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Coldplay Come in from the Cold Play

When that great, gigantic meteor eventually hurtles towards us and civilisation crumples into a heap of molten fire, I know exactly which CD I'll reach for to take the edge off: Coldplay's A Rush of Blood to the Head.

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Image by DaigoOliva (Creative Commons). Image by DaigoOliva (Creative Commons).

The much-maligned British band may not be to everyone's taste and yet seemingly they are. They are the everyman, the two-point-four, the rich tea biscuit, the labrador at Crufts; maybe not as exciting as other breeds, but definitely willing to lead a blind person safely round Asda.

Coldplay are, as many cynically remark, middle of the road, but what is wrong with that? Yes, everyone hates middle lane drivers, but secretly it's also everyone's preferred lane because that's where they feel safest - tucked in at an irritating 65mph, steadily moving on a journey to Northampton. If I was hurtling towards my demise, or Northampton, 65mph would be the ideal speed.

In uncertain times, 'middle of the road' can be a comforting fallback. There's something reassuring about the middle ground, the centre. It is the holding point to which humankind can gravitate around and cling to while the maelstrom of panic takes flight.

As pop superstar and international cricketer W. B. Yeats put it:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre,
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world...

'Mere anarchy' in this instance being gabber music.

The world is one of ever-widening and disparate social circles, where people desperately fight for every nook and cranny of individual expression to adorn at the totem of the self. Our connection with others can seem minimal and this in turn can feel isolating, while trying to keep up with the endless demand to define ourselves against others can quickly become tiresome.

This is why it helps to have a middle point that everyone can just about tolerate if needed, where we can leave the pretence of a constructed self sobbing into an Adidas popper trouser bum bag.

Middle-of-the-road mediocrity can have a positive impact on our psyches. It is the most Zen of all musical tropes. It neither strives for definitive meaningfulness; which is a futile task, nor does it completely trivialise the essence of being like the Crazy Frog song or anything by Blue.

When I listen to Coldplay, all I hear is that everything is OK and nothing more. All thoughts empty out of my head. My ego shrinks to the size of a small apple. Maybe a Cox.

Being in the middle is also a remarkable feat; rocky enough to swing a hip to without risking head-banging mosh-pit pandemonium, a singing voice that is pleasant without pulling too hard at the ventricles, and lyrics that are impressively ambiguous enough for multiple interpretations without much need for contemplation.

If music was a house, Coldplay would be a door. You wouldn't want a house without a door, even if you wouldn't invite people round for cocktails just to look at it.

In embracing Coldplay, you accept that life is suffering and that you desire nothing, but possibly a middle-eight key change. You accept that life is banal and pointless and you can be at peace with this.

You no longer have a rush of blood to the head.

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