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.


One thought on “Musick…

  1. I have an amplifier and speakers that have served me reliably for the past twenty years. I plug my computer into the amplifier (“aux” setting). I have converted all my CDs into mp3 format so that I can just look for what I want with a “folder player” programme (most music players organise everything into titles, artists and albums on the presumption that everyone listens to “pop music”) on the computer. I use “Micro Music Player” that just plays from the folders where you keep your music files. I can also download music from YouTube and the quality is usually acceptable (disclaimer – watch out for copyright laws and only download what is in the public domain). The CD player incorporated in my amplifier no longer works, so this solution with the computer seems about the best. I am now listening to some lovely songs by Ivor Gurney, the English composer and poet who became mentally ill and died in an asylum in the 1930’s. His Gloucestershire Rhapsody is glorious…


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