Friday, 13 August 2010
Strange Days at Café Chouette
Usually, I enter at around 10.30 to be greeted with a smile and a rush of piped music, sometimes western pop, other times of ethnic origin and all this seems to fit the ambience perfectly. But last time I tripped up the steps I was met by ‘Love me Two Times’ by the Doors from their second album, ‘Strange Days’ and somehow, it felt very incongruous. I’m not sure why this should be so but Jim and the Boys were stood out like the proverbial sore digit.
Actually, I like ‘Strange days’ a lot despite the fact that it sold poorly on release in 1967. It has all the usual hallmarks of a classic second album – it came too soon after their debut and comprised mainly of material left over from the sessions for the first album. Despite all this and the fact that everybody else’s second album turned out to a bit of a re-heated meal as a consequence, I prefer it to the more celebrated ‘The Doors’. The material has a more psychedelic feel and its 12 minute centre piece ‘When the Music’s Over’ is better realised than the similarly lengthy ‘The End’ from their debut. All in all, a good listen and an album I would put in my top three Doors’ albums along with ‘Morrison Hotel’ and ‘LA Woman’.
So getting back to my café, why did The Doors sound so out of place? Perhaps it was my own preconceptions of what should fit? Certainly, the staff had no problems and the customers weren’t making an undignified dash for the door, which just goes to show how universal music can be and how it can cut across cultural boundaries if given the chance. Or perhaps the pastries are too good to leave?
I think I may be guilty of allowing myself to be brainwashed by the media who insist on compartmentalising music to the extent that you feel some square pegs should not be played in round holes. I should return to my mantra: there are only two types of music, good and bad.