Silence is golden, but not on top of the pop bus

LEP Columnist Barry Freeman
LEP Columnist Barry Freeman
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‘Music makes the people come together’ theorised the pop star Madonna some years back, proving beyond any doubt that, despite her undoubted way with a dancefloor ditty, the philosophical insights of Madame Ciccone ain’t worth a shiny tuppence.

In truth, little is more divisive than music. We each like what we like and – no matter how broad and eclectic we fancy our listening to be – there will always be much that we dislike.

Only dislike is too weak a word – without qualifying profane Anglo Saxon prefix – to describe how we feel about huge stretches of the vast musical ocean which laps the shores of our personal taste.

For example, I don’t ‘dislike’ the aural ‘product’ generated annually by the X Factor. I abhor it. Loathe it. Detest it, on every level, from how it sounds to what it represents.

But the existence of this dreck is not a problem. Nor is the fact that lots of people out there, children, mostly, and those with the critical faculties of children, apparently love it.

Because I don’t listen to it. I don’t watch the show. I don’t buy the records. And I don’t listen to the
radio stations which play them.

Or rather, I didn’t. But now I do. Now I do because Preston Bus have decided that I should. I must.

For reasons which remain quite unknown to me – and will remain so, because if I were to seek them out it might give the impression any reason could be considered valid – some weeks ago the company began piping what I am reliably informed is Rock FM onto the bus which lugs my unwilling rump to work and back every weekday.

Oh, and if the dreadful muzak itself were not intrusive enough, there are also the long and frequent ad breaks by which said station earn its coin. And good luck to it!

But this is one of the key reasons I never listen to commercial radio. Or rather, never used to listen to commercial radio. Because now I do, every day. Every. Single. Day.

Am I being unreasonable? Tell you what, if Preston Bus permit me to play a selection of the music I like on a number of their routes, even if not the bus I actually catch, we can consider the matter closed.

But then, I would never presume to inflict, say Hex Enduction Hour by The Fall, on any fellow passenger, knowing full well that such brash abrasive music would make most people come to pieces.

Silence is golden. Let’s try that.