Over the course of maintaining this blog, I reckon there are two big themes that come through. That is beyond the obvious one, which is me rabbiting on about my writing.
Theme one is my love of music, and how it influences what I write.
Theme two is that an awful lot of the time I’m a grumpy old sod.
Well, today it brings me no end of joy to find a way to combine these themes. I’m going to write a grumpy old post about music.
As I’ve mentioned many times before, I love music. It’s one of my main inspirations, one of the things that brings joy to my life. And it’s also one of the biggest influences in my writing. As I’ve said many times before, I aim to write stories that are like great pop songs. They may not be particularly sophisticated, but hopefully they leave an impression, like the joyful melody of a song that sticks in your head forever.
So far, so not grumpy.
Ok, this is where it starts to get a little bit grumpy.
One of the best parts about loving music is discovering new music. Maybe it’s a voice you’ve never heard before, or a melody that strikes you in an original way. Maybe it’s a novel arrangement of instruments, or just something expressed in the lyrics that opens up new avenues of thought. Whatever the cause, it’s always a wonderful thing.
So now I’m going to really up the grump factor.
The issue I’m having is that, at least for me, it’s getting harder and harder to capture that feeling – that excitement of hearing something new, that really changes my perspective about what music is about.
Why might that be?
Partly, I think it’s change in lifestyle, coupled with changes in media. When I was younger I seemed to have a lot more time to listen to the radio, and there seemed to be a lot more radio to listen to. Now, I’m so much busier, I find it hard to steal that quiet listening time. And radio is different too. When I was younger, you could hear a broad range of different music. Nowadays, stations seem to be more focussed on a narrower range of styles (or genres if you want to get technical). And the plethora of new streaming services, like Spotify, just boggles my mind.
Secondly, I sincerely believe it’s about the music. When I manage to encounter new music, I find it much harder to engage with. Much of it just seems ordinary to me – programmed and produced. And often, when I do hear something I might previously have enjoyed, my response is instead more like, “that just sounds like something I’ve heard before.”
Which leads to my final conclusion. I’m much more grumpy than I used to be. More tired and jaded. Less able to get enjoyment out of new things. I guess part of this is a factor of age. Maybe part is a factor of the current conditions we’re living through. And part of it is probably just me.
I’m sure if I tried hard enough (and had the time) I could find more good music. But I feel like that’s part of the problem. It starts to turn a joyful thing into a chore. In the meantime, I do still love the music that I love, and am trying to make more time to listen to it, hoping it can lift me out of this rut.
And I’ll try to be less grumpy next week.
Posted by Jonathan Gould and tagged as