The Perks of Being a Listener.


I want to write. I don’t know what I want to write about, but I just want to write. Yearning to surround yourself with galaxies and numbers in later life doesn’t mean you should discard your dream of being a writer. The two things can work.

Perhaps having just seen the film “The Perks Of Being A Wallflower” – which is a book that I regrettably haven’t yet read – has put me in this peculiar mood. Or perhaps this mood has just been enhanced by the misfortune of watching half an hour’s worth of the X-Factor whilst trying to enjoy dinner with the family. How people consider this to be a show worthy of their time I will never understand.

What makes me subtly connect the X-Factor and that movie is the music featured in both; the stark contrast between what 80% of young people today clog up their ears with, and what the other 20% consume. It’s like the majority of our generation is yet to be diagnosed with musical diabetes. The Perks Of being A Wallflower is heavily influenced by your typical hipster features – vinyls, old cameras, books, the Smiths, all that jazz that I wish was still genuine today. (I’m quite jealous of Charlie’s typewriter. Someone should get me one for Christmas!). Anyone can claim to be “indie” by posting a photo of their mug of tea to Instagram. Now, I’m not here to talk about stereotypes, but I wish that when someone wears a Beatles top, they actually appreciate their music rather than just treating their logo as a brand name for the sake of it. But I digress.

I guess I just wanted to appreciate the fact that it’s astonishing what analyzing different types of music can do to you. Listening is like viewing a a photo: everything may have moved on, but what was recorded in that moment in time stays the same. Which is is why I enjoy listening to older stuff. It’s amazing that one can associate certain feelings with certain bands and artists; certain people with certain genres; certain events with certain songs. You can lose yourself completely in the lyrics and realise that, “Hey, this song is virtually a 4-minute description of my life!“. And what makes it all that much more incredible is that the older you grow, the wiser you become to this overhanging mist of undiscovered or forgotten music, picking up artists along the way whom you’ve never been a fan of previously and finding that you really have been missing out on some true, musical gems. The human lifetime thrice over wouldn’t be enough to truly experience what each and every artist, past or present, has to offer – there is just that much musical genius out there. Sometimes you just have to go a little bit out of your way, make a little effort to discover something that you will fall in love with. Not simply suck up the output of that rotten X-Factor machine.

Don’t get me wrong; I appreciate the fact that people with potential sign up for the show because – why not? Everybody needs a bit of help on their way to success. No one can truly do it all alone. Whether it’s the fans you have picked up along your journey, the support from your family, or just the support of Simon Cowell – whatever, I’m not here to discuss that because that’s another story. I want to focus on us, the consumers of whatever is chucked at us, the audience, the listeners. I would be a greater fan of both the show and its viewers if only the music produced was actual music. Sometimes it goes well, I admit (Leona Lewis? Voice of an angel!). Sadly, more often than not, the producers chuck utter crap at the performers and say “You change your looks, make up a sob story, do some dancing, publish an autobiography and 5 biographies along the way, make a perfume, and… wait, oh of course, don’t forget to sing this song and make £££’s so that we can claim most of it for ourselves, yes?”. The sadder thing is that we as a nation (though Europe and America are probably more guilty of this than Britain alone) blindly buy into this crap, spoon fed by corporations that are after our money and nothing else. Because it’s easier, yes? Easier than doing a bit of research and uncovering real music that deserves to be truly heard, not just glanced at and discarded.

And for the record, yes I do really quite like Smiths. And “Perks of Being A Wallflower” is the cutest, saddest story that makes you feel like you could virtually be the main character. Or maybe it’s just me. And yes, it’s a teen movie. But it doesn’t mean teens can’t appreciate your favourite music too.

God, I love being an independent blogger.

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