Tuesday, December 01, 2009

"Turn that damn thing off!!!"

I posted a irritable comment on twitter the other day, and was quickly replied to with a very intelligent observation. I thought about it some more and here is the summation of that thought. Credit to Rikesh for this thought and making me think about something I took as given.

On the way home from work some 16 year old kid was blasting shitty faux-rnb from their phone, and having had a busy day it really pissed me off. I felt like shouting 'get some headphones!'

Indeed when I got home I went on twitter and enquired why no one under the age of 17 gets what headphones are.

Rikesh responded by reminding me of something very true. Those 14-18 year olds are the generation that has grown through childhood with the ringtone and mobile speakers as part of their everyday experience.

That got me thinking. What if they subscribe to a completely different viewpoint. What if instead of just being used to speaker music, their whole perception of being rude is different.

We see headphones as polite, as a way of avoiding disturbing other passengers and passers by. A way of keeping our noise to ourselves.

What if these kids see it the other way. That headphones are rude because they exclude you, it's you shutting other people out, being self absorbed instead of sharing with others. It might be a long shot but its a possibility, if you are always with your friends why would you listen to music on your own? I wouldn't put headphones on if I was at the pub, maybe that logic applies when you are always hanging out with your mates.

Or they could just be annoying brats...


andrea nastase said...

Personal opinion would be that yes, sharing music is part of the whole friend experience but don't take it too seriously..I'm not theorising on teenagers and their habits. I just look at my brother who's about the same age and for them it's no longer about the headphone share ("Hey, check this out" *hand a headphone and listen together*) but more about the hood type of sharing things; ("yo, check this out") and a way of communicating through music. I hear girls taking turns at singing the same song and it's infuriating sometimes on the 42 into Didsbury at 7.30 am but hey..

My brother told me that it's their way of validating their personalities through music (not his own words but that's what he meant): if my music gets the vote of the majority (of friends I'm with) then I am cool. Leader of the pack, etc. He doesn't play music loud but he has friends who does and that's the feeling I get from him.

At any rate, music on the bus is just rubbish; mp3 players are such commodities, no one has any decent headphones nowadays. Telling people they'll be deaf at 80 if they keep the volume at the level they do is like telling teenagers smoking is bad for them. I can hear everyone's obsessive repeat-mode playlists full of Lady Gaga, Jay-Z and whatnot. Annoying but you get a very good picture of the stuff people listen to nowadays!

andymarkpeel said...

I like your thinking on this one. In the agency we all have headphones as it's open plan, but when we had a shared office with the other junior team, we had the radio on loud at all times...

I'm young enough to appreciate both the greatness that an awesome speaker system does for music and that at every opportunity like to 'crank it up' but also that headphones are a wonderful thing.

Maybe it could be an upbringing too, we were taught to keep our music to ourselves so not to disturb everyone else. 10 years from now it could be more like Sony's soundville with big PA systems blurting out music 24/7.

And besides the headphones I really want are £400 and as a 14YO where am I going to find that kind of money? Needless to say I haven't either.

Cheshire Cat said...

I vote for annoying brats.

RebeccaWho said...

Also, what about the lack of quality in their downloaded music played through low quality speakers? (Whole other issue)
Anyway, I wonder whether it might be more about identity than music.

Look at me, this is what I wear and this is what I listen to and that tells you something about who I am.