Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Beat addiction

Standing outside the Royal Mail collection office I ripped open the cardboard packaging to my Sennheiser ear-phones with the frenzied hands of a 7 year old on Christmas morning. Never before have I been so desperate to jam those little noise-isolating plugs into my ears.

It’s been 2 weeks since I lost my earphones in Vauxhall Park (don’t ask me how). Since I refuse to use those cup-on-a-string white buds that come free with the ipod, I’ve been living music free for the last 14 days now. I do still have my chunky home-listening headphones but due to general busy-ness outside of work hours I haven’t had much time with those either. Point is, I’ve clearly realised how addicted to music I am.

Over the last week I’ve been doing things that must be symptoms of withdrawal. Deprived from my daily gorging on electronic beats, I’ve been latching onto anything remotely rhythmic in my local environment. I hallucinate drum patterns among the traffic noise and hear synth lines hidden in car alarms. This is par for the course for a frazzled brain after a big night out but 7pm on a Tuesday evening? My ears are reaching. Other times I would beatbox to myself without realising it (often in public) only to suddenly stop out of embarrassment. To entertain myself I sometimes replay hip-hop and grime lyrics in my head but after being away from the source material for so long I lose grasp of what the tracks originally sounded like. As a result, tempos change, intonation gets twisted and verses run together. Eventually all the lyrics in my head would converge into a cross-genre uber-medley where Wu-Tang’s Gravel Pit mixes seamlessly into Dizzee’s Stand up Tall.

More worryingly, after a stressful work phone call, a big meal or a session of bedroom activity I have an instant craving to listen to grime instrumentals!

Rhythm is my nicotine.

Thankfully I’m plugged in again but the enjoyable aspect of withdrawal was being able to enjoy, out of sheer desperation for a beat, the lowest common denominator crap I usually hear in clothing stores, gay clubs and on teenage girls’ phones. It was nice to take a break from being the sneering anorak I usually am. Perhaps I should have more of these little music fasts in the future.

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