Channa Vithana / “Regardless of genre, what really turns me on ……….

Music continues to be within the very structure of my life.

Consequently, I use it as non-background direct stimulus when I work, or equally as engrossing and positively mind-massaging pharmaceuticals when I am not. Even an atrocity like a Cliff Richard record must never be in the background – like dinner-party fodder. Dinner-party ‘classics’ sucked up greedily by the caring-sharing Guardian or right-wing & bourgeoisie Daily Mail reading cognoscenti – replayed in life-force draining repositories masquerading as music reproducing machinery – destroys what could have once been great music.

It takes years for truly great music to restore itself into its original compositional trajectory (as the author intended) after being hung, drawn and quartered in this manner.

Moby’s music is one such example, and so is the French duo Air. Don’t forget Nina Simone, Goldfrapp’s ‘Felt Mountain’, Louis Armstrong or the Three ‘amigos’ – can I just have one Cornetto please? Why do you think you hate their music? How often have you heard their now annoying tunes? Wouldn’t it have been better if you hadn’t heard anything by them in the first place rather than the dinner-party version?

Thus, these ironically bloodless muzak-vampires gorge on ……..

heavily diluted and thus altered versions of former musical delights that were once richly sanguine pleasures. Accordingly, new versions, for-your-dinner-party-pleasure are endlessly compiled and repackaged as boil-in-the-bag and force-fed from the entire aperture of the gormless media… A great dinner party has ebulliently crafty conversation with friends and strangers. A great party has live music! A soirée with properly reproduced music can only instil silence from the guests because they are rapt in the emotions of listening. Background music, reproduced on the most soporific ‘hi-fi’ must only be utilised for the vilest savages.

 Therefore beware of, or even luxuriate in your new status amongst your ‘peers’ when you next experience background music at a dinner-party…well, did you evah! I started seriously listening to music in 1980. I was eight years old.

I ‘borrowed’ ……….

my dad’s Sony separates system, which at £500 back then was rather expensive for my family. It was a good investment, for me at least. It is still in my possession. At eight years old I had moderately eclectic musical desires, and started out by loving the music of Jimi Hendrix, The Eurythmics, Blondie, Bob Dylan and Abba*. I still love these musicians today.

As I grew older I began to adore electronic music by groups like Kraftwerk, Joy Division and New Order. The bombastic rock of Led Zeppelin, the avant-garde sophistication of Bowie, the bluesy style of Eric Clapton, and the Rolling Stones** were also musically attractive. I grew out of Clapton and the Stones as my twenties faded because I can’t stand their bland dinner-party classic status, after one too many of their new albums, usually described by dinner-party hosts as the best since the last one, ad nauseam.

Led Zeppelin however, hovers around like a satellite and I occasionally beam my self up, just as with the Beatles. Bowie remains an outstanding enigma-chameleon and I even like his so-called ‘crap’ albums – at least he doesn’t repeat himself. I love Slayer & The Carpenters, Megadeth & Gwen Stefani and Miles Davis too. Elgar, Bach and Ligeti are delectable. Stockhausen’s hydra-like and machiavellian influence on modern music is infectious. Music does not have any genre boundaries for me anymore.

Regardless of genre, what really turns me on ………..

has inherent quintessence like melody, rhythm and harmony – whether logical or asymmetrically composed it is immaterial. The artists and musicians I have just mentioned, within their ‘genre boundaries’ are simply just a few that have come to the top of my head while writing this. Moby once said something along the lines that music in record shops should only be classified alphabetically and not by genre…

* It took me 23 years to completely reclaim Abba from the garish, transvestite cabarets and failed, drunken-dancing, karaoke women. Abba’s sublime songwriting craft and salient melodies belong to me again, unadulterated with its original intent as nothing more than ultra-pop idiom.

** Though nowhere near as talented in music as Lucien Freud is in art, I think Mick Jagger, in his sixties, is magnificent for his unselfconscious lust towards younger women and Keith Richards is amazing because he will always be deemed cooler than ‘Sir’ Mick. Lucien Freud, who has been working and creating art even during his 83rd year, has been reported as recently having a ‘muse’ in her late twenties. What a swell party this is! I wonder if Mick can get any satisfaction when/if he reaches his eighties?

Channa Vithana


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