vinyls1My first reaction to people nominating each other to post their top ten influential albums  lists was to run a mile. It is just my default setting. If something is popular I will run away, watch it from a distance, prod it, examine it, gradually testing the water until I decide if it is really for me or not. Generally the answer is not. It is a safety measure, probably an elitist one, but I can live with that. It is why I have plenty of Lilac Time records in my collection and no Foo Fighters, it is also why I can’t name you a single Kardashian…Kod, Klap….Klimt? It is also probably why I am single! Ahh well.

Then I thought, but if I were at the pub I would be leaning on the bar talking to someone in a band T-shirt about why The Smiths wouldn’t have existed without The Church or just how underrated Mazzy Star are…or some such precocious twaddle, so why not this, why not encourage virtual debate about our mutual record collections. If I crack open a beer and put some music which sounds like it was made by someone in a plaid shirt or, depending on who is working, a Finnish indie-electro-pop outfit,  I could almost be in The Tuppenny.

There is also the “Whatever gets you through the night” approach. I’m lucky, I’m a hermit most of the time, sitting at my keyboard writing, content in my own company and happy to be left alone, I have books, wine, cheese, music and sci-fi movies, why would I need people. But most are more social than me and it must be hard going from a 9 to 5 environment into weeks of lockdown, so if such interactions help take the edge off, who am I to judge?

So I did it, I posted, I debated, I engaged, I made puns, I had fun…I hung out with my mates.

Then I realised that I had totally switched camps…perhaps if more people’s opinions were less entrenched and fluid enough to move with their experiences in a fast changing world, it might be a less hostile place, but that is a bigger debate for another time. Yes, I switched camps…totally, now I get more annoyed by people who actively post to the detriment of such activities, belittling those who take part as being “self-important” or congratulating themselves for being humble enough to not to engage, in that way that only passive-aggressive, self-aggrandising, narcissists can. Look at me…don’t look at me!

It then made me consider the modern notion that we like to define ourselves  more by what we don’t like …Coldplay, sun-dried tomatoes, Dan Brown scribblings (guilty but….no, actually, just guilty) TV soaps, rather than the things we are truly passionate about…The Waterboys, Eggs Benedict, China Mieville novels, Black Books. Maybe it isn’t a modern concept, I’m picturing two Roman legionaries slagging off their commanding officers Galea for the amount of product he uses in the horse-hair plume.

So, what am I saying…nothing really. Perhaps, be more positive, let people get through this any way that they can, support your friends, support total strangers, give each other space, celebrate the good, don’t fret the small stuff…and to quote a wiser and more successful man than me…be more kind.