07 September 2005

Now playing: crimes against music

I am, as so often, sitting in a café.

This café never used to play music ... now it does. I'd prefer that it didn't, in an ideal world, but it doesn't bother me enough to give up all the other things I like about the place. But at this moment, somebody (I don't know who) is horribly murdering Carole King's Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? You don't have to like or dislike a song to be appalled when inhuman things are done to it — and what is being done to this one is unspeakable. I've just timed the title line from the refrain ... she takes 11 seconds to sound the words "Will you", manages to deliver "still" in an almost normal length of time, then takes 8 seconds to get through "love" which she somehow expands into nine tortured ululating syllables ("lo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ove", like a heartbroken air raid siren) and another 6 for "me" before a final tour de force in which "to-mor-row" is dragged kicking and screaming across an interminable 32 seconds.

It really is more than the human psyche should have to bear — a "crime against music", to borrow Mitch Benn's phrase.

In the time taken to type this, she hasn't yet finished a complete verse. I'm packing up and leaving the café now; I'll come back when she's finished.


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