Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Unfamiliar

Somebody must always be doing something new, or life would get very dull.

Ninette de Valois
Hello Val
Years ago there was a TV commercial for a company that offered classical music recordings. You join a club and once every month or two they send you a record containing some great music. Except, in the middle of the commercial the announcer said "We've taken out all the unfamiliar music."

I threw my shoe at the TV screen, Fortunately it was just a slipper so it did no damage. I was as much outraged as I was amused. What is the point of listening to the same pieces over and over again, no matter how good they are, and not discover the vast amount of music in the world of great music, to learn to appreciate it and make it familiar?

Imagine going into you local art museum and seeing the same 20 paintings every time you go there. Pretty soon you would stop going and the museum would close. We've taken out all the unfamiliar music.

I knew a man who whenever he went to an Italian Restaurant always ordered pasta fagioli, nothing else. If I took my mother out for Chinese food it was chicken chow mein. That was it. My agent told me that his uncle came all the way down from northern Vermont to visit. They took him out to one of New York's finest restaurants. Much to their dismay he ordered Vermont fried chicken, We've taken out all the unfamiliar music.

There are conservatives who won't read a liberal newspaper and vice versa. There's the CEO of a large company who proclaims that he has never given a dollar to any cultural cause and never will and is proud of it. And there's the theatre director who would only direct "Saint Joan" by George Bernard Shaw because none of the other Shaw plays are worthy doing. We've taken out all the unfamiliar music.

A closed mind is one of the worst catastrophes on the face of humanity. It ensures ignorance and denies freedom of expression. It discourages experimentation, puts a lid on personal progress and makes a very dull life.

Listen to the unfamiliar music. You're in for some delightful surprises.

DB - The Vagabond
Never Give Up


Geo. said...

Excellent sense excellently delivered! I still have to force myself into the unfamiliar even tho I know that's how one gets anywhere.

Jon said...

Unfortunately, I think it is human nature to stay within the realms of familiarity and avoid the unknown. People are often very narrow-minded.
As I grow older (and HOPEFULLY a little wiser) I find myself much more willing to branch out into regions unknown.