Monday 5 April 2010

Music in Cafés

I have been driven out of most of the yuppie cafés around Stoke Newington because they play such terrible music.

The Acoustic Café
Has one CD of MOR jazz which they play on a loop and if I hear that rendition of A Tisket, a Tasket one more time I shall stab myself with a toothpick.

I knew it wouldn't last more than a few weeks. It must have been that CD of MOR jazz they played without ceasing. There's a limit to the number of times you can hear My Baby Just Cares for Me and retain your sanity. (Sometimes they were listening to Turkish music, but like taxi drivers, they quickly switched the CD to something they thought the yuppie customers would like. Does the jazz CD come with the "start your own yuppie café" set?)

Belle Epoque
A genuine French café (see picture) with lovely croissants and quiches. And French chansons on the soundtrack. After reading the Observer there from cover to cover I now know how to write a French pop song.

Use one chord, or perhaps two. Three at a pinch.
Think of a refrain like "comme d'habitude" and repeat it. Chanson and on and on and on.
Walk it up the scale a bit.
Think up a simple motif with your refrain at the end.
Repeat it, one note lower each time. (There's my refrain "Plus bas que ça"! Good, hein?)
Come back up the scale again and have a bit of a huit central. Use your third chord.
Modulate into the major and end the huit central on a loooong note so that your voice can quaveurrrrrr.
Go back to the beginning and repeat your refrain a few more times.

It went on all afternoon and you will have noticed that I have indeed lost my reason.

Fortunately there's still the Flamingo over the railway bridge (Radio 2 and the telly). And Jessops (horrible coffee, warm friendliness, Radio 2), and the New River Café (latte, chips, chatting).

Chains like Starbucks and Caffe Nero can only use out-of-copyright music (but why is it always jazz? Can't we have some Chopin or Scarlatti sonatas?). But surely in the age of Spotify, when you can have 3,000 music tracks on a laptop, and there are 15,000 internet radio stations, we don't have to be stuck with one ... endlessly ... repeated ... CD.

Time for a Yuppie Cafe internet radio channel.

Update: the Trattoria Sapori on Newington Green was playing reggae on Spotify at the weekend (May 30).

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