Slice of Life Story Challenge -Tuning Out Amid Traffic Trouble

It’s Friday and the start of a long weekend in Australia. Labour Day has its origins in the labour union movement, specifically the eight Hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest.
For me the labour began when I left the school I was working at today in Melbourne’s west and commenced the long commute to my home on the coast in Melbourne’s south. It normally takes 90 minutes, but this trip took 120 minutes due to the increased traffic flowing (or should I say, crawling) out of the city. Trucks and vans and cars all jostling for lane space; their drivers line dancing and brake dancing down the freeway. Lane changing always invokes Murphy’s Law. The other lane always moves faster…

Fridays are always problematic, but today was exceptionally challenging. It’s been a big week work-wise –school based work, a conference presentation, and an after school workshop to prepare and present. I was yawning ten minutes into the journey home.

Music helps. I can't drive any distance with out it. I shared this trip with Ron Sexsmith, Eddie Vedder and Peter Gabriel. Their singing eased the journey, making the crawl appear less aggravating. I began to think about these particular voices and why they feature in my music collection.  Each singer is distinctive, recognizable. Ron Sexsmith’s voice is light, unique, and seemingly vulnerable. Eddie Vedder’s voice evokes a sense of gravel and grunt, and Peter Gabriel’s voice possesses a raspy, somewhat smoky quality. It made me think about my musical preferences. Clearly, I prefer singers who possess an individual sound. Singers such as David Gray, Amy Winehouse, Harry Manx, Nick Cave, and Colin Hay are well represented in my personal collection. The first album I ever bought was Bob Dylan’s ‘Blonde on Blonde.’ I can’t think of a more distinctive voice.  Sometimes, when I play Sinatra, I turn off all the lights and just enjoy the voice and the consummate phrasing that epitomized the man and his music. When I listen to KD Lang, I experience the same sensation. These voices are so readily identifiable.

Reality talent shows on television tend to serve up voices that are powerful, yet forgettable, almost bland in their tonal quality, -at least to my ear. I can’t imagine how a Neil Young would have fared on one of these current shows. Music like so many others aspects of our lives is becoming standardized. So much of it is forgettable, indistinguishable and a tad blah!  And I think that’s a rather sad development…

Well, before I got too deeply involved in my deliberations regarding music, my long journey mercifully ended and my thoughts then moved to making the most of the long weekend. Three days not to be squandered.


  1. I too share my long, traffic filled Friday night commutes with a few of my favorite musicians. Sometimes, I feel like they are right in the car with me! Of course, I also take a few (different musicians) with me when I get on the treadmill in the morning!

  2. Music does help to carry us away to another place. Yesterday, I wrote about my van and mentioned that it sings to me. Music connects. Enjoy your well-deserved break.

  3. There is something to appreciate in a distinct voice. Each voice for me is usually chosen based on my mood, what am I looking for that I can't get anywhere else. Distinct voices can take you somewhere.

  4. I am another musical commuter. I travel across a series of bridges and a tunnel, so I have to switch back and forth from Sirius to CD. I agree that a lot of the reality show voices are somehow all the same, and I love that you mentioned Neil Young in that context. He and CSN are big favorites of mine. THanks for the slice.

  5. I, too, need music when I'm in transit or traveling. I agree with you about the full crop of bland singers we are served up these days. I would love to see that pendulum start to swing back the other way!


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