Category: Opinion

Is it Jazz, is it Afrobeat, is it world music?

The record store owner frowned at me when I asked him where he kept Fela Kuti, under ‘Jazz’ or ‘World Music’. I already assumed he wouldn’t have ‘Afrobeat’ as a separate category or awared Fela Kuti his own, private entry. For a moment I saw him searching for the right words and then he said…


Some of 2019’s best

When listing the best albums of 2019 it is difficult to ignore the voice of the critics. Most people will agree to a large extent with the critics, some, like me, with a strong dislike of authority, will take the opposite position, and claim critics only follow each other and are more focused on being…


We are the music makers (1873-1964-1992)

End of year, time to take stock. Time to say goodbye to ideas that have done nothing more but collecting dust. Time to address the most annoying part of getting older; becoming a grumpy old man no one wants to listen to, someone who is increasingly living in the past and only deals in comparisons…


Earplugs and gags

Suppose every book comes with the warning not to read when light intensity is less than 300 lux, that doing so could damage your eyes. Or museums offering special glasses to protect us against aggressive colours by blocking or filtering those. After all, it can’t be healthy to be subjected to high doses of bright…


Music for elevators

It stopped me in my tracks. At first I didn’t know why, but then I realised, the music in the elevator I just came out was an instrumental version of ‘Don’t look back in Anger‘, complete with a sweet, nondescript string section. It stopped me in my tracks for two unrelated reasons. First, the sudden…


Top 10 of concert annoyances!

Back in the old days, when smoking was still allowed everywhere, I never noticed the smell of other people. One of the advantages of a venue filled with smoke is that it literally covers and blocks all other nasal sensations. Having said that, smelly people is hardly my biggest concert annoyance. Here’s my personal Top…


Love me…please!

The audience was gradually getting nervous as Black Midi extended songs beyond recognition, almost stopped playing altogether, engaged in prolonged stop-start patterns with satanic pleasure and then, all of a sudden, started the next song without even waiting for applause. This was exciting, dangerous, finally a band pushing boundaries of technical possibilities, song structure and…


Can music be too clever?

We admire intelligent people, might even love the bright, but we instinctively sense something is off with the smart and clever ones. Street-smart is good, being a smart-ass definitely isn’t, and clever almost always carries an element of trying too hard, of desperately wanting to be better than the rest; standing out for the sake…


Best decade ever…

Ever wondered why 60’s music sounds so much better than music from the current decade? Or why there’s so much more good to excellent music from the 70’s compared to the 90’s? It’s not that complicated. Moving popular, fashionable but otherwise mediocre music to the dustbin of history is a gradual process. The further we…


Why no one reads Ulysses anymore

So, did you finally find the courage to read it? She smiled as she asked the question, the young cashier at the bookstore. I looked at the copy of Ulysses I just handed over to her and then back at her smile, still unsure if I should be insulted or not. Truth is I had…


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