Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Bye Tunes iTunes

DC Editor Adam writes…

I'm out-and-about leading the Rock'n'Roll Pub Walk with LIVE Music tonight. As the walk goes along, conversation often turns to format – how do you listen to your music these days?

With the news that Apple is binning iTunes, are you glad to see the back of it? And the iPod?

Now that there’s music on the tablet, the phone and the bleedin' vacuum cleaner, who needs an iPod?

Those of you who know me – and those of you who have joined me on the Rock’n’Roll London Walk – will know that I am over-fond of a rant about CD’s being the work of the devil, how they are not fit to lace the boots of a vinyl record.

Surely, therefore, a traditionalist such as I (everybody knows that traditionalist is just another word for Grumpy Old Fart) will be happily dancing on the iPod’s grave. 

A grave, by the by, that might look a little like this…

(The illustration: is it too much? Can you tell I flirted with being a Goth as a teenager?)

So, good riddance to bad rubbish, then?

Far from it.

The thing about CD’s: I NEVER liked them. Didn’t stop me buying hundreds of 'em, o’course, but it was under duress, your honour.

I first came across the Compact Disc in a science classroom at school. Some well-meaning teacher had brought in his CD player and an already impressive collection of CD’s (New Gold Dream by Simple Minds was one of them, making this 1982/83). He was giving a demonstration and waxing lyrical about how much better they were than records.

I remember picking one up in its little square-ish case and turning it over in my hand. Plasticky. Brittle.

“No sleeve notes,” I griped. “Not as good as a record.”

At which point the teacher took the CD case from me and like some end-of-the-pier magician pulling flags-of-all-nations from his sleeve, unfurled a hefty booklet full of sleevenotes with a smug flourish.

There was something about his smugness from which I never recovered.

His smugness.

His moustache.

The fact that we were in a science classroom.

The well-meaning attempt to be “down with the kids”.

The fact that the CD he was playing to demonstrate the CD’s wonderfulness – and, by implication, his own – was Private Eyes by Hall and Oats.

The fact that the track was Mano a Mano, the worst track on an already terrible album.

AND you couldn’t get The Beatles on CD back then.

Done deal: why bother?

The iPod, on the other hand, appealed directly to the music anorak in me. All of your music in your pocket, wherever you go. All ordered in Playlists (best thing since the mix-tape, of which I was an addict). It was listening AND curating. I loved it from the very first.

And, like The Walkman (another invention I was very fond of), you could listen on the go and didn't have to creep like a cat burglar so's not to upset the disc, unlike the wretched CD Walkman (crap hardware for crap software).

Having said that, my first iPod (illustrated above) is about 10 years old and went on the fritz years ago. The Bush record player with the Garrard turntable upon which it is posing (also above) is more than 50 years old and still goes like the clappers. For records, and their players, I rest my case

But I’ll be sorry to see the iPod go.

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