If you ask me, the music you hear in spas is massively underrated. Honestly, it's not the drugs talking here; I mean it. And anyway, I'm not on medication right now, not seriously.
Having had back problems for the past five years or so – and if you've never had back pain you will have already turned the page – I am used to lying in small, darkened rooms as various men and women work their magic. Or not, as the case may be. Recently I have been having a lot of acupuncture – Zen, in Notting Hill, seeing as you didn't ask – and as it seems to be working, I keep going back. A lot. And every time I visit they play the same tape, the same ethereal loop of pan pipes, slowed-down drums, angular guitar and plinky-plonky strings. It's one of those pieces of music that sums up the word "tranquil", and as such I can't fault it. If you could drink it, it would taste of green tea, and if you could wash your face with it, it would smell of jasmine. I imagine when these things are commissioned, the person writing the cheque says they need something that evokes Polynesian waterfalls, Maldivian sunrises or Santa Fe sunsets, and I have to say the people they employ to do these things have no problem interpreting them.
Even though I'm a fan and aficionado of "loungecore", easy-listening and supperclub crooners, it's never been suggested that I investigate "new age" music as it's always supposed to be rubbish. In fact I once heard it described to me as the sort of music you listen to as you're having acupuncture. Which, I have to say, is why I like it. But although it evokes a certain spirituality, a way of feeling good about yourself while distancing yourself from others, in essence this is really travel music, which is where you should find it on iTunes or in HMV.
Anyway, if I'm honest I already own perhaps the most new-age CD of them all. Nineteen years ago I visited Carmel in California, where Clint Eastwood used to be mayor. In one of the many new-age trinket shops in which I bought ergonomic table lamps and deleted recordings of Jack Kerouac reciting dreadful poetry, I bought one of my most treasured CDs, a recording of the Pacific Ocean crashing against the northern Californian coastline.
It is, like, totally rad. And it sounds great as someone's making mincemeat of your back.
Dylan Jones is the editor of 'GQ'