Many of us can remember, once upon a time, when the only regular, daily life expectation of hearing music in public locations was in elevators, with peaceful, if at times nauseatingly vapid, compositions. They were the epitome of gentle, time filling companionship.
Then we began hearing musical intrusions more regularly at regular events, like sports matches. In between periods, innings, etc. it somehow became mandated that time be filled with an increasingly loud standard of usually raucous popular tunes. But it also meant less time to reflect or carry on quiet conversations. One expects this at musical concerts, but at so many more public venues, where a break in the assault on consciousness should not have to be a request…
These days the stakes are not only higher, but as generational intrusions into what constitutes good musical taste have become more manifest, it seems the interruptive mindset continues to knock down more doors to previous tranquility.
I experienced this myself earlier this week, exploring a new fitness club chain. Turns out, its waters were not safe.
One has become used to the infiltration of some kind of music in the background at fitness centres – although many people are on earphones, so you might think that to those needing a sound accompaniment to their exercise regime, their purpose would be served, no need to impose a din on others. This is particularly the case when considering that often the music played is not diverse, so to those of us with particular tastes have to live with it.
That said, one would think that a few areas should continue to escape background accompaniment. For at least a couple of very practical reasons, saunas and showers continue to be exempt. Not long ago this would also apply to the environs of the pool. But now that some facilities have more than one indoor pool, therefore less populated than a one-size-fits-all, it seems the forces in charge fear maintaining a quiet atmosphere around the deck. What a sorry state of affairs, the more so if one really dislikes the type of music one is, to some extent, paying to hear.
It is becoming my fantasy to confront these purveyors of unnecessary, undesirable musical impositions in their synthetic ivory towers with a catalogue of my kind of music and see how it ‘helps’ them to enjoy their pursuits.
While I would draw the line at places like libraries or museums, I wouldn’t put it past these proponents of noise fill to intrude in such lingering destinations of reflection, sooner or later.