Shared Pleasures

Displaying the most recent post at the top makes sense … until you start using successive posts to tell a story in stages. Who wants to read the ending first? So the post that precedes this one is a compilation of several previous posts – now deleted – and tells the chronological story of my changing tastes in music, focusing on the first hearing of key records. Writing it up was fun, especially when I discovered how to put in hyperlinks instead of the embedded clips which were making my site so slow to scroll.

A more significant discovery was that so many of my musical memories are of moments where I shared the experience with others … as a child, with friends … family gatherings … teenage parties … festivals … with my students, as a teacher. Empathy seems to be the magic dust, adding glitter and glamour to the experience. Music causes us to move in physical synch with one another, perhaps reminding us of what we have in common beneath the superficial differences of appearance and mannerism. Is it any wonder that we like to share music in the dark or in large crowds, where individuals become anonymous and free?

The light-shows of the late 1960s caused distinctions between performer and spectator to vanish. And now we have the bright spotlights on X Factor hopefuls with relentless cameras searching the faces of judge and audience member alike, a spectacle of voyeurism … could there be a greater fall from grace?



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