Music is for everyone

I had a day off today. Naturally that meant a celebratory dance around the living room to Talking Heads ‘Burning Down The House’. Incidentally, at just over 4 minutes, it’s perfectly timed for 1) waking up 2) working up an appetite for breakfast 3) poaching eggs.

Next stop, Bookmongers on Coldharbour Lane. Having recently  watched this wonderfully barmy 1984 video of David Byrne interviewing himself for the first time (I know, what have I been doing all my life?), I wanted to buy a book about Talking Heads. I didn’t find one but I did pick up copies of Gary Mulholland’s This Is Uncool: The 500 Greatest Singles Since Punk and Disco, Mikal Gilmore’s Night Beat and Giles Smith’s Lost In Music. All three for £12.90. I love second hand bookshops. As I was handing over the cash, I received this in return: “They’re rather masculine choices.” Erm. Well, they’re for me. “Oh right, they’re very well known books. Just usually the sort of thing middle aged men come in and buy.” Vaguely embarrassed laughter from both parties. Swift exit.

Hmmm, masculine books? Because they’re written by men or because they’re about music? Or because they’re written by men (largely) writing about men writing music? Now, I love music as much as the next fella. It does something to my body. To clumsily paraphrase Byrne, “often the body understands music before the head”. Hearing and feeling music comes first, of course, but discovering the personal and cultural context in which it came to be adds colour and deeper appreciation.

With that funny little exchange in my ears it was clearly time for lunch at Rosie’s Deli Cafe. Rosie does the best eggs in London. Hands down. But today was a mackerel pate salad kind of day. Anyway, three olives and one cappuccino in, Miranda Sawyer walks through the door. The acclaimed writer, documentary maker, Culture Show presenter, music journalist Miranda Sawyer. What a lovely little bit of kooky coincidence to balance the day.

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