Today at work I was writing a submission which I’d been avoiding doing for a couple of weeks. The subject matter is reasonably dry – the remaking of a Heritage Regulation, because the previous one is about to expire.
Heritage is one of the portfolios I’m responsible for, but I nowhere near an expert in how it all works. Basically, every level of government has different rules, criteria and responsibilities for protecting heritage.
The main thing I’m certain of is that Aboriginal heritage is totally disrespected and is being trashed at an alarming rate. For fuck’s sake, it’s barely even respected as heritage – most of the relevant legislation is in the National Parks and Wildlife Act.
I also know that announcing something is being heritage protected is a good news story. People like old stuff and have sentimental attachment to it, so governments make sure that many trumpets are blown whenever something is listed.
At the same time, though, heritage listing something means that you can’t trash that thing to build a coal mine or a multi-storey apartment building – with paper thin walls that you can hear people fart through, for example – so the lobby groups that FUND government don’t particularly like it when things are heritage listed.
Oh. Sorry. You thought YOU fund government through taxes?
lol. You so funny.
Anyway, so I’m drafting our response to the draft regulation that the government has put together to replace the regulation that’s about to expire – regulations basically being the things which make legislation practically useful and enforceable, so kinda important to keep on top of – and in order to actually be able to concentrate on writing it I was listening to music through my phone.
There are so many things that I can be doing at work that if I want to avoid doing a task there are endless procrastination techniques. A real good time waster is to cycle through: my work email, David’s work email, my personal email, my facebook, David’s Facebook and then my and David’s Twitter to see if anything new has popped up. By the time I get to the end of the cycle, even if there’s been no change, I might as well go back to the beginning – something might have come through!
But I was being good and focusing on the task at hand, dry as it was – I’m sure there’s someone out there who is fascinated by the difference between a Willing To Pay (WTP) and Willing To Accept (WTA) costs analysis in determining the heritage value of an item, but all I could think was WTF? – and I was listening to the Arcade Fire to help me concentrate on what I was doing.
I find that if I listen to an album, or songs by a particular artist, that I’m familiar with, then I can really focus on getting the words out. Right now, for example I’m listening to my song list on random, and the jumps between songs can be disconcerting, but each song, as long as I’m familiar with it, is a 3-7 window of uninterrupted writing and creativity, which isn’t too bad actually.
At one point one of my co-workers, Nicky, asked me something, which I didn’t hear of course, not properly and so I apologized to her and said that I was listening to the Arcade Fire.
…they’re a band from Canadia and they sing stuff. Here’s my favourite song of theirs at the moment…
Freaky Friday – this sound just came up on random on my iPhone, out of 7,000 songs! Why couldn’t my luck have extended to tonight’s lotto draw instead of random song playing! *sigh*
Anyway, Nicky said that apparently only listening to classical music when you’re doing something allows you to remember what you’re doing, and that the rhythms of other types of music don’t actually empower your brain to remember what you’re reading or doing.
I don’t really mind, I said. I don’t want to remember what I am doing, I just want to do it, I said.
And it’s true, now that it’s done – thank you Arcade Fire – I really don’t want to be able to recall any of it. But what Nicky said IS quite interesting.
Still, I don’t usually listen to music when I’m reading anyway, just when writing. And usually, if I’m doing SERIOUS WRITING I will listen to quite particular music.
When I was writing my final work for my Masters, for example, I pretty much exclusively playing Michael Andrews’ Donnie Darko score and the equally haunting soundtrack to Requiem for a Dream by the Kronos Quarter pretty much on endless repeat. Of course, I was writing a supernatural thriller, so it kind of fit.
So what kind of music do other people listen to when they’re writing, I wonder?