Music Snobbery

Hmmm it’s been a while. Classic case of too much to do and not enough time. New job is 4 days per week, as opposed to the 3 I was doing after I went back from having the wee one, so 1 less day per week “free” plus toddler to run around after has meant very little time to sit down, never mind do any writing.

But here we are.  I was thinking about some stuff in the shower this morning (always the best place to mull over ideas, mainly due to absence of aforementioned toddler) and made a promise to sit down and get some ideas written down. Typed. Whatever.

So…what first? Well it’s been very quiet on the music front these past few months, no gigs and not much time to even listen to much.  I drive to the new job, so I miss my 2 hours per day bus/train commute listening to my ipod.  I tend to stick with the radio in the car for the traffic reports. How dull and grown up. The plus side is that I have my own office so I can have BBC6 music on when I’m there, no more Radio1, hooray! Bye bye Fearne Cotton, shut the hell up.

A few days ago I was listening to the radio at work, and a song came on that I didn’t recognise, but I quite liked it – it was kind of acoustic, folky/poppy bob-you-head kind of a song.  At the end the presenter said it was by Belle and Sebastian. Aargh! I thought, I’m not supposed to like Belle and Sebastian!

Then I realised that this was one of those instances where I decided that I didn’t like a band, but couldn’t actually tell you anything about them or their songs or even (evidently) identify them.  Occasionally I have to admit that that’s not fair, and actually I’m wrong.  It is a painful moment, but it has to be said.

The whole Belle & Sebastian thing was really just that when they first came to be known around Glasgow (1998 ish?) every man, woman, child and their pet rabbit were raving about them.  I had just moved to Glasgow for uni, and as previously discussed here was in a bit of a music black hole, I had lost the passion for it, had found other activities and really wasn’t bothered.  Looking back I think I must have been mad, moving to Glasgow and not even bothering about the opportunities for live music etc. I think one time in my first year a friend was visiting, and we were wondering what to do, when a flatmate said her friend’s band was playing somewhere, so we went along, but the band was dreadful, so we left.  I took my friend into Nice N Sleazy’s cos I had heard it was the cool place to go, but to be honest I was quite intimidated and we didn’t stay long. The next time I would grace Sleazy’s would be in the company of one Mr Keith Murray, but that’s another story….

Anyway, so yes, much as I love and appreciate the Glasgow music scene now, back then it didn’t feature in my life, so when everyone was talking about how great  this new band were, at first I didn’t care, then I was sure that I’d hate them cos if everyone else liked them, then surely I wouldn’t. I remind you that at the time Steps, B-Witched, Robbie Williams and Gerri Halliwell topped the charts. You can understand why I had lost interest.  So they kind of passed me by, and ever since if I have heard them mentioned I have just kind of dismissed them as something that other people like.

And then there was my radio encounter. So I felt like I should give them another chance. After all almost 15 years had passed, maybe it was time to let go of my grudge and open my mind a little bit. I was still sure that I wouldn’t like them, that maybe that one song was an exception. So I went on Spotify and listened to a couple of albums, one recorded and one live album. Damn, they really are good.  I mean they are acousticy, and folky, and definitely something I’d have to be in the mood for, my usual preference being for something louder and rockier, but I have to admit I liked what I heard. I was disappointed in a way, partly for being wrong but partly cos I’d missed out all these years and would have a lot of catching up to do.

It does tend to be a habit of mine.  If I “discover” a band first, either by accident, via friends, maybe seeing them as a support band then I’m happy when they gain wider recognition. But if the first thing I hear about someone is everyone else telling me I must listen and they are the greatest thing ever, then my automatic reaction is a negative one and I will almost be determined NOT to like them.  Some might call this music snobbery. Some might call it a hipster attitude. Whatever, I really can’t help it. I put it down to the fact that the overwhelming majority of “popular” music is dire, so I don’t trust most people’s taste. Yeah, ok, snobbery it is. I’m once more greateful to the internet for allowing me to connect with like-minded people, who share my tastes in music and whose opinion I trust.  I really can’t talk to friends or colleagues here about music, but I know there are people in Germany, Seattle and California who “get” me. Fellow music snobs unite!

So I’ll give them a proper listen, and look out for the next time they are in Glasgow and maybe even go along to see them, as a recent but enthusiastic convert.  And I’ll try not to dismiss anyone out of hand, but I will. I’m already sick of hearing about Lana del Ray, Ed Sheeran and Florence and her fecking Machine…