Monday, 11 February 2013


"Give me three chords
Give me three primary colours
Give me three little words
We don't need any others"

    "Dumb Me Down" by Francis Macdonald

This post was inspired by a recent conversation in which a (fairly inebriated) friend of a friend bemoaned a perceived lack of music listening development shown by the 'adults of today'.  He reckoned that people should graduate from obsessing over mere 'pop' music to concentrating on more serious, complex forms of music that require more thought from the listener i.e. classical music.  I could sort of see his point but, given what I choose to write about on Not Unloved, I couldn't really agree with it.   I've been to a fair few operas and classical concerts, bought and received a fair few classical recordings and have, by and large, enjoyed them and taken the time to try and understand them.  For some reason, however, I just haven't felt as moved by them as I have by the recordings I write about here.  I don't think that's evidence of stunted development or of me taking the easy way out by listening to simplistic, childish music because classical music is too difficult to understand.  I think it's evidence of my not quite feeling classical music in my soul.  The recent documentary on the life and works of Frederick/Fritz Delius featured some scenes of people in raptures, almost moved to tears  listening to his compositions and I would love to have felt the same but I just, well, didn't.  There are exceptions.  What I've heard by Arvo Pärt, I've been moved by, especially when it was performed in Glasgow's Royal Concert Hall lit only by candles.  His "Cantus In Memoriam Benjamin Britten" - as featured recently on an excellent, thoughtful mix by The Wake - has always affected me deeply.  I suspect that that has a little to do with how Pärt's work came to my attention - it was first recommended to me because I liked Slowdive and a friend thought that it shared a sensibility with that group's music. I could see why they'd linked the two.  My half-baked, unscientific theory on all this is that at some developmental stage when I was particularly open to suggestion/influence my brain was altered, connections were made and synapses fired on hearing the chime of The Byrds'  Rickenbackers (my dad bought me "History of The Byrds" on cassette in the early 80s) or the glorious, chaotic squeal of The Jesus and Mary Chain's feedback and was changed for good.  So, until a piece of classical music alters my brain and makes my heart beat faster, give me three chords...

(This post is called 'Dumb' because it was supposed to follow 'Numb' but life got in the way....)

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