Saturday, November 22, 2008

Driving without due care

Driving drunk is a bad thing. Ditto for drugs. But driving listening to music can be just as dangerous. If you have a feeling for music, there are pieces that are not merely distractingly good, they are forgetting-to-breathe-and-ploughing-through-a-bus-queue good.

Take for example an old favourite of mine from 1994 : "Roads" by Portishead. After a four hour drive home during which it played constantly over the ostinato of my diesel engine, I stumbled into the house, sought out Mrs Stan and demanded she immediately explain why it just worked.

Not "Darling I'm home after four nights away on the road, kiss kiss", but a wide-eyed madman wanting musicology, stat.

As I've explained before, I'm not a sophisticated musician and there is usually some laughably simple trick that has tickled my reptilian brain-stem. The musical equivalent of waving something shiny at a baby. This time however, Mrs Stan had to resort to Purcell, Bach and Scottish folk music to explain what was going on.

Anyway, apologies to anyone taking the scenic route through the Cotswolds from the M4 to the M5 past Swindon and Cirencester yesterday evening. I hope my singing didn't affect the quality of my driving too much. It's a beautiful road and I promise next time I drive it I'll play something less distracting and keep my mind on the road.

Other Emotional Music I shouldn't listen to while driving (the emotion varies):-
  • "Karma Police" - Radiohead
  • "Exit Music (for a film)" - Radiohead
  • "End of the World News" - Tom McRae
  • "Paint it Black" - The Rolling Stones
  • "My Guitar Gently Weeps" - The Beatles
  • "Sinnerman" by Nina Simone
  • The Queen of the Night bit from Mozart's "The Magic Flute"
  • Richard Strauss' "Four Last Songs"
  • Mahler's Fifth Symphony
  • Schubert's Ave Maria
  • Sam Cooke - "A Change is gonna come"
  • David Bowie - "Wild is the Wind"
  • Nirvana - "Something in the Way"
Update : I found a live version of "Roads" on YouTube, and it's even better (apart from the yahoos whooping over the quiet bits).

Kenny : agreeing with your recent comments on Dido. I want to force her to listen to Beth Gibbons and scream "Like this, like this, you hack".

Dido is James Blunt with breasts - Beth Gibbons is a singer.

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