Turn that volume down; music is best heard softly

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 3, 2001

I have never liked loud music.

Wednesday, October 03, 2001

I have never liked loud music. I think an over-zealous bagpipe player must have frightened me while I was still in the crib. Perhaps my mother was a big fan of Frank Sinatra’s heavy metal years?

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My wife, The Queen B, and I were invited to a party recently for three friends who were all celebrating their birthdays at once. I think they get a group discount on their ages that way. They are wonderful people, the birthday celebrants, so The Queen B and I went to the party. The party included a dance. The music was provided by a disc jockey – one of those sound and light shows. Actually, it should be called a SOUND! and light show. It was loud. Almost as loud as the musicians who provide the grandstand entertainment at the county fair.

Now I do dance. Not everyone would consider what I do to be dancing, but I have a wide definition of dancing. If dance skills were money and Cadillacs were a dime a dozen, I couldn’t afford to drive a Yugo. I believe that man was meant to sing, not to dance. I base this theory on the fact that I sing a medley of my favorite tunes while I am in the shower, but I never dance while I am in the shower. I have never talked to anyone who dances in the shower, but we all sing in the shower. If that isn’t proof that man was meant to sing and not dance, I don’t know what is.

My wife loves dancing, so I dance. My wife is to dancing, what a workaholic is to overtime. She loves to dance – any kind of dance. Me, I am what you would call a specialist. I’ll slow dance. That’s not really all that I’ll do. I also dance slowly. I don’t dance very long, before my mysterious football injury kicks in and forces me to go home before the Hokey-Pokey and the Chicken Dance raise their ugly heads.

Maybe it is age that makes me want to put in my couple of dances and then head for home? I am old enough to remember bands. We have gone from the Big Band Era to the No Band Era. A band was a group made up of real live people who played musical instruments in such a way that folks were inclined to dance to the sounds produced. Sometimes they played music so softly that you could be in the same county as the band and talk to someone and that person could actually hear what you said. It was amazing. Conversation and music at the same time. Now the usual conversations at dances consist of &uot;Huh?&uot; &uot;What?&uot; and a lot of blank looks. People like to talk to one another and some even like to hear what the other person is saying.

The music is too loud for me today. I guess it is just the way that I am wired. I enjoy a small cafe more than I do a fast food restaurant. I like a cafe with interesting photos or paintings on its walls instead of blaring TVs. I prefer a walk in the woods to a treadmill. I’d rather watch a movie with a plot, character development and dialogue than one with a lot of special effects. I prefer a good book to a sitcom. I enjoy writing a letter more than I do talking on a cell phone. I have never used an ATM, preferring a living, breathing bank teller. I’ll take Louis Prima and Billie Holiday over the Beatles and the Eagles any day. I favor wildflowers over lawns and a snowman over a snowblower. Whenever I feel that life is moving too fast, I listen to Michael Bolton sing. One of his songs lasts a lifetime and makes root canal sound good in comparison. I’d rather skip stones than jump to conclusions. I’d rather watch a sunset than a football game. I much prefer silence to Muzak. Give me handpicked raspberries over caviar anytime.

I can’t have loud music. I am a husband. Loud music interrupts the number-one activity of every husband: listening to his wife. The only good thing about loud music is that I can truthfully answer my wife’s questions when she can’t hear me. I read lips. She doesn’t.

I like my music just the way I like my butter – soft. I must have asked thirty times at the birthday dance, &uot;Why does the music have to be so loud?&uot; Nobody heard me.

Hartland resident Al Batt writes columns for the Wednesday and Sunday editions of the Tribune.