I thought it would be easy. Wearing an MP3 player. Thought I could still be a normal member of society, fit in like everyone else does.
You shouldn’t listen to the Ricky Gervais podcast in Tesco’s. Because it’s funny, and funny can bring on laughter. Seemingly spontaneous bouts of laughter in the frozen goods isle, brings on confused looks and derision by those that hang around such places. I just needed frozen chips for those moments when only frozen chips will do. And with them in my hands, Gervais springs a funny in my ears and I fall into laughter. People stare at a man seemingly laughing at a packet of frozen chips, so I drop them and shake my head. I pick up another packet of chips, and look around with a solemn face that tells people that unlike the previous packet, this one holds little or no comedic value. They seem to understand.
But it’s music that’s the real danger. It has far too much say in how you walk and generally move. That’s ok when music’s coming from big speakers, out in the open. Then we can all be affected by the same rhythm together. No, it’s when you’re the only one with it in your ears. One lapse of concentration…you forget the rest of the world isn’t listening to ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, and you’re the only one Boots banging your head up and down.
Or the slow sad reflective ballad. Where every body movement is slowed down. Taking a tin of beans off a shelf in Tesco’s becomes an unusually profound experience. The memories start to flow, “I once fell in love with a can of baked beans, and it left me for a Pot Noodle. And this same-branded tin reminds me so much of the can I loved, with its beautiful blue labelling and equivalency to a single portion of the five recommended fruit and vegetables portions per-day .”
For me though, it has to be jogging where music through headphones becomes most unhelpful. I find it impossible not to be infected by the rhythm in the song. For example, there’s a run that would normally take about forty minutes around the Downs. If I’m listening to Pink Floyd at the time, it can take me up to six days. This leads to malnutrition and the feeling of being isolated from society, like I'm behind some metaphorical wall. Then there’s the Prodigy. With this on the jog will only take twenty seconds, though unfortunately it‘s a twenty second sprint that only gets me to the first tree before I collapse vowing to smack my bitch up.
The only way to listen to music and jog at a suitable speed is to get some, not too angry, not too relaxing, not to fast, not too slow, not too anything music. Thankyou for dedicating your entire career to making people run at a manageable tempo Phil Collins.