Saturday, May 25, 2013

Music's like a train that nobody gets off

We were hanging around last Monday as the bands got ready for our Word In Your Ear show with David Ford and My Darling Clementine. The sound and lights were being looked after by a young woman dressed like Tank Girl. The guitarist with My Darling Clementine, pub-rock veteran Martin Belmont, was talking about back pain and anti-inflammatory pills. The drummer mentioned he used to subscribe to my magazine. Which one? The Word? No. Smash Hits.

I get glimpses occasionally but I can no longer accurately work out generations of music people.

Music's like a long train. Some people got on at the beginning of the line. Others join it later. They can explore the rest of the carriages but their experience of the journey will not be the same as the people who got on earlier. The passengers who've been there longest may point out that the train is going round in circles and has passed certain landmarks before. The newer passengers don't care. It's new to them. In fact they might get excited about a station which they previously passed through without comment. Their view of the journey is a different one. Unlike real trains, this one has unlimited capacity. Once you're on the train, nobody checks your ticket.

And here's the really significant thing, the thing which has more bearing on the music economy than file sharing and whatever happens to be the latest thing. More and more people get on but hardly anyone gets off, unless, of course, they're compelled by forces beyond their control.


  1. The journey of the train is narrated by Ringo Starr.

  2. I am very, very wary of the word 'journey' as a catch all to describe any significant life experience but this perhaps justifies it, David. Great words on the amorphous, life-changing and always completely baffling experience that is music. Thank you.