Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Turn the bloody music off

Here’s a weird thing. Why to they put music behind words all the time? It seems like every thing I watch on TV has music, even when it’s the words that count. They even do it on the radio. Not on the news yet, but it’s only a matter of time. Is this some devious plot by the musicians union?

It seems now as if no one can talk without background music to set the mood. Are the words really so inadequate? Have the collective writing skills of the current crop of journalists and documentary writers got so bad that they can’t convey mood or emotion or drama without a background track?

It is catching, not only is it all over the TV but amateurs are doing it too. At the Writing Festival at York University a few weeks ago one of the guys who was chosen to read his work to the after dinner audience did it with a sound track behind him. I guess it is only a matter of time before I meet someone in the street who has to play a background track when they so hello to me, just in case I don’t get their mood from what they say, or their face, or their body language or all the other clues we have spent thousands of years evolving.

It is nice that I now often get the choice of watching TV in High definition, which makes sense if it is really about the pictures, but what I would pay extra for is some way to cut out the silly music track behind the speech. I realise that this is probably some feature of my increasing deafness – well it might be, I suppose. Maybe my particular kind of deafness makes it harder to separate the words from the music. Maybe I’m weird in wanting to hear the words at all.

OK that is just me being reasonable, trying to see both sides, etc. etc. What I really mean is TURN THE BLOODY MUSIC OFF!


  1. I've noticed this recently on Radio 7, when books are read. It hasn't bugged me yet, but I know what you mean. My least favourite example is a recording, often played, of the late John Betjeman reading his poetry while being almost drowned out by pointless jazz. Why, why?

  2. ditto

    and btw, your writing is really coming along. salient train of thought, enough silly, enough sane and enough serious. excellent.