When I was very, very young indeed, The BBC broadcast Music While You Work on The Light Programme in the mornings. It was instrumental music intended to be listened to in workplaces. Bright and breezy undemanding stuff to hum along to while you did your job and earned your pay. When I finished my education and went into the world of work, Radio One had begun transmitting and it was common for radios to be softly playing the hits of the day in the electronics assembly workshops where I earned my weekly pay packet. Later on, in the later ’70s working in Hotel kitchens, there was usually a radio playing. Still later, as musical styles divided and stations proliferated, when I was working on building sites there would be competing radios. Painters in particular seemed incapable of working without a radio playing. By the time I retired, early last year, radios and other music players were banned on all major building projects (noise nuisance) and personal stereos too (health & safety*). Shops still tend to play music as you browse. The occasional clothing shop still blasts music out into the street but they’re rare these days.
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