Jem Beedoo

Jem Beedoo is an Auckland writer

Jem Beedoo: Bar brawl? Blame the nauseating music

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Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

I'm sure bar fights are the second oldest indoor-outdoor pursuit in the world and, on some levels, they are terrible, an unfortunate epidemic in NZ. I mean they're extremely ugly. But no one has ever attributed the cause to glaringly bad pop music overheard on the sound system in the particular drinking den. (When one says, "overheard", one means the volume of these undying, beastly pop tunes is excessive, deafening even.)

When Jon Bon Jovi tipped my friend €4000 on a super yacht last year, he wasn't being magnanimous; he was apologising for being the catalyst of so many bar-fights with his more than lousy Livin' On a Prayer. For who the heck enjoys that tune, especially in an atheist society like ours? I'm mightily sure most undeniable over-drinkers, that is, young NZ people, don't believe in God, so they're not exactly going to swear by a prayer.

You've got to be out of your mind to find anything meritorious about that tune.

So who can blame folks for throwing frustrated fits of fists after hearing such foul, superficial music?

Summer of '69 by Bryan Adams is even worse, but, boy, it blares in bars. Look, I loved that song when I was 8, yet that alone doesn't justify its constant rotation in clubs. When someone says, "Those were the best days of my life", in any sphere, you run a mile. This is the main refrain of this dumb song, so why wouldn't people resort to fracases out of desperation and horror upon hearing such corniness? Plus, who wants to be reminded of when they were 8? Not me, we lost the World Cup final that year.

Could we kindly put Under the Bridge by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers under the bridge? Please? I'll admit this song probably sounded great in Sunnynook in 1991, but everyone has some sense by now we can't go back in time, and it certainly doesn't sound great now.

Imagine hearing the nauseating chorus, which flips the paradigm of nostalgia in the aforesaid Summer of '69, by reeking of regret: "I don't ever feeeeel like I did that day" - imagine hearing that chorus every week for 22 friggin' years? I frankly never want to "feel like I did that day" I first heard it; and I'm sure many in the 25-34 and 35-44 demographics are in agreement.

If the tune were any good, that'd be fine. But it isn't, it sings like a stoned swamp. And no one I know wants that kind of sludge to drag them down and force them into violence. No one likes to feel like they did upon hearing that unbearable number, so fighting acts as an escape mechanism.

Lest we forget, the egotestical live cover bands that reproduce such tunes, to mass financial over-compensation, certainly don't help. They aggravate the situation further, as not only do they flub the already-crud songs, but their show-off status ensures they snare women patrons, who leave their male partners for the cover band, as it were. Jealousy erupts and punches are thrown.

So how can we be surprised by bar fights when the music is so bad?

- NZ Herald

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