The Soundtrack

The Soundtrack

People mention the soundtrack. They didn’t always. There was a time the word “soundtrack” was new.

As people bought more – and longer – records, “the soundtrack to people’s lives” became spoken about.

Nowadays people actively store up a personal soundtrack. Beloved records; sober melodies; shouty anthems; groany ditties; mooing verses; all performed minus crackles and all to remain unshared. The mine mined for “Mine”. Played in the solitariness and warmth of private recollection, they serve up to a point.

What is called now a “playlist” was once perforce a shared event. We have all become our own DJ, hearing without listening and listening without hearing.

Music has assumed the role once found in gifts – that they were to remind the recipient of the giver. A pot or spoon or trinket or jewel imbued with kindness and fond affection. Now music is used to store up extra-musical emotions and memories – but not given by loved ones. Rather it is self selected.

And it was not always so. Simply because the recordings were not there.

What is slightly peculiar is a refusal to listen outside the chosen sphere. Listeners are sometimes missing and dissing – basically dismissing – so much that is enjoyable. But liking only what is known and knowing only what is liked are more surprisingly starting points rather than end points.

Endeavour in all fields – including passively enjoying a wider selection of music – is to be applauded. Doing that makes what is liked genuinely special and memorable. One might enjoy reading the telephone directory but such a predilection does not preclude the reading and enjoyment derived from classical literature for example.

But what of this soundtrack – the one of our lives?

In an ideal world that would contain geniune sounds of our lives. A self-made DVD box-set of happy events from the days of our lives. Each box-set unique to each person. The real soundtrack would include happy conversations and laughter from our loved ones; presents being unwrapped; snatches of chat informally recorded. The din of domestic appliances; our old cars; retirement speeches; talks had along with people we liked; our pets playing; a door closing; noisy children in a hallway; the visit of friends and relatives. There is surely more yet. These would make the soundtrack. But who has thought to make one such? Hmm? Well we should all perhaps. How useful would that be. And as for hearing, that is the last thing to go, if you see what I am saying.

The music – such as it is – is incidental.


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