Music, like politics, is one of those interests in which those that are interested in it find those that are not entirely baffling. It’s not just a hobby, it’s crucial to who you are, who want to be and how you want people to perceive you. Show me a goth that professes to like Abba and I’ll show you a liar. Although few people say they have no opinion at all in either field, many display a level of apathy which is not far off. ‘A bit of everything’ and ‘What’s it got to do with me?’ both indicate a sense of indifference that will initiate feelings of shock and brash evangelism from both music-lover and the politics enthusiast alike.
Like politics, many people profess to be open-minded, yet when pushed display partisan or downright reactionary opinions. Suddenly, the person who was previously a benign Times reader (good crossword)/Bob Marley listener (pretty relaxing, vaguely inoffensive) metamorphoses into your very own household Bernard Manning. Like a bit of casual racism over the breakfast table, on hearing of some glaring musical judgement, one tends to grit one’s teeth and hope Bernard will disappear and the crossword will be resumed. Being a fan of Michael Howard or Wings doesn’t make you a bad person, but it does indicate a level of defiance that is pretty perplexing to a sizeable amount of our contemporaries.
So this is my plea: if the Americans can vote Obama, surely we can lose some of our musical apathy and ditch some of the saccharine R’n’B? As with politics, even though some people’s opinions outrage and infuriate me, I don’t think there’s anything more deflating than apathy breeding low expectation. The great thing about both politics and music is by entering into it you feel part of a group – you’ve made the effort (to buy the cd/go to the gig/vote, whatever) and at best it’s positively life affirming. You want to see some Post-emo-nu-core? Fine; it’s got to be more satisfying than the £30 that disappeared last Tuesday at Tru.
Obviously, we don’t go to the York clubs for the music, barring perhaps the 2% who really like ‘Summer of 69’ (sorry, y’all but I’m branding you as the musical equivalent of UKIP), and fair enough. But next Wednesday, why not ditch the heady combo of 5 bottles of Lambrini and Ziggy’s, and go for the 2 bottles of Lambrini and music you care about combo? You might not pull that neon-encrusted whatever-soc from Alcuin, but it’s pleasures might be a bit less transient…and the Americans voted in Obama – I mean, come on.
The inevitable claims of musical elitism that often stem from a position like this are, unfortunately, impossible to prove demonstrably wrong – and to wheel out the much abused cliché, ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’. I suppose I don’t really dislike all those Bryan Adam fans, it just that, as with all those Michael Howard advocates, there appears to be something genetically hard-wired in me which will forever preclude any empathy I may have for such people’s opinions.
So this Wednesday (due to my searing analysis, understanding, etc.) , I’m going to be doing the musical equivalent of voting for Ralph Nader – I’m going to Ziggy’s for the cheese, but doing it only to appreciate Bryan’s subtle messages behind the lyrics. Or perhaps it’s because I can’t be arsed to travel to Leeds and actually, truth be told, I kinda like 5ive.