Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Oh Muzak, Where Art Thou?

I never thought I’d say this, but I miss Muzak. You read me right. I, who have been known to rant incessantly against the vile sounds masquerading as music as made by such luminaries as Journey, Kansas, and The Phallic Like Orchestra, miss Muzak.

I am in the Westin for a short stint in El Segundo, LA, CA, and I realized that it wasn’t just “The W,” but in fact everywhere I go it seems I am a captive to obtrusive, annoying, too-loud, shitty music. Supermarkets. Drug stores. Clothiers.

[I really wanted to say “Apothecaries” and “Haberdashers.Pretentious? Moi?]

I could take some classical and baroque being played at a low volume. That I like. But what I really miss is ridiculous, sappy, oboe, strings and triangle versions of “A Taste of Honey,” “Baby I’m A Want You,” and “Eight Days a Week.” Remember? You’d be on an elevator and you’d hear a familiar tune, and think, “Jeez, they did a Muzak version of, what is that? ‘Me and Bobby McGee?' ”

Instead, I'm constantly subjected to weird mash-ups of reggae and techno. Nora Jones, U2, String Cheese Incident. Blaring. I was trying to do my timesheet yesterday morning in the lobby of the hotel because they have free wireless. In the room it was $9.95 + tax. I figured I could save the company some money.

I almost hurled my laptop across the room. They were blasting (ok – not really “blasting” – but the intensity extended beyond “background music” volume) some strange African-Disco-Techno-Shite that made me feel like standing up and screaming, “Will you please have mercy and turn that torturous drivel off! Put on some Henry Mancini or something! This isn’t a twenty-something ecstasy party. It is a FUCKING HOTEL LOBBY!”

It’s hell to get old.


Blogger Blowing Shit Up With Gas said...

Funny stuff ... except for one thing: It's been my experience that the "nice gesture" you made (trying to save the company a saw buck) will NEVER be truly appreciated. I did a 180 from that kind of thinking a while back & it's been great. In other words, I go out of my way to spend as much of the company's money as I can on business trips. I want them to understand that all this goddamned travel is a huge inconvenience and pain in the ass -- and I want them to hurt a little bit for it. Plus, you're new there, right? Man, you've got to stick it to 'em a little bit now -- set the precedent that you're in charge and you're going to rack up expenses as you damn well please. Cause, if you don't, sooner or later they'll know they can push you around & you'll no longer get the direct flight from, say, Pittsburgh to St. Louis. No, you'll have to stop in 4 crappy cities along the way -- and they'll bitch and moan when you try to expense the friggin' six separate Starbucks visits it took to get you through all that damned airport rigamarole.

11:38 PM  
Blogger The Viscount LaCarte said...

Sage advice.

Don't worry though - I get the nav system with the rental car and I stay at the higher end hotels on the list - and I get a good glass of wine or two with dinner!

2:16 PM  
Blogger Blowing Shit Up With Gas said...

"I get the nav system with the rental car and I stay at the higher end hotels on the list"

Good man! (Sorry I went off on a rant before. I shouldn't do that on others' blogs. -PH)

9:17 PM  
Blogger Employee of the Month said...

Behold the freeing power of a $9 mini-bar Famous Amos cookie.

10:31 AM  
Blogger roxtar said...

I was in a supermarket one fine day when a familiar instrumental refrain wafted from the overhead speakers. Unbidden, the lyric insinuated itself into my brain over the syrupy strings:

When I look up to the skies
I see your eyes a funny kind of yellow
I rush home to bed I soak my head
I see your face underneath my pillow

Fuckin' Status Quo. Pictures of Matchstick Men by the Hollyridge Strings. Blew my mind.

5:11 AM  
Blogger Kevin Wolf said...

Al, it has nothing to do with age. (Shit, I genuinely like a lot of Henry Mancini.) It has to do with good vs bad music. That anonymous techno-disco crap is no good, no matter how you slice. I think even the kids are now bored by it and have slunk off to find some other shite.

BTW, one of my favorite movie scenes: The Blues Brothers are being chased and surrounded by hundreds of military and SWAT personnel and vehicles and helicopters - while they serenely ride an elevator playing Muzak of "The Girl From Impanema."

2:35 PM  

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