A sense of nostalgia

We’re in the process of a massive, house size, sort out at the minute. We have now lived at our current address for six years and suddenly the house seems as cluttered as the one we left behind despite being twice the size. There are two reasons for this – my inability to stop buying books and my husband’s inability to throw anything away. We cannot afford to move again and there is nowhere to put new shelves so something had to give.

So I’ve given myself of sorting out all the cassette tapes that we still have with aim of putting any that might still be listenable to onto CD via a USB cassette player and throwing away all the others. A stupidly large task but at least with the advantage of listening to some things that I hadn’t heard for ages or even before. (I’m already more than halfway through putting all the vinyl onto the I-Pod and am currently listening to Babble by That Petrol Emotion, well worth a listen if you like noisy indie tunes from the late eighties and last listened in about 1992.)

It was when I discovered a tape from my university days with The Would Be’s on it that I started to feel nostalgic. I used to love this tape. Of course, in time honoured fashion, this was completely warped and unlistenable. And the tape didn’t say whether it was an LP, a series of singles or anything useful. I felt a little depressed given how much listening time I had given this tape albeit twenty odd years ago and my first thought was I’ll never be able to replace this. I doubt you would happen to find it just looking through the shelves at HMV. It’s not as if they were even very famous at the time.

Of course, this just shows how old fashioned I am. Of course, I could just go to I-Tunes and search for them and there it would be. It’s probably on Amazon as well. So that’s good, isn’t it? Progress you know. I could be listening to it again, right this second if I so desired.

But I’m not. And I can’t really explain why but I find the whole ease of finding it a little bit depressing. I want it to be difficult. Everything is so easy, a mere click of the mouse away. Why wait for anything? It was only a few weeks ago that A Field in England was released on all formats simultaneously. A far cry from the months you used to have to wait for a film to come out on video if you missed it at the cinema.

I can’t help feeling that it takes away some of the meaning. Part of liking indie bands and alternative music was that sometimes it was difficult to find but part of your dedication as a fan was looking really hard. Instant gratification seems to build a really short attention span. After all, if you spend weeks looking for something chances are you are going to give it some attention once you have it. But if it appears in a second, how long before your off for your next fix of new and exciting.

Of course, I know that I could just download all the vinyl and cassettes I have from I-Tunes or some such and save myself the mammoth task of converting it all to the I-Pod. It would be quick and it would be easy. But this way I have to listen to it all and while it may take me longer, I am sure it will be infinitely more fun.

The joy of the I-Pod on Shuffle.

It’s funny but when I first got the I-Pod, I didn’t realise that it would change the way that I listen to music. I don’t just mean that I started to download more. While this is true, I think it would have happened anyway. Also, there is no reason not to listen to downloads in an old-fashioned, album by album, track by track sort of way. But I find, more and more, I listen to it on shuffle. it saves me having to decide and if I’m cooking which is when I usually listen to it, then I don’t have to stop to stick another CD on.

It is one thing to be in the mood for something and listen to it but another completely to have a great song appear unexpectedly. For example, last night I was listening and Come Back by The Mighty Wah came on. There are a number of reasons why it is always great to hear this song. For a start, it has a great thumping anthemic chorus which you can chant along to. This immediately removes any residual stress. There is nothing like chanting along to a good song to do that. Secondly there is a good degree of nostalgia attached to this song. I was 12 when this song was in the charts and so it reminds me of being young and carefree. So there is another level of happiness attached to it.

To me, this is the way that music works in my life. No matter how stressful my day has been, I know that for at least that time when I am cooking and I am listening to the I-Pod, I know that will be a guaranteed time of happiness. Even though, this being my record collection, there is a huge number of miserable bastards on there – Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Morrissey to name but a few, music always lifts the spirits.