Wednesday, November 29, 2006

One day with, one day without; or, can I survive 24 hours without "Muskrat Love"?

I was having this discussion with---hmmm...can't remember---but I was probably talking too much with someone who wanted me to just please shut up and we started to discuss how we view music now versus folks in other eras. For example, you couldn't really listen to music of your choice at home until the late 1890s (when wax cylinders were first released) and you couldn't take any recorded music with you anywhere until 1959, when transitorized radios finally made it to the market*. See, I was born when Walkmen when the height of kick-ass technology (I had one of those gaudy yellow ones which, after it ate my Boyz II Men tape, I never trusted again) and, therefore, I've never lived without the option of constant music. So, mysteryhuman and I contrasted that with the reality of, say, three hundred years ago, when the only music you heard was from smelly troubadours, drunk neighbors, and soon-to-be-castrated choir-boys. It was all live and you really didn't have any choice about what you heard. Hopefully: lots of "Greensleeves."

So I thought I should do an experiment.

Now, you know I'm fond of pretending I'm doing things or have done them when we all know I haven't and won't (like the O.J. book or, yesterday, when I claimed I sold my soul to the devil but, in all honestly, sold it instead to a lesser imp), but this one is actually going to happen. Seriously. Now, here's the plan: tomorrow, I'm going to listen to music for 24 hours straight. I'll put on something soothing as soon as I wake up (I'm thinking Anthrax's "Attack of the Killer B's" or "Return of the Killer A's" (and yes those are real)) and spend the rest of the day at least half-immersed in something musical. And here's the thing: it's going to be really, really easy to pull that off. The second part is far trickier.

I'm going to try and spend Friday without any music whatsoever. If that doesn't work, Saturday. If not then, Sunday. If not then...well, I'm already thinking that it's going to be borderline impossible. How do you avoid music anymore? I mean, you can't watch TV: every show has theme music, scene changing music, shmaltzy resolution music; you can't really walk down the street without being bombarded by trunk-rattling E-40 or "please roll your window up"ing smooth jazz. You can't live in an urban area with roommates and regulate the entire block's auditory output. I'm seeing this going on for weeks already. Music is completely ubiquitous now, it's just not the center of attention as it used to be at church or in the town square. Now it's an irritating jingle of nonsense noises in McDonald's commercials or some younger, talentless sister of an older, talentless floozie waking you up on your alarm clock. If I'm going to actually live for 24 hours without music, I'll have to pull a Ted Kazinski. Most likely: less letter-bombs. No promises though. You should totally check out my manifesto.

Anyway: I'll let you know how that goes. My guess? Frustratingly improbable. Now, I need to eat this cinnamon roll. Gooey is an essential food group, you know.

* Fun factoid: Looking on Wikipedia, we must note that transitor radios cost about $49 when they came out, which is equivalent to around 300 and something dollars, which is what iPods cost, which I think is kind of interesting. You don't, huh? Well, good thing this is the end of today's ramble.


Anonymous said...

maybe not a scientist but an up and coming music historian.theorist. a music scholar if you will

birdmonster said...

You're right, anon. That's a horrible title. I should change it.

kasi said...

I tried an experiment similar to this many, many years ago, when I was in the thick of the rave scene here in Toronto. I failed. Failed beyond miserably actually.

FYI:Dentyne cinnamon gum is also an essential food group.

Sabrina said...

hot, gooey, fattening cinnamon rolls! Yum!

birdmonster said...

Kasi: Do tell of your failures. We're all friends here. I hope in involved 24 hour raves and then sleeping Rip Van Winkle style.

Sabrina: Fattening is the key to goodness. One day, you'll be rolling me down the street. But I'll be smiling.

kasi said...

BM: I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you...or at least make sure you weren't going to write a book about it. I had another blog where I used to make some, uh, intersting posts. Rip's got nothing on me.

Cherry said...

Does hearing the same song over and over in your head count as listening to music?

Just wondering.....

Katie said...

Cherry has a good point. Like, at what point does something actually become music? I get songs stuck in my head at work. Sometimes I even dance to them. Sometimes they come out by singing or humming. I work in childcare so what about childrens' sing-song voices? Is that music? Each day at least one child will say something like, "Ka-tieeeeee, come-heeeeeee-rrrrrrrre." Everyday I hear at least one jump rope or hand jive-type rhyme. Is that music? What about chanting? "Girls go to college to get more knowledge! Boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider!" I hear that from the kintergarten and first grade girls all the time.

I wouldn't even attempt a day without music; it wouldn't work.

Oh, yes. And the idea of rolling a cartoonishly round version of you down a sloped street as you lick your fingers clean of delicious cinnamon roll goodness is strangely appealing; sign me up.

Chris Walker said...

Smooth jazz? Aha, ha, ha. I listen to that shit on Sunday mornings when I'm waking up. Not because it's good, necessarily, but rather because it's smooth. And I tell you what, I love me some smooth.

birdmonster said...

Kasi: I promise not to spread your nefarious secrets. Scout's honor. Nevermind that I was never a scout, please.

Cherry: Without going semantic on you, I'm going to say that on no music day, I simply can't hear any recorded songs. Or someone in my house playing an instrument. No "real" music. Mental flights of fancy: a-okay. If I counted those, I'd never make it.

Katie: Ok. For argument's sake: ditties while jump-roping: certainly music. The sing-song voice: borderline, but no. The fairly hilarious, anti-man chant: poetry, unless sung, then music. Also, if I ever need someone to move me around when I'm completely ovular, I know who to call.

Chris Walker vs. My Face: I know you're all about the smooth. And you just might be onto something.

Sabrina said...

I envision a male version of Violet from the original Willy Wonka. Just don't throw up on me and I'll roll you anywhere!

Gasoline Hobo said...

dude. earplugs and closed captioning. you're gold.

also, here is my interpretation of smooth jazz.

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