Untitled no1

Excuse me whilst I improvise...

I've written a piece about how terrible Glastonbury Festival is but it won't appear anywhere because I decided that I didn't want to give anyone, especially you, the impression that I really, really cared that much...

Every year it comes around and every year I think ´Why?' Last week I read a quote from Carl Jung, it said ´Man in the crowd is unconsciously lowered to an inferior moral and intellectual level'. Unfortunately that suggests an air of superiority and I have no grounds to feel superior, intellectually or morally, over anyone. I only got two CSEs at school and I have no idea what constitutes a morally sound person.

People may have got the impression over the years that I do feel superior in some way, perhaps because I've expressed opinions and, OK, yes, mocked, just a little, some people and their tastes. I hereby beg forgiveness for that, and state that the 112,000 people who paid ú105 for a ticket to the Glastonbury Festival have every right to do so without being criticised or laughed at by me. I forgive them all, for they know not what they do.

How could they know that by going to Glastonbury Festival they're a part of the problem, rather than the solution, and that the festival represents the ultimate in consumerist culture masquerading as a week-end revolution for lovers of the psuedo-alternative, the kind of which has been thoroughly packaged and presented, like all phoney alternatives, as a handy capitalist recreational fix? People who join the masses worshipping Radiohead have such empty lives that they feel the need to substitute God with Tom Yorke without even realising their dependence on a religious figure to give their lives meaning. There is no ´meaning'! Least of all in musical entertainment...THEY'RE ALL PATHETIC AND SHOULD BE SHOT!

Oh dear. No, I didn't mean to say that. Sorry.

Woe is me...music is no longer a source of inspiration, and hasn't been for a few weeks. Perhaps this is the beginning of the end of a relationship that's lasted for over thirty years. The kind of thrill I felt when mum handed over a Mott The Hoople album (all the way from Woolies) which I'd asked her to buy with pocket money from a ´paper round, will never be felt again...boo-hoo.

Such is life. I call upon the spirit of Coltrane, Miles, and the rest of the gang to help me in this hour of need, but even their artistry cannot change my continuing response, which is, appropriately in the case of Miles, ´So what?'. Perhaps I need a sabbatical from sound in order to appreciate it again. Unfortunately, I still have to put up with the radio in the office at work, which is currently tuned to Jazz FM - the horror! It may be better than Capitol, Kiss or Radio One, but as any discerning listener to daytime radio knows, that is saying very little.

Kenny G used to be an accountant, so the DJ informed us the other day. ´You wouldn't know it from his playing, would you?', he added. For a while afterwards I tried to work out whether he was being sarcastic, but of course he wasn't. These purveyors of ´smooth jazz' set about on a daily basis to suck the very soul from the music by presenting not only the least thoughtful, least creative examples of the art, but the same damn tracks every day.

At best they acknowledge Ella or Frank, or even Brubeck (yes, you can guess which tune), but the sparkle on these gems is smothered by the overwhelming mass of mediocrity. From wine bar fuzak to pop dross (inc the Luther Van variety), they relentlessly pursue their course of creative limitation. Oh for some Mingus, or Ellington (not too frightening, surely?), some Sarah Vaughn, Billie Holiday, Count Basie, or anything from the canon of ´comfortable' Blue Note recordings? The potential list is as endless as their ability to resist exploring it whilst reducing ´jazz' to a meaningless noun which incorporates Lisa Stansfield - Christ! I'm depressing myself...

One hour later, having danced around the room to Charlie's ´Hog Callin' Blues', I feel much better. The current experience of listening to the Art Ensemble playing ´Odwalla' is also soothing my soul and, yes, even lifting my spirits. Thank god, or more precisely, thank Charlie, Roscoe, Lester and rest for providing hope...

© 2003 Robin Tomens


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