Wednesday, 20 January 2010

AM I the only person who objects to the volume of noise in modern society?

As cars thunder past with the bass beat booming out, there is no discernable tune – and there is certainly nothing melodious or harmonic about this so-called music. Instead it sounds as if drivers are travelling around while an enthusiastic amateur drummer performs for anyone within earshot. Or, possibly, they have the entire percussion section of a loud but incompetent orchestra stowed away in the boot, from whence (unlike Victorian children), they can be heard but not seen.

Similar sounds spill forth from houses whose community-spirited inhabitants seem to feel the urge to share their music with others, whether they have similar tastes or not.

Most pubs, restaurants and cafes have music playing – sometimes at a level which makes conversation impossible. Are the owners and managers unaware of the concept of having a quiet drink, whether it be a cup of coffee or something stronger?

And as for the shops... all I can say is that if I wanted to listen to music, or the radio, I would sit at home in comfort to do so, rather than endure the cacophony which assails me on all sides.
Shopping malls usually have some kind of ‘piped’ music, which can be heard quite clearly at certain spots. But in addition many of the shops provide their own sounds, each competing against the others in the battle to be heard. There are even some stores where your ears are assaulted by a variety of sounds, with individual departments all playing different things.

Pay a visit to your doctor or dentist and you could end up feeling worse than when you arrived, thanks to the headache inducing pop blaring out in the waiting room.

And, should you decide you’ve had enough and decide to head for home, beware if you opt for public transport because, as like as not, you will find yourself sitting by some prune who is plugged into their iPod, but has it turned up so high that, despite their earphones, you can still hear the rhythm of the music.

Anyway I’m off now to buy some earplugs...

A version of my article originally appeared in the Tamworth Herald.

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