How to kill an unwanted conversation. (An occasionally vital skill.)

Started by Gyppo, February 25, 2023, 11:59:56 AM

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   How to kill an unwanted conversation.

    You know the scenario.  You're at a party or some other sort of social gathering and someone latches onto you.  But you'd rather they didn't.  How to persuade them to go away without having to be obviously rude?  Sometimes a smack in the nose is the only answer, but it's a bit over the top if they're just annoying or boring.  Plus it always makes the others wary of you.

    I've always thought that an offhanded claim to be computer coder and throwing in a few obscure references to your supposed trade can drive most people away.  Sometimes a reference to 'working in the more complex lower levels of a SQL database' works just fine ;-)

    If the other person turns out to be a real coder then just come clean, tell them you're a fake.  They'll either appreciate your honesty, and perhaps turn out to be far more interesting than you initially thought, or they'll spurn you as an utter waste of time and walk away.  Either way you win ;-)

    But I've recently stumbled across something even more promising as a conversation stopper.

    Music Theory.  A deep abiding fascination/passion for some.  In which case the advice for dealing with a real coder applies just as well.  But for those (most of us probably) who just like listening to music, something like the following is like listening to an alien language...

    An explanation of how the old song 24 hours from Tulsa  actually works.  First, here's the song if you don't know it.  Ignorance, in this case, is probably bliss. There's a whole generation of us who were scarred for life by listening to such morbid stuff ;-)

    The twists of the song's lyrics (the protagonist, just 24 hours from reaching home, falls in love with a woman when he stops driving for the night, leaving his current partner twisting in the wind) are echoed in the music's tonal ambiguity, a common feature of Bacharach's constructivist style. The verse is in G major, with a Lydian implication in the melody supported by the supertonic major. At the start of the chorus, an interruption of the expected cadence by the subdominant chord (C major) establishes this as the new tonic, with the remainder of the chorus centred around the submediant, dominant, and subdominant chords of this key. A similar interruption at the end of the chorus converts an expected perfect cadence in the new key to a modal cadence back into G major. At the end of the song, a dominant seventh on the tonic resolves as a perfect cadence into a new key to finish the song on the subdominant chord of the principal key (C major as viewed from the perspective of a G major tonality).

    No doubt as fascinating to a music theory aficionado as a debate on sentence construction and nested sub-clauses could be to a writer.  But surely anyone else's eyes would glaze  over not long after 'tonal ambiguity' and 'constructivist style'.

    My personal objection to this song is that the prick still addresses her as 'Dearest Darling' when she is obviously now anything but.