Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Office Music Stereotypes

As a creative, I take it for granted that I’m going to work in an environment where people have speakers and are going to play music. Nobody did this at my last agency and I found the atmosphere to be duller and less relaxed as a result. It was, to be frank, like working in a fucking monastery. Even if you absolutely HATE what someone’s playing, at least shouting abuse at them provokes a bit of banter. And if almost everyone digs the music, the room gets a lift. So, in general, I see music in the office as a GOOD THING.

As with anything where a group dynamic is involved, you can observe certain common personality types emerge. Here are a few I’ve noticed…

The one playlist queen

I’m not being sexist here – it usually is a woman, simply because men are far more anal and likely to put new playlists together. She plays a single playlist repeatedly all day, generally featuring pop-bilge like Simply Red and Jamiroquai. The first time you hear the playlist, it puts your teeth on edge. By the time you’ve heard it continuously for 8 hours, your teeth are ground down to the roots and bleeding. In the end you wait until she’s away from her desk and cut the speaker wires.

The headphonist

Generally a programmer or an introvert creative. Silent and possibly psychopathic, they buy a new set of outlandishly huge ‘bins’ once a week, ‘cos they “DJ at the weekends, yeah?” They never play anything on their speakers because they want you to think that they’re listening to the latest Hoxton Twot-tronica, when in actual fact they’re getting down to the Cheeky Girls.

The 80s zombie

There’s always someone in the office whose musical evolution got stuck in 1987, like the Coelacanth of pop. OK, maybe Duran Duran sound better now than they did in the ‘good old days’ but when Stock, Aitken and Waterman’s oeuvre starts getting an airing, it’s time for a violent uprising. Rick Astley was never, ever cool, isn’t cool and will never be cool ever, no matter what kind of post-modern ironic outlook you take.

Desperate to impress Jimmy

This extrovert would-be Jimmy Saville puts together crowd-pleaser playlists for his fellow creative drones. Typically, they’ll combine post-modern retro favourites like ZZ Top with cutting edge New Rave buffoonery. Jimmy imagines everyone dancing around the office in ecstasy, but no one’s as impressed with his party tunes as they should be and he goes home alone to a warm bath and some razor blades.

Anyone got some more office music stereotypes?


greenfingers said...

referring to my musical habits there Tris?
I am sure I see myself somewhere in your classification....

Steve said...

Personally I love cranking up the gramophone with a choice selection of 78's. You can't beat The Charleston first thing in the morning. What ho, Jeeves!

mihai said...

The Bipolar Crooner

Freely cranks up his favourite Edith Piaf or Dionne Warwick showstopper just when you have started beating your skull against your desk in a desperate attempt to get your head round a 150 page IKEA wardrobe instruction pamphlet which you've been asked to turn into a funky 20 word text message for school leavers. The crooner is also known to moan Danny Boy with tears streaming down his face - and all this in an office with a headphones only policy. How does he get away with it? Because he's a fucking lunatic and he's totally sincere.

Tristan said...

And then he goes off to start his own agency, so he can listen to easy listening at top volume ALL DAY!

mihai said...

There's a note of envy there Tristan, ... or is it just me?