An interesting thing happened while I was playing music at a restaurant recently. It had been a hot day, and a cool breeze was wafting the sweet smell of flowers from a nearby park. All around me people were smiling, talking genially with friends, laughing with their children.
After an hour or so, someone on the staff came over and turned on a television near the bandstand. Those of you who have been in this situation know what happened next… conversation stopped, the smiles disappeared, girls and boys sat looking at their plates while they faded to the periphery of their parents’ attention.
Most didn’t seem to notice that after just a few minutes of watching TV, their behavior had changed drastically. I wonder how they would have answered a questionnaire asking: “Did watching TV affect your dining experience? Did your food taste better or worse? Did you have more or less satisfying interaction with friends and family?” I don’t have anything against television, but any restaurant that takes pride in its menu or ambiance should consider its role in their establishment. Now when I’m with people I care about, I try to count the number of times I turn away from them to look at a screen of some kind. Try this yourself. You might be surprised.
Anyway, here’s a cool blues by saxophonist Geof Bradfield, from his 2012 album Melba!