Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Let the Music Play

Today I rejoice, for I was, at long last, delivered from the hell of Top-40 radio.

The Top-40 radio station that was played in our office prior to today came courtesy of a clock-radio owned by one of the graphics people in our office. I don't think even she likes the music they play, but she must just need the noise, as she commented often that it was the only station that got any reception in our building. So that's what we had drilling into our ears each day, hearing the same six to ten songs over and over again through the course of the day.

Recently, though, the powers-that-be have been working on installing satellite radio throughout our building, and television in the lunchroom. The radio part of that deal has been working in the warehouse for several weeks, but the office section of the building was longer in coming. Today, though, one of our IT guys came in bearing wireless speakers, and he began setting them up in strategic locations throughout our office.

The original plan called for the radio to be tuned into classic rock, as that was probably what most people could agree on. That lasted about three hours out in the warehouse before someone (or, as I was told, several someones) complained about it. At that point it was tuned to oldies, and it's stayed there since. For that reason I wasn't terribly excited about the incursion of satellite radio into our office. It would be good to get away from the same songs over and over, and also good to get away from the grating irritation that makes up most of today's pop music, but I'm not a huge fan of oldies either.

Happily, the oldies will not be heard in our office. There are two receivers for the radio system: one for the warehouse, and one for the office. The guy in charge tried for a general consensus and found that classic rock would be acceptable, so that was what we got.

Once I found out we were getting classic rock, I was pretty stoked. I like it. Of course, that wasn't always the case. Most people my age have an appreciation for classic rock because it was what they heard growing up, as it was the music of their parents' generation, before it was classic and when it was just rock. My parents, though, never listened to music in the house, and on the occasions when we were in the car together, it wasn't usually rock. My great love for music had to come from within, at least to start. I've developed an appreciation for classic rock, aided greatly by a visit to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, and by the "Old Guy Radio" segment on the late, lamented Tony Kornheiser Show on ESPN Radio. I don't like all of it--no power in the universe is going to make me like Led Zeppelin--but I do appreciate and respect it all.

Did it all go off without a hitch? Oh, of course not. That's just not the way things work. About five songs into the enjoyment, the speakers hiccupped, and suddenly we were listening to light rock instead of classic rock. I wasn't terribly pleased, but at least it wasn't oldies. I didn't like it nearly as much, though. I figured someone had complained, and damn, did they do it fast. I was serious about that five song thing. We found out later, though, that the company president had switched it temporarily while some visitors were in the building. "Temporarily" turned into "well into the afternoon," but hey, at least we got it back. And, as I said before, at least it wasn't oldies.

Shortly after the classic rock came back on, a girl came in from the next office over to ask if she could turn it down. Our offices are separated by temporary walls that usually define cubicles, and as they don't go completely to the ceiling, sound does have a tendency to travel from one office to the next. This person was granted permission to turn our speaker down, which she did to the point of near inaudibility.

My ears eventually adjusted to the new sound level so that I was able to hear the music well enough, allowing me to get back to tapping my pen along with the beat and occasionally humming or singing along under my breath. It was a little strange to hear such songs as "Everybody Must Get Stoned" and "Big Balls" in an office environment, but I enjoyed it immensely. It's really incredible how much more quickly the time seems to pass when there's music on that I enjoy. The whole day passed without the same song playing twice, too. I did hear some artists more than once, but never the same song.

On another radio related note, I was listening to the radio on my way home from the gym this evening. This was necessary because the audio copy of Fahrenheit 451 that I borrowed from the library was skipping so badly that I couldn't understand it at all. I tuned it to the FM station that broadcasts BG sporting events, because I thought a basketball game was coming on. I forgot that the team was playing in Illinois and thus the start time was off by an hour. Still, a Great White song was playing when I got there, so I stuck around. The DJ came on after the song ended and said "We've got Falcon basketball coming up in a little bit, but before then we're going to play some Velvet Revolver, Def Leppard, and KISS." Holy crap, that's AWESOME!!! Why am I just now discovering the music this station plays? From now on, when I'm forced to the radio, this will definitely be the station I check out first.

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