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McDonalds Using Classical Music to Fight the Thugs

By James Inverne on Aug 19, 2013 02:22 PM EDT

While it's always good to hear about people turning to classical music, we're not sure what to think about the news that a branch of McDonalds is to play the classics as a way of persuading local thugs to stay away. Talk about a back-handed compliment...

The branch in question is the Grand Central McD's in Stockport, U.K. They've been having problems after pub closing time, apparently, with drunk and disorderly idiots making life unpleasant for staff and presumably for the other diners. So, as a cheaper and less confrontational option to beefing up security, they will be piping in classical music in the small hours, reasoning that said drunk and disorderly persons will be so repelled by Mozart et al. that they will take their anti-social business elsewhere.

While we would observe that there are in fact some well-known (at least within the industry) examples of classical musicians who would at various times fall into the drunk and (at least borderline) disorderly category--amply proving that great music and alcohol are by no means mutually exclusive past-times--this method has been used with success elsewhere. In Britain, Australia, the U.S. and Canada, classical music has been used to discourage uncivilized behavior. As long ago as 2005, reports emerged from London that showed the system helping to reduce robberies and vandalism by more than 30 per cent. Vivaldi, Mozart and Handel are among the top choices of the crime-fighters--something to add to their traditional repertoire of gun, 'cuffs and tazer.

The thinking is, pure and simple, that ne'er-do-wells won't hear anything they recognize or find comforting in the classics and so will just go away. As apparently they often do.

In which case, to those choosing the playlists, may we suggest a few to stay away from?

1. Brindisi (drinking song) from Verdi's Otello,

2. Beethoven's Ninth Symphony (preferred theme tune of the nasties in A Clockwork Orange), and

3. Stravinksy's The Rite Of Spring (which famously provoked a riot).

Next? Doubtless some bright spark will come up with the idea to play heavy metal over the tannoy to clear concert halls of lingering audience members at closing-up time.

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TagsJames Inverne, McDonalds, Grand Central, Stockport, Verdi, Beethoven, Stravinsky, Pulp Fiction

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