Tuesday, April 25, 2006

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Palate cleansing

Incidentally, the temp job on which I'm working, consists largely of staying on hold, and since you never know when the line will be picked up, you have to listen to the hold music.

Trust me, there is no surer way of withering the romance in one's soul, than listening to several hundred cloying love songs from all musical genres, from the last four decades (I begin to have a new appreciation for bands that actually wrote non-love-songs, like the Beatles. Still nothing to write home about musically, but at least there's a little variety). As music it is awful, but the telephone tinniness somewhat obscures the sound (while worsening it further), and focuses your attention on the mind-numbing lyrics. You would think that nobody with good taste ever fell in love...though it's occasionally interesting to play the game of sympathy-reversal. I always liked doing that in stories where the good guys annoyed me, or the bad guys didn't seem so terrible. Later I discovered that this is somehow postmodern or deconstructivist or something, but I like doing it anyway. So for instance, in Rob Roy I took great delight in thinking of Frank Osbaldistone's father as a likely swindler who made his fortune by loan-sharking and shady business operations...look carefully at some of the opening passages, and it's not really hard to credit. And in these love songs where a guy is whining about the girl who don't treat him right, it's usually easier for me to sympathize with the girl than with him. Unfortunately it's rather thin entertainment when you have eight hours of this to go through.

By the way, say what you like about present-day pop music, but the abandonment of flutes was a huge step forward. Do you know what a flute sounds like in a 70's pop song? I never was partial to woodwinds (Brahms and Mozart both seemed to like the clarinet, but I don't know what they saw in the thing - it has a wimpy sound), but right now I never want to hear a flute again. Ugh.

Fortunately, at least I can come home and listen to some of Mendelssohn's Lieder ohne Worte - like a cleansing bath for the ear.