The unfailing banality of gym music

I have recently joined a gym again after a two-year long couple of weeks off. It is all going fine, apart from all that horrible exertion, except for one thing:


Is it inherently idiotic to go to the gym? Some might say ‘yes’ and scoff as they sit there reading blogs like Einstein and Wordsworth did, but I don’t think so. Why then, must I listen to lowest common denominator nonsense? Gym music is always bad.

I am not against anyone listening to what they like. I just hate having to listen to music I can’t stand because of where I am.

There is a genre called ‘children’s music’ that we tolerate. It’s a bit annoying and simple, but it has a place for developing minds. I think we need another label for the sort of shite that is played on Kiss. It’s fine for teenagers to listen to this on the journey towards better stuff. It’s even fine for grown-ups to like it. But as someone who is really into music I find this stuff intensely irritating, and I doubt it had many fans among the gym clientele who are largely 30+. It comes on because (a) that’s what gyms are meant to play and (b) because all the staff are about seventeen.

How would a Kiss fan feel spending 90 minutes working out to The Teddy Bears’ Picnic, The Sun Has Got His Hat On and The Laughing Policeman?

As I write this rant, looking for kindred spirits to lend me their solidarity, I am only too painfully aware that it makes me sound like a wanker. This is because philosophical aesthetics is a minefield and renders everything I’m saying intellectually indefensible. I’m not really trying to make a point. I just want a cuddle and some nice music to listen to with my pipe and slippers. I want the Tinie Tempah to go away. I’m not even sure that’s how you spell his name because kids today spell everything all funny, and say words like ‘rad’ and ‘wicked’. I don’t understand this world. Who are the Beatles? Why is Hollywood making films in colour?  What’s that big metal bird in the sky?

(To be fair, it’s not an age thing. I never liked much chart music and used to get picked on at school for listening to classical.)

Anyway, I’ll address the question I can hear you mentally screaming – why don’t I just bring in an MP3 player?

Well, I will. But I think I’d find music a bit distracting anyway for the simple reason that if I hear a beat I want to move to it and if I’m doing cardio that might be the wrong tempo. If a hard house track comes on while I’m on the treadmill I could send myself flying across the room. I’ve invented a solution though.

What if there was an MP3 player for exercising that let you tap out the pace you’re working at, and it then calculated the tempo and played you tunes in time – or found the nearest ones to that tempo and timestretched them into place? That, I believe, is a great idea – and if I carry on listening to Kiss could be the last idea I am ever capable of having.

Published by: Daevid Glass

I reverse-engineer morsels of reality and extract their meaning. I then inject this concentrate into carefully assembled words and hope for a positive outcome.

Categories Music2 Comments

2 thoughts on “The unfailing banality of gym music”

  1. DG, so true shite music. Generally happy hardcore dance with a silly blonde singing over the top.
    As for your solution, pretty sure Nike invented a gadget that goes in your shoe and chooses the tracks on your mp3 player based on your plodding speed…

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