Listening, a visual experience

As I mentioned in the last post, I accidentally ended up listening to Mick Jones. Who, I found out, is apparently famous (?) for being part of The Clash and some other bands I have never heard of. It’s great listening to people who are used to being the belle of the ball, because they have absolutely no compunction to stay on topic, and simply pontificate and laugh at their own inside jokes assuming that you, the audience, will know the context of whatever it may be they speak of.

One thing, however, that he said, I found to be wonderfully insightful. (That, if you count it such, was an interestingly constructed sentence.) And, in light of that, this post might also be called ‘What I learned from Mick Jones’.
While discussing the way things were back then, and the act of collecting (he has a huge collection of books, movies, band paraphernalia, kitch, etc), he pointed out the contemporary lack of space. I’m not sure I buy his whole line of reasoning on the topic of collections, storage, and (living) space; but one example he gave was the move towards digital collections, particularly music.

Whereas in his youth one might have stacks of vinyl, now one might simply have a portable mp3 player, or a music library on one’s computer. The problem he saw in this was not sound quality (which I have heard others bemoan) but the visual and tactile loss. For him, the listening to a record included looking at the colours on the case, and reading the lyrics on the fold-out insert. Listening was tactile and visual. A song was not properly enjoyed without reading the lyrics along with the vocalists, and glancing at the album art. Colour, particularly, was of much importance to Jones, and he repeated that aspect many times.


~ by jeorgesmith on 11 April 2010.

2 Responses to “Listening, a visual experience”

  1. So you see that listening is done not only with the ears but with the eyes (and heart), and seeing is done with the ears (and heart). Which is the point of material culture, right? What we see and experience is part of how we interpret the symbols and meanings of the important things in our lives. Holding (4 or 5 senses) a baby is so much more than looking at his picture (one sense) or seeing him on skype (two senses). And while the photos evoke a smile and maybe a sigh, holding the little one does something which can only be described as a soothing reality beyond words. =)

  2. True, the ‘whole is greater than the sum of its parts’ is true of somatic intake.

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