Why I hate music

I don’t like music. Shocking isn’t it? Well it’s true if you were to use any accepted method of analysis to see that out of all the multiplicities of music available I like such a tiny proportion that I almost like none of it. I’d rather it be that way, I’d rather be discernible as to what I spend my time enjoying. If I ask someone what sort of music they like and they reply ‘oh, all sorts, everything’, what they’re really saying is that they basically like ‘sound’. Few may agree with my taste, but I’d rather have some kind of taste than be that random.

Maybe it’s because I write music, I analyse music, I perform music but most of all I ‘use’ music for a purpose and I know what that purpose is. It’s probably the same purpose that we all use music for; mood changing or mood enhancing. I use music as a drug – to externally control my emotions.

And that’s why I’m so discerning about what music I like, because I’m discerning about what emotions I want to feel. I choose emotions that serve my purpose and therefore choose music that serves a purpose.

That’s why I rarely listen to music radio. I don’t want a station’s playlist randomly shifting my emotions. (That’s not to say I don’t want to find new music that I might like, as I do. To me finding new music is like panning for gold though a lot of dirt. When I find something it’s wonderful.)

This is why I object to out-of-place music.

The sauna/steam room I visit has started playing music. The health club already pumps music into the bar area, the changing rooms, the toilets and the gym. There is now no escape from other people’s choice of sound. The music they play in the steam room is classical. That is the wrong choice. People generally go to the sauna/steam room to relax. Classic music is stimulating, it is not relaxing. Anything with a melody excites the brain and stimulates it. Classic music is all melody. Without this music we would hear the rushing of the water from the spa which is almost pure white noise. Sounds like the crashing of waves, humming and buzzing sounds are made up from all frequencies just as white light is made up from all colours. At low volumes white noise allows brain waves to slow down, to relax and then enter meditative state.

If I go into a cafe, restaurant or pub it’s usually for good conversation. So I don’t need loud music drowning out voices. I also don’t want beat music. Music with a beat forces the body and mind to adopt its rhythm. That’s perfect for dance music, but I don’t want an external random rhythm forced on my conversations.

Some people like to work in silence and some people like babble or the radio on. It does depend of the type of work and whether you are able to disengage from the sound for it to become for you white noise or not. I can’t do that with my work of writing or designing. If there is spoken word going on around me I can’t help but to listen to what is said. If music is playing I cant help but listen to it.

I have to engage with music. I can’t help myself. The wrong music in the wrong place will make me angry but the right music in the right place is amazing. So I love music after all.

Have a think about what you listen to, when, where and why and ask yourself what you engage with and what you don’t. See if you are controlling your emotions and therefore your decisions or if you are in fact surrendering control to someone else.

What music do you use for certain activities? Do you have different music for exercise, motorway travel, creative time, for relaxing or for confidence?

For more see:

Business As Unusual

I have no sympathy if you’re going bust.

Seriously, I haven’t. Why should I? I don’t mean to be rude, but being rude, if you’re business is in trouble it’s for one reason and one reason only. I shouldn’t need to spell out that reason but I will:

You’re not selling enough stuff.

We can’t blame the economic situation. We can’t blame the government. If we’re not selling it’s because of only two reasons:

1. People don’t want what you’ve got.
2. You’re not good enough at selling.

That’s it. And both of those are no-one’s responsibility but your own.

Once we accept that, perhaps we can do something about it. We’re living in unusual times that call for unusual ideas to combat these two issues. We need to be doing ‘Business as Unusual’.

That’s why I have little sympathy for struggling businesses who haven’t grasped that. I’ve presented to quite a few small-medium business leaders over the past few months and am often quite dismayed and sad that some of these companies will soon no longer be with us. I talk about how we can be more creative in business, to generate killer ideas to solve problems and improve (i.e. innovate) business processes such as sales, marketing and service. But many just don’t listen.

For example, as a matter of course I have a look at the websites of the companies I’m speaking to beforehand. What horrible sights I see. Clutter and slop, lack of information for potential customers, nasty images and confusing navigation topped off with antiquarian logos. But that’s not the problem. The problem is that when I say that I’ve had a look at their websites, they say, “We know about that. We’ve had a web expert in and we know about that”. “When did you see this expert?” I ask and the answer is, “9 months ago.” 9 months and they’ve done nothing about it.

If they haven’t the facilities, the time or the inclination to sort out something as simple as the errors I see on those websites, there’s little hope they can satisfy the basic needs of a cautious customer who has plenty of options.

‘Business as Unusual’ is about looking at your business in a different way. Perhaps as the customer looks at it. To me these tiny, almost insignificant problems are the tip of the iceberg of a lack of focus, due diligence, quality and customer focus. Having dirty offices, a rusty sign and bad telephone manners are signals that something is very wrong. So too is an out-of-date looking logo, bland business cards and a website from 1996. It’s as if these businesses have been sleepwalking for the past 12 years or so.

‘Business as Unusual’ is about allowing yourself to think differently. To consider other ways of doing things. It’s about considering possibilities and working out where your boundaries and restrictions really are, not where you think they are. It’s about making new connections and taking risks, knowing that standing still will mean losing ground. It’s about doing all you can.

Business as usual has come to an end. To survive we need to realise that and embrace the scary prospect of change: Business as Unusual. Be ready.

(Actually I do have sympathy for those businesses, especially in manufacturing, who find themselves caught out because of extraneous pressures out of their control. Van manufacturer LDV comes to mind. A small loan would save this UK company, and we’d get to keep a great brand with a long history and have it back in UK ownership, but it seems our government will only ‘save’ banks or foreign owned businesses.)

For more see: