Friday, 16 October 2009

Fortissimo Fridays - Portable Music

Friday, 16 October 2009
The Apple iPod combined with a bright, crisp autumn morning in Newcastle is the best tonic for the soul a girl could ask for, bar none.

Walking back from Wallsend, this morning.

Isn't it fantastic how the accessibility and portability of music has grown over the years? My lifetime obsession with all things sonic began just as I was finishing elementary school to go to high school. I became a music junkie and was never to be seen anywhere without headphones and a portable cassette player – walking to the bus stop, on the bus, between classes – hell, even IN class if we had a particularly inattentive teacher... I had this great method of putting my headphone wire up the front of my t-shirt and then out through the left arm hole, so that if I were leaning my head on my left hand, one ear of the headphones could be sneakily concealed in the palm.

Crafty, eh?

Oh yeah, I was a properly kitted out portable music lover – the bottom of my schoolbag a veritable treasure trove of double A’s and always a ‘BIC’ pen on hand to rewind tapes without wasting valuable battery juice.

A significant bulk of those halcyon days was spent assembling tapes to listen to on my teenage travels. My insatiable appetite for new music would lead me to recording songs off the radio – be still my nostalgic heart – leaping across the bed from the other side of my bedroom to press record as I heard the opening riffs of a favourite track, and not even minding recording a bit of DJ banter at the start and end of the track. Remember when you could fit a whole album on one side of a C90? And the devastation you would feel when your Walkman ATE YOUR BEST MIX TAPE?!** Ah, those were the days.

I happily avoided talking to just about everyone at University while I ambled around campus with my headphones. I learned to especially love those tracks whose beats per minute mirrored the tempo of my own footsteps.

I learned to drive so I could put my own music in the car stereo. True story. It was LOUDER than my Walkman. Even now, at 33 years old my first questions about buying cars aren't about mileage, fuel efficiency or service history, rather: “But what’s the stereo like?”

And so now with my lovely iPod I can walk virtually anywhere my feet will carry me with almost my entire music collection magically housed on a piece of metal and plastic that is not much bigger than my credit card. That sentence would have been tantamount to telling my 13 year-old Walkman-wearing self that in the future she would eventually live in an airlock on the moon... cue exploding head!

The movie of my life has got a GREAT soundtrack. Happy Fortissimo Friday, everyone! Here is one that matches the beat of my footsteps if I’m not in a hurry to get anywhere.

Stockholm - New Fast Automatic Daffodils

**I’m such a dork I could even mend ‘eaten’ tapes by unscrewing the plastic cover of the tape, cutting out the worst of the chewed area with manicure scissors then realigning everything and using sticky-tape to splice the tape back together again. I was a tape SURGEON, man.

5 people had something to say about this...:

Lis said...

I now see clearly your connection with my husband and his to you. You are both music junkies, experts in your field (with a passion).
I am in love with Adele right now, maybe I will figure out how to send you my new favourite song by her.

Fame Throwa said...

OMG, I haven't heard that song in AGES!

Loving these Fortissimo Fridays! This post brought back a lot of memories. Don't forget about how we'd record MuchMusic videos, too!

My iPod is a good friend, but I struggle to get all of my stuff onto its mere 32GB!

Nicola Proctor said...

Fame -- HOW WEIRD... I -just- left a comment on Turtlehead's blog about taping songs off MuchMusic when she did the New Order post!

Isn't that New FADs track the best?

My iPod is a measly 8GB. My secret is to make it like one giant mix tape. There are only a handful of whole albums (Stone Roses, REM, Smiths... you know those good start-to-finish records) but I usually only include 2 or 3 songs from each record. Then if I want to listen to the whole thing I'll go old school to the actual CD.

rossland boardbettie said...

HAHA!! I too listened to music the EXACT same way in class and was able to mend tapes that had broken. I also mended a few VHS tapes that contained hours of MuchMusic videos or skateboarding the same way. The only problem with the VHS is that sometimes the spliced together part would get caught and wind up in the VCR. Oh well just meant a bit of garbled video. I could look past that!

I love reading your blogs Nic!

MarĂ­a said...

Isn't it amazing how far it's come? My girls take their iPods for granted, that's for damn sure.

I'm jealous. I always wanted a damn walkman. Never got one. Wouldn't have done me any good anyhow, I didn't have any music of my own until I was 12 years old, and it was a Dru Hill CD.

Although looking back, having a Walkman and being regulated to listening to nothing but Johnny Cash, Kenny Rogers, Sam Cooke and Al Green wouldn't have been so bad. :)