Chelsea Reach, but it looks like Spurs have f’ed up

Listen to John Ireland – London Pieces on the way home on the bus. Chelsea Reach is my favourite of the four piano pieces – you can imagine it being played on an upright piano, in a pub, as the fog curls round the window panes. Ragamuffin, the second, has always seemed mawkishly chirpy, but is ok today, although the sound of the bus makes it difficult to hear the piano without making the volume obnoxiously loud. I enjoy the hell out of listening to these and want to spend some serious quiet time at home with some John Ireland’s stuff soon.

Classical can be that much more antisocial to listen to generally, with the variation in dynamics meaning that if you want to hear the quiet bits properly, you’re really going to blast the speakers on the loud bits, whether it’s on headphones or listening on your stereo.

Urban music generally, as in music you play in the city, is a constant awareness of volume – whether it’s a fuck you to people in close proximity, indicating that you want to hear some noise, or just a concern for the person sitting next to you on the tube trying to read a book.

My previous flat had great acoustics, and listening to music on the stereo there would still be how I’d prefer to listen to most music. This one doesn’t, my speakers are in storage and are probably too large for the room anyway, and the walls are paper thin.

Someone’s done a spotify playlist of 50 melancholy California songs on ILM and I listen to a few on the tube – John Phillips – Topanga Canyon is on that LA Burnout LP I downloaded and is my favourite of what I listen to, but I only listen to a few before going underground and Spotify no longer has a signal (the things that replace skipping records and scrambled tapes as confusions upon recorded music).

I switch to random on my ipod and get Henry Purcell – Dido’s Lament, which has a line in it which I always think is ‘Remember me but oh! forget my feet’, and always makes me laugh, but is of course entirely incorrect and not entirely in keeping.

The Fall – Ibis Afro Man, their cover of Iggy Pop’s Africa Man, comes on next. It starts off lumbering and with no momentum at all, before having a really quite long section of screeching monkeys, with the song playing on a crap tape in the background, before suddenly breaking into a sleek turbocharged rockabilly version of Gene Vincent’s wonderful Race with the Devil, before it all finally breaks down into mobile phone interference. The auditory margins of Fall songs have always been hyperaware of the context in which we listen to things.

I’m walking now, my favourite way to listen to music on headphones, always feeling slightly self-conscious when I’m near others. Earth – Hell’s Winter comes on. I couldn’t really get into this album, but at this moment it feels right, one of the few times shuffle has come up trumps.

Spurs go down, but the pub have the volume down for the ruining of Zadok The Priest thank Christ.


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