Monday, 12 October 2009

El Condor Pasa No Pasaran!

I have a massage on my knee over the weekend at a “Healing Arts” centre, where Alternative Medicine is practised. This is “Alternative” in the sense that :

a) Nothing whatsoever can be proved to have any effect . (If it did it would be, uh, “medicine” )

b) It costs an arm and a leg

c) There are lots of self-help books around like “Who Moved The Cheese?” ( Elevator pitch: who gives a fuck ? Get over it! )

d) You are forced to listen to terrible musak

It's the last that gets to me. I’ll happily waste discretionary spend on a dippy masseuse fiddling with my cruciate; I’ll put up in a manly way with being relaxed , which always makes me tense ; but I draw the line at being forced to listen to plangent library music produced in some masturbator's bedroom.

This rubbish will drive you to the Samaritans: retro synth washes, quasi-Indian nods & winks to quarter tones, and , worse , duff samples of instruments you never want to hear, ever. We’re talking Tabla. Wind pipes. And - cruellest cut of all - Northumbrian bagpipes! All in 4/4 . WTF! No, MAC obsessive Garage-Band producer dude, they don’t use this time signature in classical Hindustani music.

The melody line goes on and on and on and on , stoner-style, bar after bar after bar after bar of undecodable voices, Gregorian chanters meet The Cocteau Twins on drugs,with gear so stepped on you can see bootprints in the snow .

It's as pointless as the wallpaper tunes that cod Peruvians mug you with in the Underground; the bowler hated muppets who you’d rather pummel to the ground and do six months bird than hear a single hemi-demi-semi quaver of El Condor Pasa. Not on your nelly, cabron!

In this alt-world of emotions and scented candles, the music’s not optional. & here's the rub, if the operation is successful ,the patient will pass away, assassinated by a cheap smile. Not me, pal. I break the rules & ask for the CD player to be turned off.

A froideur falls like an ice storm.

Black clouds gather .

It looks like rain.

In the end we are all dead.


  1. An arm and a leg to fix a knee ? Ha ! Who's running this surrealist school of massage - Hans Bellmer ?

    Alternative medicine is alternative to that which actually works, i.e., of no demonstrable benefit. Having been open to homeopathy for a period of time, the only identifiable result was a loss of income. Homeopathy has, for the most part, been discredited now.

    Your descriptions of the insipid and inescapable muzak are priceless, and absolutely spot on. Had similar experience many years back, but didn't have the heart to tell the masseuse to turn off the tape. It was excruciating.

    More recently I had the neck to bring along my own CD, Morton Feldman's 'Piano And String Quartet'. Ah yes, that's more like it, just what the doctor ordered... It was amazing the difference it made.

    'Cod Peruvians', 'bowler hatted muppets' Brilliant ! I'd love to hear a Gang Of Four song on this theme. We get a bit of this lark on Dublin streets too, and it really is as rank as month old blue cheese at the bottom of a forgotten laundry basket. And people think it's so exotic.

  2. Next time (if there is one) bring Trout Mask Replica and have them play that.

  3. p.s. This is why you need to write a fucking book.