So I’m at the gym the other day. Coach likes music in da house, and when his computer goes on the fritz, he asks who’s got a ‘Pod. This time it was me that had one, so I put in my “music to hit things to” playlist.
It’s a heavy industrial music playlist. Because when I’m hitting things I like a nice, driving bass beat and some aggressive music. So we’re talking bands like KMFDM, Suicide Commando, BiGod 20, God Module, Wumpscut, Nitzer Ebb, Cubinate. You get the idea. I like to dance to these guys too. And if you can dance to it, you can fight to it. Or at least that’s been my experience.
This one guy is all, “Dang, this is some, uh, angry music”. And I say, well, it’s for training to, so it’s supposed to be aggressive. And he says, “Heh, so what do you relax to?”
My answer, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
“I’ve never heard of that”
“He’s a Qawwali singer, it’s Sufi devotional music.”
“They’re Muslims. It’s like their gospel music.”
“Oh, well I’m not Muslim so I’ve never heard of that.”
“Neither am I. By that logic, being an Atheist, I shouldn’t know what gospel music is either, but I’m a huge Mahalia Jackson fan. The universe is a strange and mysterious place, innit.”
The point? Art is for everyone, irrespective of religion, background, ethnicity, class, or what have you. Anyone who says otherwise is deeply misled. So cultivate more than one dimension for the love of FSM.
Art and beauty are not confined to single segments of the population. And if you think they are, you’re missing out on a boat load of experience that could make your life that much more amazing.
I love goth/industrial music. It’s great to train (and move it move it) to. I also love Billy Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald on a rainy day, Tom Waits at night when I’m drinking whiskey, Jeff Buckley when I’m feeling maudlin, Vivaldi when I’m working, Charlie Parker and Miles Davis when it’s hot and steamy, Opera ALL THE DAMN TIME, 80s pop when I’m in a good mood, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Eliades Ochoa when I’m driving, The Cure when I’m depressed, Nusrat or a nice long Indian raga when my brain needs a reset, and random crazy shit like the Tiger Lillies and Pine Box Boys because who doesn’t love neuveau vaudeville/old timey music?
I don’t know anyone who just listens to top 40, do you?
The moral of this story is, go out into the world and look. Experience things you’ve never heard of. Try things you think you won’t like. Follow YouTube suggestions down the rabbit hole and see where you end up. Pick the weirdest sounding food at the most foreign sounding restaurant and eat it (Mine was balut, it’s Filipino, and I’m never doing that again, but the point was to have the experience.). Go see bands whose descriptions contain words such as “avant garde” and “experimental”. Go see art you wouldn’t normally get in to. Talk to people you wouldn’t normally talk to. Talk to artists, homeless people, bar tenders, street sweepers, priests, cab drivers, the bag person at your grocery store. Everyone has a story.
Develop multiple dimensions. Don’t just sit in your societal box and stagnate. Don’t be a paper doll. Your life will be so much more worth living.
Now go and listen to some Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Sufis know how to jam.