Metropolitan Homesick Blues

Southampton Stories & Other Stuff


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Sunset at the harbour mouth, Southampton.

There was a time when you couldn’t get on an elevator without the all-pervasive presence of some innocuous music playing somewhere behind your head. You were forced to listen to sugary, non-imaginative arrangements of popular standards and top 40 songs. It was called Musack and it came at you relentlessly in malls, offices, the dentist’s chair, airports just about every public place you can think of. There was no escape. After a while it turned into a non-descript din you became use to…white noise.

Lately, though, I’ve noticed that Musack has morphed into something bigger, with much more variety, louder and so much more annoying. The Internet is partially to blame, as are those who generate their own tailor-made ‘mix-tapes’ for their places of business – particularly restaurants.

Restaurateurs are under the impression that I like to listen to their choice of music while dining. They seem to think that my meal will be more enjoyable if their ‘mix’ is played loudly. To make sure my dining experience is further refined they place speakers everywhere and then direct me to a table directly beneath them.

A restaurant is not a dance club. I don’t need to ‘feel’ the bass. I don’t care to bob my head to today’s ‘hits.’ Gangsta Rap is not my thing. Country & Western is not for me. Loud, annoying music does not make a meal enjoyable. It is intrusive. It gets in the way of conversation.

At the point when the server comes and asks, “Is everything to your liking?” I usually say “NO, turn the *&^%%%##### music down!!!”

Why not just play harmless ‘New Age’ nonsense. Jazz Fusion would be nice. So would simple Classical favourites. The Internet has all kinds of non-invasive music to choose from. Or, maybe just don’t play anything at all.

The natural background sounds of the restaurant would be fine with me. Let the establishment generate it own sound – let its own room tone become white noise.

That’s all you really need.

Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

October 24, 2010 at 1:16 PM

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