Why Do You Listen?

‘Surround me with music, I’m not ready for the silence’

Just over a week ago, while walking home from work one night, I had an idea I thought about exploring here. Actually it was more of a question. And although it was dark and cold out, before I forgot what the question was and my reason for asking it, I reached into my bag, pulled out my notebook and jotted it down. It was a simple enough question on the surface but after making my note and resuming the walk home, I thought there could actually be something more to it. I started thinking of what my own answer to the question might be, but quickly I realized that this entire blog has been doing that right from the start.  Every time I write about how music makes me feel, about the emotions, thoughts and memories it evokes for me it answers that question.  But I thought it might be interesting to hear how other people might respond,  so off to Facebook I went.

The question I posed was simply- ‘Why do you listen to music?’ But in explaining my reason for asking it, I added-

“I want you to think about it for a minute and not just say ‘because it makes me happy, it makes me want to dance, etc’. Those are great reasons, but is there something else, deep down that makes you want to hear music, whether it is Beethoven, Black Sabbath or Beyonce? ”

I was quite frankly surprised at the depth of ways people answered the question. Though some answers were direct and to the point, others were very detailed, specific, and personal. A few people mentioned how music was a calming influence. A balance between both good and bad times. A decompression from stress and a way to make them feel better. Music helps them get there.  For others it was a time stamp of sorts, a direct link every time a song comes on to who you were with and what you were doing the first time you heard it. Some found a deep connection with the lyrics especially, with a realization that the words helped them through difficult times.   Continue reading “Why Do You Listen?”


Photo Shuffle-Ted The Mechanic

I pressed ‘Play’ on my Ipod and this is what I heard…Vavoom: Ted The Mechanic, By Deep Purple.

There are many truisms in life as we all know. Moments that can be summed up in simple phrases. We get a lot of them from our parents growing up especially.  “Two wrongs don’t make it right”, or “a watched pot never boils.” All true of course and ones we relish passing on ourselves as we get older. However there are other types of truisms we only learn as we grow older, that come from situations and places we only encounter as adults. One that I have gradually learned to heed and not partake in anymore is not to discuss heavy subject matters in bars. No politics, no religion and in my case, definitely not who should play left field for the Yankees next year.

Though some of  this comes to play in Deep Purple’s song Vavoom:Ted The Mechanic, the song is about something much more I think. It is more about those shady characters one meets in places like bars or other public places who have a lot to say about everything. You know the ones who despite your best efforts to look away or act disinterested always seem to target you making you wonder if you have a big sign over your head saying ‘Talk To Me!’ The ones you are slightly wary of who deftly weave tales of their lifetime of hardship and woe better than any poet can. Who have more opinions about life than the op-ed section does in the newspaper. The ones who struggle and tell you about every hardship they have ever been stricken with yet somehow maintain an incredible “oh well, that’s life” sort of attitude.  Much like the character of Ted The Mechanic in this song by Deep Purple. Inevitably, the reluctance I feel in those situations is often replaced by a sort of reverence towards them and feeling much as they say in the song- “the beauty of it was that he was right!” Usually it ends with a drink and a glass raised as I think in private, well done you clever bastard, well done!

One final quick thought about Deep Purple themselves. This song comes from their 1996 album Purpendicular and marked a bit of a change of sound for the band courtesy of a new guitarist. The one thing that has remained in all versions of the band is that they still rock and above it all are LOUD. I would like to take a moment to personally thank Deep Purple for causing loss of hearing over a 24 hour period after seeing them perform in the late 1980’s, chiefly due to the organ playing of the late great Jon Lord.  I salute you all!

Vavoom: Ted The Mechanic-Written By Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Jon Lord, Ian Paice & Steve Morse

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All Photographs By Robert P. Doyle

*Photo Shuffle is a new, very short slice of my regular blogs based on setting my Ipod on shuffle and matching up one of my photographs to whatever comes up.