I’ve sold out….

My friends, I write these words with a deep sense of guilt and shame, disapprobation and yes, even opprobrium.  I have sold out.  I have betrayed my most dearly held beliefs and sacrificed what I once thought were the strongest of principles.  I am a whore, a slut, a trollop.  I feel so dirty, so cheapened, I cannot even look myself in the eye when I behold my unworthy visage in the mirror.

I have purchased my first iPod.

Those of you who might say, “What’s the big deal?  You need to get over yourself, Smith” obviously don’t know me, either in person or from this blog.  Those who do know me understand that I am an avowed antediluvian.  I smoke a pipe, wear a pocket watch, and write with a fountain pen.  My favorite composers are Thomas Tallis, John Dunstable, and Johannes Brahms.  And the important thing here is that those are not the mere affectations of someone who misses the Victorian era.  I genuinely enjoy those things.  Hell, I didn’t buy my first Walkman until two years ago.

It’s Murphy’s fault, of course.  These things usually are.  Although a bit of an antiquarian himself, he seems to have adapted to the twenty first century far better than your humble scribe.  I don’t know why he does this to me.  Maybe he thinks it’s for my own good.  Maybe he’s afraid that he’ll be lonely in the new century without me.  But for whatever strange reasons of his own, he has this insatiable need to meet the new century by dragging me along with him.  This very blog owes it existence to his relentless nagging.

At his insistence, I opened an iTunes account.  Now I have to admit, iTunes is pretty cool.  I have a taste for the sort of music that one just doesn’t hear on the radio much these days.  I have now collected several hours of music I never thought I would hear again.  The Flying Burrito Brothers, obscure Byrds and Gene Clark tunes,  Fairport Convention, and Pentangle are among the out of the way things you’ll find on my playlist.  For those of you who thought The Monkees were only a “prefab four”, download “The Door Into Summer” (alternate mix).  Prepare to change your mind.

But was this enough for Murphy?  No, of course not.  He insisted that the next logical step was my own iPod.  This, however, he could not make me do.  I was adamant in my refusal.

My loathing of the iPod is well documented.  To me, it represents everything I dislike about our society: the blind consumerism, the self absorption, the obsession with owning something just because it’s “new” and “cool”, and the belief that we’re somehow entitled to be entertained on demand, 24/7.  I also deeply resent Apple’s relentless marketing which is designed to make me feel like a lower form of life if I don’t own one. 

Another major problem I have is with the whole concept of downloaded music.   Remember, I come from the generation that grew up with 12″ vinyl albums.  (If you don’t know what I’m talking about here, you’re probably up past your bedtime.)  Albums were the best, because you not only got music, but you got the album cover, complete with artwork and liner notes.  In short, you got “stuff”.

The CD, (which I also viewed with deep suspicion for many years), at least continued this tradition, although in miniaturized form.

But the MP3?  Somehow, it seemed so artificial, so electronic, so virtual.  Virtual, as in not real.  No album art, no liner notes, just a stream of data.  I overcame this hangup enough to sign up for iTunes, but I still prefer to have my classical music (as opposed to pop songs) in CD format.

And so, in spite of my love of music, I have resisted owning one of these devil’s playthings.

Until now.

I have a co-worker name Bill, although everyone knows him as “Bunny”.  I won’t go into why, let’s just say I have never seen a nickname stick to someone like this one has.  But Satan, Prince of Temptation would have been a better name.  Bunny is a gadget guy, and like all gadget guys, he simply can’t be happy with just one iPod Classic.  Oh, no, he has to have the iPod Nano, and the iPod Shuffle, and the iPod WipeYourAssForYou.  He’s like a human magpie.  If it’s shiny, he has to have it.

He was genuinely dumbfounded to learn I didn’t own one.  “Steve, iPods are great.  I can’t believe someone who loves music as much as you do doesn’t have one”.  So I proceeded to tell him of my immovable philosophical opposition the iPod and my deeply felt revulsion at the very idea of owning one.  I told him I would never own one, on principle.  Never.

“You can have my Classic for $50”.


And so, I did it.  I have allowed myself to be seduced.  I comforted myself a little by reminding myself that it was, at least, an iPod “Classic”.  I suppose if one is going to play Brahms and Tallis on an iPod, the “Classic” is only appropriate.  But learning to live with myself was only the second most difficult part of the ordeal.  The most difficult was figuring out how to turn the fucking thing on.  I stared at my new toy when I got it home.  And stared.  And stared.  It is beautiful, in it’s own way, a smooth, shiny obelisk. I begin to suspect that I may be in over my head when I discover, to my dismay, that there is no “on” switch.  Just a circular control panel.  With a button in the middle.


I push the button.  The shiny silver surface comes alive, showing a perfect little color screen.  Amazing.

Now what do I do?

I remember seeing someone stroke the screen, so I try that.  Nothing happens.  Oh, wait, that was the I-PHONE.  Shit.

Now what?

I eventually figure out that pushing the arrows and buttons brings one to the menu, but then what?  I notice how the cursor moves when I stroke the control panel.  Ah, so you DO like to be stroked, after all.  Now I get it.  But why does the cursor move in the opposite direction of my finger?  Strange, Apple seems to have screwed that one up.

