I love my iPod. It's like, the best invention ever - the best invention since...I don't know...the cellphone? It's so much fun! That might sound a little kooky, but hear me out. Understand, I love music. Seriously. Can't play a note, but love listening to it. Sometimes I think that instead of becoming a pilot I should have stayed in radio, or migrated into some other aspect of the music industry. But I didn't. Paths diverge, we make our choices, blah blah blah, here I am on my helicopter blog writing about music.
Back in the day, I used to make so-called mix-tapes. You'd take your favorite songs from records or other cassettes you already owned, and then dub them onto blank cassettes. Then you'd plug the new cassette into your Walkman, put your headphones on, pump up the volume and the outside world would faaaaaaaade awaaaaaaaayyyyy. Very annoying if you were trapped on a bus or a train seated next to someone who was listening to their Walkman loud. Which means that people were often annoyed when seated next to me.
The trouble with mix-tapes was that: A) the number of songs each cassette could hold was limited; and B) the order of the songs was set - you always knew which one was coming up next. So the songs ended up interrelating. This is not always a good thing. Sometimes songs need to stand on their own.
The iPod is a vast, oh-God-why-didn't-they-invent-this-before?- improvement. First of all, it holds tons more songs than the longest cassette ever could. Secondly, it plays the songs randomly, so every successive song is a surprise. And if you've chosen the music carefully, a pleasant surprise. With a capacity of 250 songs (which I intend to take full advantage of), I doubt I'll ever go, "Dang, this song again!" And even if I do, deleting a song off the iPod is easy. Not so easy to do on the mix-tape.
I have to admit that I primarily like loud, hard-drivin', foot-stompin' (but not head-bangin') rock. But I'm no music snob! Nope, I love all types of music, and can listen to almost anything - for three minutes at a time or less! My iPod has an incredible variety of music...music of all genres. New music and old music, alternative to rock to country to disco to folk to R&B and back to rock. I've got music I thought was lost forever. For instance!
Back in the early 1980's when the category of Alternative music was invented there was a radio station on Long Island, N.Y. called WLIR. As luck would have it, that's where I was living at the time. Oh man, the strange and wonderful music WLIR played! Most radio stations of the time were fairly conservative. Even "free-form" rock stations stuck with traditional artists and genres. With WLIR you never knew what they were going to come up with next. It was simply exhilarating, especially for someone like me who was brought up on rigidly-formatted Top-40 radio.
One record WLIR played was by a soca artist(!) called Mighty Sparrow. "Soca" is calypso music with the tempo cranked up to eleven. This particular song was called "Wanted Dead Or Alive," a super-uptempo, clever rundown of all of the various worldwide dictators of the day, of which we had many back then. I only heard the song a couple of times. But it was catchy. And you know how I am about clever, catchy, super-uptempo tunes. But try as I might, I could never find much information on Mighty Sparrow, and I never heard the song again. Figured I never would.
But along comes the internet, my iPod, and iTunes! With a little bit of keyboard noodling, I not only found all I ever wanted to know about Mighty Sparrow (who's been recording since the 1950's, by the way), but I found the song! Ninety-nine cents later, it's mine. Downloaded and in the mix. Gotta love iTunes!
Kids these days, they're so lucky. They have all this cool shit to play with that my generation couldn't even dream about. I can't wait to see what's going to be invented next. Like the new Nintendo Wii? I want one! And I don't even play video games. And how 'bout those automatically tinting contact lenses! Until I have that laser eye surgery, I wear contacts. An eye doctor told me that they now have contact lenses that tint when you go out in the sun. No more sunglasses to break and lose? How cool is that...I'm in! I may be getting old, but I love new technology.
And I love my iPod - have I mentioned that?