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Friday 5th March 2004

I was on Andrew Collin's Roundtable show in the radio tonight (I lose track of the new BBC stations. It's number 6 I think). This involves sitting around a table (oblong, you may be disappointed to learn) with some people who like music (quite often proper musicians themselves) and discussing some records that are going to come out to buy soon. I've done this a couple of times before and always enjoy it, despite the fact that I know very little about music (especially modern music), am not very interested in finding out more and don't have very strong feelings about music in any case. I am totally out of my depth, but for some reason it is still enjoyable. In a way it's good, because having no knowledge means that I do not have to waste any time wondering whether it is cool to like Ryan Adams or not. If you liked music and you felt people were hanging on your opinion it might be quite stressful, but as I have been in a protective bubble away from most of the music we were discussing, I am able to discuss it freely and openly, unfettered by preconception. The fact that I am unfettered by any kind of useful knowledge is obviously a bit of a drawback, but it means I can just be silly and try to get some cheap laughs.
The show always makes me wish that I was more interested in music and I usually go out and buy at least a couple of the albums I've heard after things are over. But there's a part of me that feels that I am too old to be that interested in new pop music these days. Perhaps this is just a hangover from my youth, where the idea of a 36 year old man expressing his opinion about Japan or the Sex Pistols would have been ridiculous to me. Thirty-six seemed very old to me then, and I don't think that was just because I was young. I think British society was significantly different and thirty-six used to be really old, however old you were. And 36 year olds did not comment on the preserve of the young (apart from maybe Jimmy Saville, though you always sensed he had other reasons for being so interested).
I think I'm actually missing out by not being a music fan and never going to gigs and rarely listening to music (unless Andrew Collins is forcing me to make a snap judgement about something I've only heard a bit of, once, which we were all talking over anyway) and I'm certainly not trying to make out that I don't like it because I'm too grown-up. As my lack of commitments and love of computer games and cartoons clearly demonstrates, I am at one with my retarded generation. I think it's probably good that we're allowed to stay younger for longer, because as it transpires 36 isn't old at all; I feel the same as I ever did really and I've learnt very little. I'm hoping the next couple of decades help explain things a bit better and then maybe I can grow up. But it isn't putting away childish things that makes one a man (or a woman if you are female - putting away childish things definitely won't turn a woman into a man). To lose the childish things entirely would be as bad as to just spend your entire adult life being obsessed with completing a number plate based game that the child version of you was unable to complete. OK, bad example.
Anyway, I had fun displaying my lack of knowledge of the record industry and you can still hear the show (this week only) at http://www.bbc.co.uk/6music/
Listen to me desperately treading water and hoping I'm getting away with it (Still, I knew an alphabetically later band than an ex editor of Q, so maybe I'm not as stupid as I thought).

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