Friday, December 23, 2011

A Plague of Noise

Why has it become impossible to find a café, restaurant, bar, clothing boutique, elevator or garage that is not blaring some awful non-music noise?  Even at 9am in the morning my local coffee source is playing the mind numbingly monotonous sounds usually requiring a ghastly price in the front row of a fashion designer’s runway debacle.  If you ask them to turn it down in aid of conversation, the principle activity in these places until the stoned adolescents arrive around 8pm, they turn nasty and look at you like a turd in the punch bowl.  It might be tolerable to listen to, say Ray Charles, at this volume but it is currently impossible to find ACTUAL       MUSIC being played.  Since the median age of tourists is certainly over 40 (here in Italy it is probably over 60) and they have spent an increasingly huge sum of money to see an idealized version of our locale, why would anyone think these folks want loud, stupid AMERICAN music played so loudly it precludes normal speech?  Not to mention that the entire population of those under 35 now wears ear buds 24/7 and is living in their own universe anyway.  On my first visit to Europe in the dawn of time – 1965 – I was charmed to hear local versions of our American rock and roll and jazz but also to find the French form, or the German style or the Spanish take.  But it seems that now the music has consolidated into an international drek with no discernible identity.  AND IT IS ALWAYS TOO DAMNED LOUD!   I have even seen the barrista at my downstairs bar actually shooing away the gypsies who play – in truncated and bad form – the clichéd Italian standards which were actually written for the Godfather movies, parts one through nine.   I have heard it said that there are more deaf people under the age of 65 than over now that earbuds are part of the dress code.  I believe it.  I just wish that those of us who can still hear could be left to talk in an environment permitting same.