I appreciate a good bit of oddball news as much as anyone. Sometimes I even appreciate it up to twelve percent more. But this one from the BBC, “Swiss city bans `noisy’ silent discos”? I’m sorry, that’s just trying too hard. As is the photo caption that notes “City authorities say that silent discos are not necessarily silent”.
Silent discos, by the way, are a thing that exists in both the real world and in Jonathan Lethem novels. Instead of having music anyone can listen to, they give out headphones and everybody listens to a broadcast of the music they’d play. Fine enough. I’ve seen one, without headphones. This didn’t hurt my ability to find the beat at all, because I could not find the beat with my love patiently explaining, “NOW! No, not now, wait for it … NOW! No! Just … do what I do. No, when I do it. NOW! No, stop.” I’m not good with rhythm.
The problem in the underlying news was some applications for outdoor silent discos. So the neighbors would hear all the noise of a disco except the music. I’ve never lived next to a disco, but I have been places where things happen. I can imagine how it’s worse to get just the ambient noise without the music. For one, you’d hear all the coughing, and never know whether it was on the beat. Also, the article says, “participants can’t help singing along to the music”.
So let’s get this sucker rated. The underlying news item, tolerably amusing but not odd at all once you think about it. This is where so much oddball news fails us. I give that a two out of five. The reporting has that nice quote about singing along to the music being the issue. That’s a four out of five. The headline blows it, though. It should’ve been “Silent Disco Banned On Noise Concerns”. Two out of five. This averages out to a 2.67. Needs work.