Music - It's a matter of taste isn't it?
No, I'm not writing about food, but music. I love music. Couldn't be without it. From Hank to Hendrix, Bach to Wagner, if it's good I'll listen. But it has its place. Not everyone wants to listen to what I like. Look at the rich diversity of choice we have on just the BBC for example. Not to mention the commercial stations. Many of us now have iPods and can take our 2000 Lp collection around with us in our pocket, take it to a hotel even. We can listen in the car, on the train (headphones please), on the plane, and in the bath. I've loved music for as long as I can remember, from my father playing old 78's like the Laughing Policeman, LP's of 76 Trombones, Tijuana Brass, Gilbert and Sullivan, and at school by performing in Britten's Noyes Fludde - I was a mouse believe it or not. I also sang in the local church choir for many years, even doing the solo for Once in Royal David's City. All these things gave me a wide appreciation of music.
I'd love to be able to play my favourites at the Linthwaite, but we have to be very careful with music. We get about 7,600 people checking in over the year. That's a lot of ears and opinions. There are some guests who want more. Some who want less or none even. The more lobby would like music at breakfast in the restaurant and in the lounges all day, presumably they feel uncomfortable if it's too quiet.
Guests come to Linthwaite for peace and tranquillity, but of course we can't get it right for everyone. There are some regular guests who are very classical leaning. They don't like the light jazz we play only in the evenings in the restaurant. Music in the restaurant should cease to be heard once there are a few people sitting and chatting. We chose piano or piano trio music because the piano is easy to hear through low volume speakers. Personally I get very irritated in restaurants where you get full orchestras played through a pathetic system at low levels. It distracts me because I'm straining to get all the instruments and can't.
In the early 80's there was an innovative London restaurateur, an American called Bob Peyton. He set up the Chicago Pizza Pie factory. Unusually in a restaurant in the UK he had many pairs of big speakers suspended from the ceiling so that wherever you were sitting you'd get the whole range of the music in stereo. Brilliant. He spent thousands on the sound system; it was loud, but not too loud. But that wouldn't be right for Linthwaite.
So whilst I'd love to have speakers everywhere and persuade all our guests that Richard Thompson really is one of the greatest musicians around today, I will just have to keep him to myself in the car or on my headphones.
In the meantime, we are phasing in bedside radios with an iPod dock because that's what you, the guests, say you want. And you can listen to what you like of course in the privacy of your own room.
Anyone fancy a music themed break at Linthwaite?