Saturday, October 15, 2011


imageI was sitting at work on Friday, struggling to find the gist of a paper I was reading, when I realised that a big factor in my failure to comprehend it was down to Pat Benatar.  Someone had a radio on, and the 80’s pop process was belting out Love is a Battlefield*.

I could have shut my office door to preserve the silence, but that runs contrary to the oft-quoted need for an open-door policy with staff, so I didn’t.  I should have been able to shut it out, just like you do when working in a noisy office environment, but I couldn’t.  Why not?  I think it’s because there’s a sense of grim anticipation – the sure knowledge that another excruciating lyric is on its way, and once it’s gone, you know that the same line will be back time and time again, or another one equally worthless.

I eventually found the miscreant and got them to turn the radio off, but it got me wondering why people think it’s OK to foist their musical preferences on others.  Consequently it was something of a coincidence when I discovered, via some tweet or other, the Pipedown website.  This group, which numbers such luminaries as Stephen Fry, is committed to the abolition of piped music in public places such as department stores and restaurants.  I’d advocate adding offices to their list as well.

* note to Pat – it’s nothing like a battlefield.  Totally different things.

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