This may seem out of step with the ascetic spirit of the season but this afternoon I bought a new hi-fi sytstem. My reasons for this unseasonable extravagance are as follows. I’ve had an Apple iPhone, in various models, since February 2010 and during this period I had more or less stopped buying CDs. I had grown accustomed to listening to most music through the medium of iTunes or YouTube and had quite forgotten the pleasure of just listening, as opposed to having music projected in an inferior, sort of “tinny” way, from a small, multi-purpose piece of machinery. Of course, years ago if we wanted music, we either made it ourselves or went to a theatre or opera house. Now popular music, which propels the ideals of the sexual revolution into our lives, is omnipresent; in supermarkets, in restaurants, &c. People go about spellbound by music as they plug those small things into their ears, which probably cause long-term physical damage and undoubtedly render them intolerant to periods of silence. They can’t possibly enjoy it! Some years ago I was with my mother in an Italian restaurant and asked the waiter to turn off the radio and was met with looks of horror and bewilderment by others. Their apparent abhorrence for silence, much more conducive, in my view, to the ambience of conversation, reminded me of man’s present addiction to television. People spend all this money on Sky or Netflix and watch trashy soaps and sitcoms beyond all possible enjoyment. Well, I’m not like that and if my modest investment in a new hi-fi system can mitigate the effects of the boredom and resignation of popular trash, I say money well-spent!
By the way, the theme of this post put me in mind of this reflection on popular music by Roger Scruton.