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Notes From The Deadline

TV Music From The Inside
By Paul Farrer

Stupidity is annoying, but at least it's only a distraction. Isn't it?

"i here the berlin filharmonik needs new conductr. reckn i cld do that. lemme no :-)”"i here the berlin filharmonik needs new conductr. reckn i cld do that. lemme no :-)”

I got an email this morning, the full horror of which is probably worth sharing.

"im currently at university and im doing project on music for tv which is wear i am hoping to go into career i wounderd if you could tell me abit about the job you do ur qualifications and can we work together on summit. Cheeky I no. Lol”

And this soiled pair of underpants of a communication is from someone apparently already in higher education. I was diagnosed as dyslexic in my early teens and have always really struggled with spelling and punctuation (and music scores, for that matter), but even I would be ashamed to press Send on this dog's breakfast. How could someone educated possibly display such indifference toward both the English language and the person whose advice they were seeking ­— and whose collaboration they were hoping for? The very thought of how far that person has to go in order to even stand a chance of making an impression on anyone in the TV or media business, or, indeed, any employer, is simply unfathomable. I've always maintained that higher education is largely a waste of time, particularly for media composing, but this kind of thing makes it seem like an actual occupational hazard. I shudder to imagine that any of my children might one day go to a university whose entrance requirements are unable to filter out this kind of stupidity.

Too Much Ambition

I got a similar email last month from a chap who wanted to know why he was having such a hard time getting media composing work. It turns out that early on in his career (last year) he'd eschewed the notion of ever working to any music brief because, apparently, he found them too artistically restrictive. Instead, he decided to develop his own compositional style without any reference to any of his potential clients, and hoped that the right client with the right project would eventually happen across one of his works, and that it would be spot-on for the show they were making. It's a bit like a chef throwing random, uncooked ingredients one at a time out of the door of his restaurant and hoping they land in the correct order into the mouth of someone who happened to be both hungry at the time and have some money in his pocket for that kind of meal.

Seeing the level of ignorance and naivety with which some people approach the multi-billion pound media business is as funny as it is shocking. But spare a thought for those intelligent, realistic and studious souls trying really hard to be noticed above the background noise of people who end professional introductory emails with the word 'Lol'.

We're All Doomed

It's bad enough that the idiots are out there. But what's really terrifying is the thought that they might be getting somewhere. Recently, I was sitting in a doctor's surgery, quietly in awe of the quality of the Muzak wafting gently through the air. Happy Shopper versions of 'Lady In Red' by an apparently General MIDI-driven Richard Clayderman impersonator were calming everyone down and filling the awkward silences when suddenly I heard something that I knew I recognised, but simply couldn't process.

I understand why music is everywhere. I understand about added value to TV programmes and physical situations. I understand about how background music is the embodiment of the argument that trying to please everyone ultimately will please no-one, but really? A perky pan-pipe version of Frankie Goes To Hollywood's 'Two Tribes'?

Irony is dead. The future is hopeless. The stupids have won. Despair the only option.    

Published April 2013