Wednesday 30 April 2008

Music to my ears, but preferably nothing else

I've finally got around to clicking on iTunes, and even now, my music is being copied onto the computer, all two thousand-odd items. It's vastly cheering, as I can't any longer be bothered to fetch CDs and put them in a player, but always play music on the computer or iPod, and have been missing it badly, especially as my ears are still distracted by the slight whirr of the Mac, which is at a different pitch from the previous machine. Macs are quiet but not soundless and I find 'wrong' noise very intrusive.

For this reason, one of my pet hates is windchimes. I sit in a friend's garden on a pleasant summer's day and all I can focus on is the tinkle of unnecessary bits of metal in the breeze. I'm not good on artificial 'water features', as they're called nowadays, either. The sound of running water is fine if it's a stream or waterfall, but the splash of a little fountain or other pumped water makes me tense, until I manage to tune it out. My mother was fond of clocks and had three in one room. They all ticked at a different pitch and speed and I hated it, never mind the cacophony of the strikes, which were all slightly out of synch with each other - just as well, I suppose, as at least it reduced the potential noise level.

It's deliberate artificial noise, I think, as I don't mind the sound of animals, general sounds, people, at all. Music is fine, but not as background - I listen to it, so I don't care for the bland sort of stuff that is often played in public places. I'm rather the same with scents. I can't stand air fresheners. A pong is one thing, but a pong partly masked by artificial flower or fruit or pine scent is unpleasant. If there was no bad smell to start with, why add a cheap and nasty one?

Years ago, I went to the theatre one night and was miserable because of the olfactory blaring of numerous cheap perfumes. The next night I went to a concert at the Aldeburgh Festival and was hardly made any happier by the range of expensive ones that all the women were wearing. Since then, out of consideration for others, I have not worn perfume in a crowded place. A woman sat next to me on the train on Saturday wearing a perfume I didn't like. I was unpleasantly aware of it for the entire journey.

Again, I like natural scents. I like to savour the air when I arrive at a destination - each place has its own flavour and, as long as it isn't next to a sewage farm or a sugar beet factory, I don't mind what the smell is. But adding extra, artificial and pointless smells jangles my senses.

Thanks to Hey Bartender, I have developed a regrettable taste for certain styes of country music. So the first track to be played on the new Mac has the honour to be ... Stoned, by the Old 97's.

Actually, talking about my favourite bartender, I hadn't read her blog for three weeks, and have just been catching up. She is brilliant. Do visit. I've been chortling happily for the past ten minutes.


badgerdaddy said...

'tis indeed a fine blog.

heybartender said...

Aw, shucks. Thanks Z. I'm so happy that you like the Old 97's. As a bit of trivia, we played "Designs on You" at our wedding, the lyric (I'd be lyin'...) displayed prominently on our invitations. Yes, we are music nerds.
I love this post because once again I found myself thinking "Exactly!" several times. The music at the B.S. Squared is, as you would expect, a corporate attempt to offend no one, and of course is offensive to anyone with a modicum of taste. Nothing like getting a badly re-hashed version of an already bad song in your head for a whole day.
Also, my olfactory senses are quite acute and I am endlessly assaulted by fake scent of something-or-other.If I could locate the person who invented fake pine scent, I would not hesitate to dispatch them as slowly and painfully as possible.
Thanks for hitting it right on the proverbial head.

Anonymous said...

Good job Z! I rented a place out and told the renter NO windchimes. She thought this was a joke. It was not-that fakey tinkly noise is quite irritating. She promptly removed the seven(honest) windchime/tinkly ornaments she had put up on the front porch.

Unknown said...

Hey,Z, why isn't 'hey bartender' registering when I put the blog site address into my favourites?

Z said...

I play 'Designs on You' over and over again, it makes me chortle with delight every time.

I've a dear friend who has an air freshener in her car and two (seven? Good Lord!) windchimes in her garden. In summer, she leaves the door open so that she can still hear them. Fortunately, she is a good cook and generous with the beverages, or I'd rarely see her.

I don't know, John. It works for me - try again?

Anonymous said...

My GP reckons that artificial air fresheners are responsible for 90% of headaches.

I can't bear 'fake noise' either. But I include out-of-control kids in this.