reading the book I can't remember anything about it now.

This whole little article has, in fact been an excuse to stay up and listen to Bloc Party's new album so don't be surprised if this didn't make any sense, I'm not really paying any attention.

Bloc Party are Damn good though.