The eruption of total music
There was no music and there were no flashing lights or flickering screens in the pub, just a few people gathered around small tables, chatting and having a quiet drink. Only an occasional burst of laughter rose above the sociable murmur. I cursed the electricity that produces so many little hells of electronic stimulation, until I recalled that I like my drinks cooled.- Theodore Dalrymple, on why the Baroque is superior to Rock.
No music! That its absence should strike me so forcefully, rather as the heat when you step off an air-conditioned aircraft into a tropical country, demonstrates how insidiously pervasive it has become in our urban environment. It is like a poisonous gas that a malign authority pumps into our atmosphere, whose doleful effect, and probably purpose, is to destroy our capacity to converse, to concentrate, to reflect. It agitates us, keeps us constantly on the move, makes us impulsive and lacking in judgement.
Like Dr. Dalrymple, I too despise the omnipresence of music and think it malign, though not to the extent that Reger, a character in Thomas Bernhard’s great novel Old Masters, does:
Our age has witnessed the eruption of total music, anywhere between the North Pole and the South Pole you are forced to hear music, in the city or out in the country, on the high seas or in the desert, Reger said. People have been stuffed full of music every day for so long that they have long lost all feeling for music...People today, because they have nothing else left, suffer from a pathological music consumption, Reger said, this music consumption will be driven forward by the industry, which controls people today, to a point where everybody is destroyed; there is a lot of talk nowadays about waste and chemicals which have destroyed everything, but music destroys a lot more than waste and chemicals do, it is music that eventually will destroy absolutely everything totally, mark my words. The first thing to be destroyed by the music industry are people's auditory canals and next, as a logical consequence, the people themselves...I can already see people totally destroyed by the music industry, Reger said, those masses of music-industry victims eventually populating the continents with their musical cadaverous stench...The music industry will one day have the population on its conscience....not just chemicals and waste, believe me. The music industry is the murderer of human beings, the music industry is the real mass murderer of humanity which, if the music industry continues on its present lines, will have no hope whatever within a few decades.