It finally occurs to me that you’re supposed to stroke it in a circular manner (I’ll leave the obvious joke alone).  Now we’re getting somewhere.  I plug it into my computer, and my iTunes program comes to life.  At least here I’m on familiar ground.  The two machines sync with each other, and I’m ready to go.

I plug in my headphones.  They’re a pair of Koss cans.  Yes, I wear cans.  Even on the airplane.  Especially on the airplane.  I don’t like buds.  Only a full size can can cancel out the sound of the little bastard wailing in the seat behind me, beside providing full surround sound.  I wear cans.

But I digress.

I plug in the headphones.  I play a song.  I am amazed.

Now you have to bear in mind that I have only heard a lot of the songs on my iTunes through the tinny speakers that the computer came with.  I’ve been meaning to get better speakers, but blogging isn’t the only thing I’m a slacker about.  But now, with the sound being pumped into my head through a decent set of headphones, the experience borders on an epiphany.  I spent most of today with the silly thing in my back pocket and the cans glued to my ears.

My downfall is complete.  I am now a confirmed iPod whore.

But I will never wear it in a thunderstorm.


20 Responses to “I’ve sold out….”

  1. February 16, 2009 at 8:41 am

    Man, you didn’t even put up much of a fight when offered one for $50, LOL. Although, I don’t think I would’ve either. Welcome to the dark side, my friend. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying two eras at the same time. Happy listening.

  2. February 16, 2009 at 11:41 am

    I KNEW you’d be eating your words one of these days. I didn’t think it would be this soon, though. I’m with you about the cans. But I can’t bring myself to pay $1 for every song I want. That adds up quick. If you know of some way to get stuff for less, let me know.

    This post was great. You should write more. more, please.

  3. February 16, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    Welcome to the Twenty-First Century.

  4. February 16, 2009 at 11:24 pm

    Ha, I KNEW you’d come around!!!!! (Counting the days until you proclaim yourself to be liberal! 🙂 ).
    Glad Mr. Murphy and Bill (he didn’t give me his other name) managed to smack some sense into you (must be the fact that they are right there). Although I don’t own an Ipod (not because I’m lost in the last century but because I have this thing for having stuff that everybody else has), I do very much enjoy my MP3 collection, that not only holds music but poetry readings and countless talks on subjects as varied as one could think.

    Guess I can e-mail you the good ones know…….

  5. February 16, 2009 at 11:26 pm

    PS. Of course that last word should have been ‘now’ (a nasty bi-product of listening to MP3s instead of reading 😉 ).

  6. February 17, 2009 at 6:41 am

    You’re such a slut!!
    Must be why we get on so well hey???

  7. February 17, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    An Ipod filled with Tallis just scares the living bejesus out of me.
    Hey, you like what you like, right?
    I’m almost having castratto nightmares here.
    And no, I only have several James Taylor tunes on my Nano.
    And yes, yours is bigger than mine.
    I’m leaving that one alone you sick bastard.
    Enjoy the technology, Smith!

  8. 8 Red
    February 18, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    hehee .. i felt the same way when i got mine.
    welcome to the club.

  9. 9 Sam
    February 18, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    You dirty little whore. I’m not sure I can ever visit here again.

    I jest, of course. I’m still holding out (in fact I blogged about it today) but my kind is becoming extinct. I’m sure one day, I too, will get a sweet offer I can’t refuse and then the end will be upon us.

    Flying Burrito Brothers, ey? Just to rub it in a little, I think I’ll pull out their vinyls when I get home and spin a few. Stick that in your Ipod and smoke it. 😀

  10. February 21, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    LOVE IT!!! Now I know you’re human… I had my doubts of course… hehehe

  11. 11 Andy
    February 22, 2009 at 10:47 am

    Nancy and I are laughing our asses off, what an upbeat and confessional blog. Welcome to the world of unnecessary junk. I’m in the same boat and have even succumbed to an iPod Touch. It saved me on a recent trip out west, being able to listen to some good music, play some childish games, and even read a downloaded book during a flight. And yes, you can’t beat cans for blocking out unwanted interference. LOL

  12. February 25, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    I’m fairly proud of myself. I bought one of the Shuffles a few years ago at a discount price, and I’ve never had the need or desire to own a newer model. I don’t even download much music…I borrow CDs from friends and rip the songs to my hard drive. 😛

  13. February 26, 2009 at 12:44 am

    You are so silly. Welcome to life with a soundtrack. Silly Smith.

  14. February 26, 2009 at 1:05 am

    May it give you many years of beautiful music! I love mine too (and I didn’t WANT to)! 🙂

  15. 15 sv
    February 27, 2009 at 3:00 am

    Smith can you please send your email address to me at keysgrl2atgmaildotcom (didn’t want to leave an email link on your comments) -SV

  16. March 3, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    God damn you, Smith!
    Lose the Ipod and write something you $&% ^ $^#%!@$*!
    Jesus Krispies, I’ve created a monster . . .

  17. 17 Red
    March 6, 2009 at 12:54 am

    ya know, smith . . some people are able to blog AND listen to their ipod at the same time. perhaps you should try it. 🙂

  18. March 6, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    Red, he’s a guy – they can’t multitask remember……. 😉

  19. March 6, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    Red, some men struggle to do just 1 thing at a time let alone 2, so that comment made me giggle!!

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