Cloth Ears?

The more perspicacious and attentive reader will have noticed that I seem to spend quite a lot of my time at musical entertainments of one form or another.  I like to think I have an interest in music coupled with a decent attention span, though not (normally) enough to get through a Handel opera (I can only take about two hours of the Baroque master in one sitting – and not just as a result of my somewhat poorly padded derrière).

In my skimming of various on-line broadsheets (broadscreens?) seeking grist for my blogging mill (which I think makes me the quern) I have read reviews of several pieces of televisual entertainment that I had previously enjoyed (or at least viewed and am thus in a position to critique the work of the critic).  A couple of these have commented unfavourably on the background music:

  • First up was Friday Night Dinner, a new sitcom on C4, the music for which was considered inappropriate to the content.  I must admit I have no recollection of any background music in the show at all.
  • Secondly we have Wonders of the Universe.  Apparently, some have complained about the volume of the background music drowning out Coxy’s flat Lancashire vowels.  Now, I will admit to vaguely noticing some music – but I was still quite capable of hearing the narration and failed to notice any issues with the musical decibels.

Do my ears need a good syringing?  Is it something to do with the male inability to multi-task?  I can either listen to the speech or pay attention to the music – but apparently not both.  Or am I just too easy going and am failing to turn on the TV with the sole hope of being offended?

And, it’s not just the idiot box that raises this issue.  Over the weekend I saw the current cinematic treat, “Submarine”, which I very much enjoyed (despite the complete absence of the phrase “Dive! Dive! Dive!”).  I did notice a few songs by Alex Turner (as already established, a fan of Jake Thackeray) but sadly missed the fact that the rest of the background music was a “pastiche of Georges Delerue’s scores for Godard and Truffaut” (according to the Independent’s review).

I now found myself becoming paranoid, trying to concentrate on the musical substrate of TV and film so that I will later be able to discuss its merits (or failings) around the water-cooler.  Well, just as soon as I can find a suitable water-cooler (or perhaps a tea-urn would be a more appropriate beverage temperature altering device for these shores) around which to loiter – and some fellow sufferers (assuming I am not alone in this inability to focus on the sonic backdrop to a scene).

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