I like to have music on when I work, and an issue that I struggle with constantly is finding office-appropriate playlists. This was never an issue in my previous office jobs – there was always some mindless muzak over the intercom, or else everyone was plugged into their iPods. But I feel very subconscious doing that here in Uganda, where iPods are rare and conspicuous. And Mvule Trust is a just not a tune-out-the-world, cubicle-ish work environmenmt.
Hence the challenge of finding music that everyone in the room will like , or at least tolerate. Maybe I’m overly conscious of this issue because I despise so much of my co-workers’ music. They tend to play mass-choir performances of repetitive gospel chants, or country music. And that’s country music with a capital “C”, from 1980s and 90s America, by people who undoubtedly had names like Travis or Billy Bob or Bubba. I don’t know who imported that side of Americana to East Africa, but they were spot on and I could kill them for it.
So I try to compromise by not playing too much random indie rock or angry feminist jams. And no profanity obviously. The Dixie Chicks were a big hit, as was Alisson Krauss and other blue grass music. And everyone enjoys a good bout of jazz, or top-of-the-pops. But there are times when all I want to do is blast some Chilli Peppers, or bounce along to Postal Service. Anything to drown out the angelic choirs or Celine Dion or country twangs that get into my head like a splinter under a finger nail.