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Tim Chipping

Ranting & Reeling

Tim Chipping’s monthly column

I like music more than people. I prefer having albums to friends. I’d rather go to a gig than a party (although thinking about it, I’d rather go to the dentist than a party). And I definitely like songs better than babies. Even terrible songs by terrible people like murderers, Tories or Sam Smith. All of their songs are better than babies, even the song from the James Bond film Spectre and that was like a song written by a man who’d only ever heard one other song for 30 seconds in a lift.

Like anyone I am sometimes plagued by earworms. But even when I wake up with an annelid so annoying I’m tempted to try and spear it to death with a sharpened Q-tip, I’m still thankful that it’s a song I have to share my waking hours with and not a person.

But liking music as much as I do it’s not possible to avoid contact with people. For one thing, I need people to make the music. Despite what the serial liar Judith Hann predicted on Tomorrow’s World, a robot has not yet written a good song. Even the Internet is far too preoccupied with showing us porn and cats to bother itself with bridges and codas. We’re stuck with people for now.

I like to listen to music alone. Unfortunately it’s not financially viable for concerts to only have me in the audience. It’s necessary for them to allow people who will talk and fidget and smell bad to buy tickets too. Ideally I’d like my seat to be suspended in a bubble floating above the crowd that allows only the music and the aroma of dry ice to permeate. But that’s not a thing that exists, even at London’s O2 Arena.

Look, I quite like people when they act in films, and when they tell clever jokes, and when they make stone baked pizzas. But the best thing a person can do is make music. Everything after that is just fruitless flapping about and I’ve no time for it.

I look at your Facebook page and you’ve been for a run. That’s useless. I look at your Instagram and you’ve made a macramé owl. It gives me no pleasure at all. I bump into one of your friends and they tell me you’ve taken up wakeboarding. I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT THAT IS! Write a song instead. And then sing it. Write a good one. Sing it well. Then do those two things again until your mouth seizes up.

If you insist on prolonging social niceties with me then it’s likely we’ll have a conversation about music. It’s important not to mistake this discussion for a pleasant exchange of views. It is an ideological fight and one I will win, either by speaking louder than you or by simply walking away shaking my head.

Music cannot defend itself against your wrong opinions and so I am its champion. I will die for it and my last words will be, “There is at least one great song on every 1980s Bob Dylan album. Even Down In The Groove.” Do not grieve for me. All I ask is that you abide strictly by my funeral playlist or I will haunt you. I will haunt you bad.

Tim Chipping


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