Tuesday, 15 August 2006

Life on Mars

A month or so ago I got myself a pair of decent travel headphones, freed up some capacity on my phone's memory card put about 125 songs on it. As I spend quite a large proportion of each day on the train, and as every now and again I just need "virtual space" from my clients, I figured it was high time. It is the first time I've been able to use a "walkman", well, since I had a walkman.

The main thing I have found is that I actually listen to the lyrics of songs. On the radio or tv songs are merely background noise, whether they appeal or not. But when I put these headphones on, flicking the switch to turn the ambient-noise-cancelling gadget on is like activating a lens, bringing the music, and in particular the lyrics, into focus.

I've found that this can severely affect the way certain songs are viewed.

Take James Blunt, for example, "You're beautiful". Lovely voice, beautiful sounding song, I'm sure it must have won awards and certainly I bought his album on the strength of it. But when you hear the lyrics it is complete trash (imo)!

Of course there are other songs which fall into the "it was nice to listen to again but now that I've heard it [x] times I now need to delete it in order to stop me going off it altogether" category (where x can be large or small, depending on the song), for example Karen Carpenter's "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft". Karen Carpenter had a beautiful voice but a lot of the songs were downright cheese. And quite why I copied a Bruce Hornsby song onto there for the moment escapes me.

But its not all negative - there are the inevitable songs which make me think "I should listen to this more often", which can be either keys to unlocking some past part of my life, or just good music.

For all of this I have my phone to thank. This wonderful little device will let me send email, surf the web and, of course, play music and videos. I can even tap out blog entries on its minute keyboard. Of course I do wonder at some of its functionality, for example the "random" function in the MP3 software, but on the whole how could I possibly complain? I can even make phone calls from it!

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