7 September 2011


I live in a (theoretically) quiet residential neighbourhood in North York.  Lots of Orthodox Jews and Filipino people here.  Yet, my (admittedly delicate) acoustical sensibilities are frequently assaulted by the hordes of gardeners, landscapers, and construction workers who spend their daytime conducting their business.  Note:  I am all for a ban on gas-powered lawnmowers, and not only because of their harmful emissions.

At my grandfather's house (where I currently reside), things have not been different this summer.  So far, a new home two doors down was constructed, the driveway, walkways and sundry other problems at our place have been fixed, and my brother-in-law uses the garage (directly beneath my room) for his workshop.  Yes.  Every time he hammers, saws, bangs, crashes, etc., it reverberates into my being.  Note to Brother-in-law: Sound moves more effectively through solid objects than through air!  On the bright side, the screamo band that used to rehearse across the street is no longer around.

I've been finding that the people who inhabit this earth are not particularly sensitive to their aural environment, something that Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer has written about - I believe he coined the term "acoustic ecology."  I've noticed this more and more.... (you want examples, you got 'em!)

A couple of weeks ago, at one of the branches of my gym, when I asked the staff member at the front desk to turn the music down so that I could drown it out with my iPod, I was told two things that raised my ire.  1: Everyone else asks to turn up the music, and 2: I should get noise cancelling headphones.

While I was somewhat polite in the moment, my response to those comments in blog form go something like this:  1: Fuck everyone else. I shouldn't need to destroy my own hearing just to keep myself from hearing the SHITTY FUCKING MUSIC that you pump into your gym! and 2: The fact that you suggest I purchase NOISE cancelling headphones is an admission of guilt to polluting the air of this gym with NOISE!

This experience aside, I'm also continually frustrated with Cineplex Odeon's latest bumper reels that tell us that what is "coming soon," or that we've finally arrived at our "feature presentation."  It appears that they've spent a lot of money on the CGI effects and animation for us to look at, but went all cheap-ass on us when it came to the music/sound.  To my (albeit trained ears), it sounds like the composer didn't have the budget to actually pay real people to perform the music, and they have a shitty-sounding synthesizer that sounds all muddled and borderline distorted.  This just proves to be one more example of our society becoming more and more visually stimulated at the expense of the aural world.

Finally, I have one message to all out there who might like to share their music with the rest of us.  DO NOT SING ON THE SUBWAY.  Yes. That means YOU, GIRL WITH THE PURPLE HAIR.  Keep it the fuck to yourself!  I don't care how nice your voice is.  I don't care how important it is that you sing along.  Or maybe you're writing a song.  I DON'T CARE.  DO NOT SING ON THE SUBWAY!!!*

Thank you.

* I'll allow one exception to this rule: Flash Mob.

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