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On God, rock concerts, and earplugs,
with Classical Music Agony Aunt ALICE McVEIGH

Saint Gloria Stoatgobbler ' Dear Mrs McVeigh,

I am interested in your views on a forthcoming musical engagement I am involved with, vis-a-vis a performance in a 12th Century parish church. Whilst it is common in the UK for amateur and even professional orchestras to perform secular programmes in churches, I am wondering whether the musical diversion I am involved with -- a rock gig -- might upset the more spiritual in the community.

The music being played has lyrical content which extends from shallow exhortations of love (with the odd bit of physical expression thrown in) to the downright bizarre and nonsensical. I am not sure any of it touches on the occult in the manner of Berlioz or Dvorak, but I would value your opinion none the less.

(You might like to bear in mind that the concert is a charitable bash aimed at replacing the Church of England ducking stool in the village which has uncovered a disappointing number of witches in recent years.)

(Saint) Gloria Stoatgobbler

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Alice Dear Dave,

Many thanks for your no-doubt-genuine concern for the feelings of those parishioners who might stumble into your rock concert. Personally, I feel that nothing is less likely. The kind of Church of England pew-warmers who would get within several hundred metres of one of your rock band's concerts must be few and far between, and it would take a very determined one such to bear the decibel-level long enough to figure out any of the words.

Indeed, rather than any desecration factor inflicted on any church by your lyrics (and I use the word lyrics loosely), I, having heard your band, am exclusively concerned with its aural impact. Despite the undoubted skill and zeal (particularly zeal) so amply displayed by you and your colleagues in crime, I found myself taking repeated trips to the bathroom in order to better craft impromptu ear-plugs (I can still hear the bass now, come to think of it) and I finally found that my enjoyment was most enhanced by placing myself on the other side of the door ...

Duperock. Photo © 2004 John Carmichael
Duperock. Photo © 2004 John Carmichael

Listen to DUPE play Ian Hunter's Roll Away the Stone

What the health and safety people would make of such aural terrorism I have no notion, but my earnest advice would be that the brilliance of your band (and it is brilliant, make no mistake) would be best enjoyed from the nearest car park. In fact -- here's a thought -- you could start a revival of the old American drive-in movie theaters. Drive in to hear Dupe-rock!!!!! Groping compulsory!!!! I offer this idea modestly, and gratis, hoping that you will remember your old friends once it has taken off and you are loaded.

Yours affectionately, still fashioning the ear-plugs,

Copyright © 21 March 2008 Alice McVeigh, Kent, UK

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