A few years under the belt often gives many of us a considerable feeling of superiority over the music tastes of young ears. Of course, naturally - and I hate to sound snobbish - the term music here is used loosely, v e r y.

The latest attack struck at the gym yesterday. I mean, the gym of all places! A gym where we all pay far too much to exercise beside strangers for the undoubted healthy advantage of breathing in their, well, expirations.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Junior biology ... The good ship Orontes which carried a vast number of families to faraway places. Many thanks to Ships and Harbours for this lovely old postcard of the SS Orontes.

This time the audio offence came from the gym speakers. The row they presumably believe to be music was turned up to full volume. This isn't just a grouch moaning. The sound was so thunderous I couldn't hear the sounds from my own Ipod (ex-eBay, 1st edition).

Please don't imagine I was indulging in Mantovani or what is sometimes politely referred to as light classics or easy listening. I use my three-quarter hour work-out visits for learning another language.

Taste terrorist

As I tried hard not to hear what some taste-terrorist seemed determined I should hear, I wondered about the effect of such tuneless stuff on the brains of future voters, of tomorrow's citizens and perhaps leaders.

Like many of us who had reached a certain age, I might have been shaking my head, hopefully not in time, at the gall of those able to string a few notes together and then sell the row as a tune and yet experience no pangs of conscience.

Just as I was enjoying this bout of superiority, my own conscience intervened. I pressed the treadmill's 'stop' button. I was recalling - with something like horror - my own young tastes, the utter awfulness that captured multiple young hearts and won the perpetrators fortune and fame.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Our poor ears ... They called them hits and 'Oh, Carol' certainly made its mark around the world. Thanks to Wikipedia for this Italian cover for the, er, Sedaka music. By Source, Fair use

Secrecy and shock

Once you start in this vein, at the gym, in the shower, or just about anywhere, something inside lets you down. Certainly that happens with me. I find the mind playing the notes of a fave rave of the time. When this happened in the gym yesterday, what a cause for secrecy and shock.

My mind had gone back to 1959, and I was entranced by one Neil Sedaka's, Oh, Carol. Oh, Paul, I thought. The song, to use a flattering term, began in my head with almost a warning, Oh, Carol, I am such a fool ...

We have to find a way to excuse these slips back, and the one that surfaced for me was the memory of what at the time probably was about the scariest moment in a young life, even it if did belong to a boy who had experienced bombings and air raid sirens and thunderous dashes to bomb shelters.

Far too old for me

I was eight, on board the ship that carried the family from war-ravaged Britain to about as far as earthlings could go then, New Zealand.

A little girl - aged nearly 9 which felt far too old for me - whispered, 'If you show me yours, I'll show you mine.'

Shock is certainly something of an understatement. The child in me turned and ran. And then after a few years, spent the rest of its life trying to find her again. Her name was Carol. Oh, Carol, I was such a fool ...

Thanks very much for visiting the blogs for my adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory.

Wikipedia on the record, Oh, Carol