Lou Reed is a difficult acro

When people say that they have a passion for music, I would bet that 100% of them do not like all music. They might dislike heavy metal. Or be able to leave all forms of classical well alone. Chances are that country and western will not be on their radar at the same time as ambient dance.

However, when we say that we have a passion for birds, we do not seem to discriminate. We embrace all species.There will be times when effort might not be put into seawatching, or working ones way through a flock of gulls, but they are not totally shunned. Nobody turns their back on a wagtail because it is one, although music buffs may well turn off Katy Perry when she comes on the radio, or refuse to listen to any nose flute music.Why are we so all-inclusive? Is it because we only have a limited number of species to look at? I like to think that there are paralells to be drawn between musical taste and birding...

Critical ID 
This is the free-form jazz of the bird world. Difficult to embrace, takes a lot of interpretation and relies a lot upon wallowing in minutiae.

Hardcore twitching
The punk of the bird world. Old school meant sleeping rough, hitching, looking wild. The new twitching is a cleaned up version, like a tribute band or the reforming of middle-aged, overweight men (hello John Lydon...)

Local RSPB group outings
A Phil Collins greatest hits box-set...

Raptor migration
Talons, death machines in flight, big barn doors overhead - it has to be heavy metal.

Patch watching
We like to think we're Iggy Pop, but we're more like Coldplay

Imagine listening to the entire work of Neil Young, chronologically jumbled  - moments of sheer brilliance punctuated with tedium.

Scientific study
Worthy, steady and not rocking any boats - a bit like being at a folk festival.

I'm sure you can come up with your own.


Tim Allwood said…
seawatching while listening to 'electric' Neil Young has to be an awesome experience. Some of the mental feedbacking guitar is a perfect match for a Pom Skua bombing through or flocks of Kitts with a Sabine's embedded battling south... must do it this autumn!

The Mavericks - Mark E Smith, Luke Haines, Soft Pack, Mountain Goats, Half Man Half Biscuit, Chumbawamba etc must be the 'off-radar patchers'; hard working and totally focussed but misanthropic and curmudgeonly towards the masses, so don't expect to see it on the pager!

Coldplay or U2 must be the 'pager-chasers': no heritage, no passion, no vitality and just going through the motions to keep things ticking over. Never there when it matters, always turning up a bit too late and living off others' glory

Free-form jazz? There are one or two about with that kind of approach to id... nice!

I could go on but it's best for everyone if I stop now!
Gavin Haig said…
Really Serious Listing

Opera! Melodrama and Prima Donnas galore. While afficonados cannot get enough of it, to most of us it's a bit ludicrous.
Skev said…
'Cheque-book Listing'
Everything on a plate, no groundwork, no kudos, no skills, no talent - has to be the X-Factor / manufactured overnight pop sensation, like Joe McElderry ......

Pointless, heavily criticised, kidding yourself, definitely not what it was cracked up to be - has to be the tribute artist, like Bjorn Again ......

'Armchair Ticking'
Big reward for little effort, cashing in on times gone past, jumping on the bandwagon - has to be the comeback artist following the lead of another comeback artist, like Boyzone (again) ......

'UK500 Listing'
Not recognised, unofficial, a poor replicate of something that already exists - has to be the 'Digitally Remastered' version churned out by the record companies of anything that was originally released on vinyl!
Alastair said…
Garden bird watching - it must be Kate Bush (of Ariel era)

Patch watching is definitely Casiotone for the Painfully Alone (the mundane becomes thrilling).

Atlas work - either trance or Kraftwerk and their ilk

Seawatching - Joy Division has always done it for me, Bonxie killing things to Atrocity Exhibition
Steve Gale said…
Tim, Gavin, Skev and Alastair - what a tremendous set of responses. I've obviously not thought as long and hard about this as you all have.
Dave Boyle said…
Are you really sure that's a Pisaura mirabilis????
Steve Gale said…
I reckon so Dave - they are quite variable. Good to have your comment before you dash off to Skomer. Have fun!

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