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Thursday, April 12

Eclectic Taste In Music

When I was younger I had a very limited view on what was music. As old as 11 or 12, I was dead against anything with "loud guitars" and thought that classical music and The Beatles (I had a Vinyl of Help and Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band to listen to on an ancient record player - some components of which I still have somewhere, having cannibalised it before throwing it away).

I liked Bohemian Rhapsody, but I thought Queen was a bit crap.

I was a narrow minded fool.

I don't recall having anything resembling a sensible taste in music until the death of Freddie Mercury in 1991, when I borrowed some Queen sheet music, played it through, borrowed some Queen albums, listened to them through and realised that, actually, I liked Queen. In fact, if I liked that band, which I had dismissed as noisy guitar stuff, maybe I'd like other stuff.

In 1992, aged 18, I started a crusade to buy more different styles of music. My CD collection was in the 10's when I went to university. On my computer, which does not contain the superset of all my music collection, there would appear to be approximately 800 CDs' worth of music, containing over 11,000 tracks.

It started with Queen, but then I tried to get into Jazz. It started simply enough with a bit of Louis Armstrong, and it's never gone that extreme, but I've thickened out my appreciation of music. In fact, a motivating force was the musical taste of a friend of mine. If there was something which I thought he might like, then I had to wonder whether I couldn't compete with him and like it better. Or at least, like something first. That was it. I wanted to be the first to find THE track - the one which was totally brilliant and he would enjoy. So, my guess of what this friend would like got me into various artists, including Frank Sinatra, which I assumed he'd really agree with.

This weekend, he told me that he didn't actually rate Sinatra that much. Does that make me like Frank any less? No. In fact, I was plumbing my own tastes, after all, not his. I just needed a catalyst.

And I still reckon that the Frank Sinatra sings Antonio Carlos Jobim album is excellent. So, there is no winner. Except the appreciation of music.

My collection of tracks has many musicals in there, something I got into really for my own purposes, various soundtracks - a shared interest with another friend, but, again, my own pursuit, Rock and Pop (my general purpose category), some Ska (well, Madness, but that counts), some classical music, and, of course, The Beatles, who are, by definition, exceedingly good.

And I sit at work and listen, on my reasonable Sennheiser headphones, to all of this. Music recorded over a 60 year period, some of which was composed much longer before, and I enjoy it all.

Nat King Cole is singing something cloying and soppy in my ear. I appreciate not being deaf.


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