Friday, March 14, 2014

Andrews Sisters "Ferry Boat Serenade"

You can walk into a grocery store, or department store, or restaurant, or just about ANY kind of establishment, and they'll be playing music on the overhead speakers.

There are a couple of reasons a business will do this.

Sometimes it's to "brand" themselves.  As in, "we're a hip store that listens to the hip music of today so buy our clothes."

Sometimes it's to set a pace.  Fast food restaurants typically play upbeat music, which may encourage folks to eat faster and therefore turn-over tables more quickly.  A fancy Italian restaurant may play slower, more romantic music, hoping to set a mood and encouraging you to order that one more bottle of wine.

Usually, though, the music is there in a public place to make the whole experience of being there a little more pleasant.  Pleasant music, along with pleasant aesthetics and even pleasant smells can elevate a person's perception of their visit.

I've thought about this recently whenever boarding one of the Steamship Authority Ferries.  Wouldn't a little music on the boat make the ride a more pleasant experience?

Now let me say that nearly 15 years after my first Steamship ride, my personal experiences with the SSA are overwhelming positive.  That being said, you don't talk to too many folks on the Island, who don't have a quip about the ferry service.

They have the overhead speakers---a whole soundsystem---in place.  Why don't fill the journey to the Island with a soundtrack?  Carly Simon's "Never Been Gone."  "Van Morrison's "Into The Mystic."  James Taylor's "Lighthouse."

I heard this Andrews Sisters song for the first time recently.  How have I traveled by ferry for 15 years, and never heard this once while cruising across Vineyard Sound?

Oh, I'm sure there's a good reason there isn't music on the boat.  They would have to pay ASCAP/BMI fees.  Someone would have to operate it.  With the boats running 18 hours a day, the song turnover would be maddening to the folks who spend all day working the ferries.

But it would make the voyage more aesthetically pleasant.

Alternate suggestion:  The SSA workers should bake a fresh batch of cookies for each ferry ride for an aesthetically pleasant-smelling boat ride.

Hear the song on Youtube.

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