BLOG: When did I start listening to Nigel Farage over Stephen Sondheim?

Some might think of this as a bit of a stagey blog. But, whenever I have a mini-epiphany, I tend to nearly always take to the written word to express myself. And I wanted to write this, because this realisation has really taken me aback as something that’s changed in my life without my realising, and the same could have happened to you.

Every night I fall asleep with the radio on, listening to political and current affairs programmes across many networks including many BBC radio/television programmes, LBC, Sky, American news networks… The list goes on. The moment I wake up, I ask Alexa to read me the news, I find myself glued to Twitter until the early hours following American politics and affairs too. Throughout the day I endlessly hop from station to station as they pour breaking and on-going news in my ears for hours whilst working in my study. Not a day goes by without hearing “immigrants” this, “Brexit” that, “Russia” this and don’t forget the “Tories“.

I love politics. I love knowing what’s going on. I like having an opinion on things and especially listening/reading the opinions of others (whom I often don’t agreed with) so I can come to my own conclusion by listening to as many different views as I can. I also think it’s my duty to be as aware and open-minded as possible to issues in the UK and around the world to help inform my decisions of what plays/musical I should take, produce, direct, create or develop that should or need to be done now.

BUT. Today. Whilst I was cleaning out one of my fish-tanks, I had LBC on in the background as various people either slammed Corbyn for asking for greater evidence regarding the alleged Russian poisoning incident, then it went onto Brexit, then Theresa May… As I scrubbed away at a fish-shit-covered filter; Carol from Maidenhead started to try and explain some impossible conspiracy theory and then. I said it. “Alexa – play Sunday from Sunday in the Park with George” (my favourite song ever written).

I have found myself in a very mild, but latent depression. But not because of anything wrong at home or other typical source of upset. But because for the past year or so, all I have been listening to are current affairs. I’ve had Farage’s racism one day, Dimbleby’s wit another, Piers Morgan’s smugness by the bucket load at the weekend, Theresa May’s coughs and cold dead eyes on Monday, Vince Cable’s well meaning but pointless ramblings during lunch to Jacob Rees Mogg’s Victorian ideals while I cook a chilli con carne.

Before Brexit, as much as I still kept up with current affairs, most of my listening pleasure came from waking up to Anyone Can Whistle and falling asleep to Sunday in the Park With George, I’d strut to the tube with Sideshow‘s Come Look at the Freaks reaching all the way down to my heels and one night drunkenly stumble home to The Witches of Eastwick. For some reason, slowly but surely, I have stopped listening to the one thing that truly brings me joy, that fires every synapse in my brain and might even cause me to tap my toe whilst sat at my desk. Music. I’ve stopped listening to music. Which has utterly shocked me. How the fuck did this happen? When did I allow Farage’s bile replace the beauty of Sondheim? Or choose Question Time¬†over a new Andrew Lippa musical?

I write this, because this realisation has really taken me aback and something that’s changed in my life without my realising and yet is so drastic.

When was the last time you listened to your favourite show or album? Are you filling your head with the noise of world instead of the music. So I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…

Alexa, play Sunday in the Park with George”.

by Andrew Keates