Sunday, 20 December 2009

Music or Movies?


The ridiculous Internet campaign to get an outdated Rage Against The Machine track to the Christmas no.1 spot in the UK ahead of limp offering from the winner of a TV talent show has made me really stop and think about how little music means to me these days. There used to be a time where I was always buying CDs, going to gigs and getting excited about bands. It's all...stopped. Now, I get excited about movies that are coming out, or forthcoming books and comics.

Give me a choice between getting jostled about by drunk people at a gig, or sitting in the dark watching the magic of cinema unfold, and it's fairly obvious what I'd pick. If you told me that I had to choose between the activities associated with music and the activities associated with cinema, and that this choice would be permanent, I would have no qualms about choosing cinema. Besides, I have two degrees in film so it's obvious where my allegiances lie. However, ask me to choose between the cinema, or a lazy afternoon curled up with a good book, and we'll have a problem.

Anyway. My point is, I think that I'd choose cinema and literature (which also encompasses TV and comics) over music because of the story telling. Sure, music can (and often does) tell a story, but it's difficult to feel compelled, or moved by the magic of the narrative, by a song that is often around four minutes long. Movies and novels can take you to faraway lands and different times, and they can introduce you to new people and interesting concepts. If a song tries to do that, it often ends up pretentious or overblown. Fairly odd, really, considering the original ballads were stories in song form.

So back to the choice. Unless it's a band that I really like, or who will entertain me for an hour, I'll shy away from the idea of going to a gig. But pop anything written by Oscar Wilde or Neil Gaiman into my hand and guide me to a comfy seat, with a hot drink and possibly a supply of cookies nearby, and I'll be truly happy. The fact that reading can often be a solitary activity, and I'm no great lover of crowds, is probably no coincedence.

So everyone else can have their gigs and their downloads, but I'll settle for a quiet library or a darkened cinema any day...

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