I love my gym. I really do, but there's just this one little thing... the music, if you can call it that.
The clientele at the gym is beefy, balding and middle-aged; the staff is youthful, fun-loving and toned. The music is theirs and many of us glance at each other and groan as yet another rapper CD is placed into the player. There have been times when some members have simply turned down the volume to give staff the message. It works until there's a shift change and the newcomer re-adjusts it to new levels. But at whatever level the music is mind-numbing, the lyrics hardly worthy of the name.
There's an angry sexism in the lines. Female singers are invariably submissive, the men all Grunts who bellow out the lyrics to a chorus of wails…. We listen and bear it. Nobody could say we're not in touch with today's techno music which seems to enlist any sound going to complement the depleted lyrics. There's one constant though and it's the endless techno beat, and listening to it as you try to purify your body, you get an insight into its appeal when minds are numbed by P.
It's easy for our generation to say this music sucks. But remember when our parents listened in horror to the way The Marcels bom-boppa-bombed their way through the tender lyrics of Blue Moon, a song of their era? And that was just one - there was shoo wop; doo lang doo lang doo lang; shanan rama rama and doo ron doo ron, along with the gentler sh-boom sh-boom. I was about to go the vinyl and poke around the labels of some slightly buckled 45s (remember those?) when my wife who's clearly past all that, connected me to You Tube. So now you can see the Marcels doing their thing at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9hwQgjKSB4
That gym music, this technology… they have something in common: they're quick, easy and simple. Sounds like a fun-loving time all those years ago - before we began frowning at the New.