Tag Archives: Night Waves

The end of recorded music

There’s no better way to end the working week than listening to a polemicist and Bill Drummond is a polemicist supreme. This one time member of the K Foundation was invited to contribute to the Free Thinking Festival. His purpose was to rail against the phenomenon of recorded music and to enthuse about what he sees as its inevitable end. Ironically, I was only able to hear this talk as I’d recorded that particular edition of Radio 3’s Night Waves, which you can hear again herefor the next 6 days. However, I don’t think that inconsistency would trouble Bill Drummond at all as he seems sufficiently mature to be at home with life’s inconsistencies. One further irony is that his piece doubles as a very good potted history of the recording industry and its effect on music of all sorts – in ways which contemporary onlookers would have found it difficult to predict.

Lest I portray the idea as negative (by having used the expression, “rail against”) let me encourage you with a couple of positive titbits. He is convinced that musicians of the future will be intent on a performance which is to do with “time, place & occasion” and also that forthcoming musicians will want their music to amount to more than something in the background while people get on with the drudgery of life.


It occurred to me as an afterthought to writing this that, while the average person’s musical diet might well consist mainly of recorded music with occasional live gigs, the average life of the instrumental pupil is quite different – mainly live performances with the occasional recording. It further occurred to me that most people – particularly those whose time at school was uninspiring, might completely overlook modern school life as a possible contender for living the very dream they espouse.


While looking for a link to the Free Thinking Festival, I noted with interest that there are videos to watch again of Will Self, Tony Benn & John Gray – none a stranger to polemic.


Generation Gap

If increased understanding is facilitated by coming across the same idea(s) in contrasting contexts then the old have an advantage over the young in simply having come across more contexts. Another advantage is gaining time for these contexts through needing less sleep. I found myself up earlier than reasonable today and decided to catch up with a burgeoning archive of radio recordings. By an amazing coincidence, one of these was a Night Waves special from the Free Thinking Festival on the increasing gap between the generations. The introductory statistics gave pause for thought:

  • half of Britons questioned by Barnardos held the view that our young people are “feral and dangerous creatures.” I had come across this recently thanks to Derek Robertson (via John Connell)

  • 1/3 of young rarely people spend time with adult relations but 90% of those who do report that they enjoy it

This prompted a leap of the mind to something I read yesterday on Neurons Firing. The post in question contained the following sentence:

Kosik also pointed out some very salient features to keep in mind. Perhaps the most protective factor against Alzheimer’s is having friends, social networks, and being connected.”

In conjunction with the above points, the solution for all ages seems obvious – the implementation, less so.