Tuesday, November 21, 2006
No Music Day
So, today is No Music Day. At least Bill Drummond has declared it to be so. For those of you too young to remember, Bill was half of what used to be The KLF, the art-pop anarchists responsible for such varied pleasures as 3am Eternal and burning a million quid on a Scottish island.
If you go to the No Music Day website, you’ll not find that much explanation, apart from that NMD “is an aspiration, an idea, an impossible dream, a nightmare” and that it’s today because 22 November is Saint Cecilia's day. For those of us not up on the saints, St Cecilia is the patron saint of music.
Despite the statement that “No Music Day has nothing to sell. There is no mission statement”, Drummond has been doing a bit of explaining, which is handy. After all, if you love music, why would you boycott it for a day? In last week’s Time Out, he comes pretty damn close to a ‘statement’ by saying “This is a personal crusade” and that “it’s about setting aside a day to be thinking about music and our relationship with it. Increasingly we are all using music to block out reality, or block out our own thoughts.” He also wrote about it at length in the Observer Music Monthly, and was on Radio 4’s today programme this morning. Making more statements.
But you know, I’m sort of with him. As much as I love music, we do bombard ourselves with it every day, and are then bombarded by every other shop, bar or restaurant we go into. By music that’s carefully selected to be as bland and inoffensive as possible (which really renders it very offensive – Mrs Growl told me that she had to escape from a clothes shop the other day due to a particularly awful Whitney Houston song).
Does all this make music lose its value? Probably. And often the people most responsible for devaluing music are the radio stations that play the same songs over and over again. How often have you had a song ruined by repetition? I don’t listen to much radio, but even a song as good as Crazy by Gnarls Barkley has been so ubiquitous that I definitely think less of it now than when I first heard it.
Last night I was sorting out my wayward CD collection that lost its alphabetisation a while back, rendering any specific searches near impossible. So many CDs. How often do I listen to them? What’s the value of them to me? Am I just collecting plastic and paper? But then again, after sorting, so little to put in the ‘Why do I have this?’ pile.
What are you doing to celebrate No Music Day? I’ve given it a go. It’s now the end of lunchtime, and apart from listening to a couple of songs while I ironed this morning (just before I heard Bill on Radio 4 and was reminded about NMD) I’ve been music-free all day. No iPod. No music coming from my computer through my headphones while I work. No shopping in stores playing music (but does reading about music count?) It's been fine so far, but it all comes to an end this evening though, when I go down 93 Feet East to see Jeremy Warmsley and Absentee. Oh well, looks like I can’t escape music. No matter how hard I try.
Obviously, no downloads today.
Picture from Time Out London