Friday, January 16, 2009


Iain Dale (that's a Home Service gripe), in a passing Twitter, informs the world he is digitalising his vinyl. Bless him.

On Wednesday evening, a major disaster hit Redfellow hovel. A misplaced foot. A stumble. A drop, the Big Bastard, the terabyte drive, went down, literally, metaphorically, technically, and terminally.

So Malcolm is back where Desperate Housewife Dale is: rebuilding a digital musical library.

γνῶθι σεαυτόν

Oh, how Malcolm loves these excursions. That means "Know Yourself". According to Pausanias, it was the inscription above the temple of Apollo at Delphi.

You see, all that has survived, out of Malcolm's half-terabyte of digitalised music, is on his three iPods, perhaps 30 or 50 gigs. In other words, this is the portable stuff, the VS001 LHR-EWR seven hours of dozing, the 45 minutes of survive-the-Northern-Line, the can't-sleep-lullabies, the music-to-blog-by.

Out of that comes a process of self-diagnosis. And Old Malc finds it instructive.

For example, except for Live Licks and early stuff, much of the Stones archive has gone. Along with the lesser stuff by the Boss. So have the Ellington and Basie collections. All the Beatles and the 60s crooners (so no great loss there). A stack of R&B. Mozart and Bach. Swathes of dixie and traditional Jazz. Almost all of Charlie Parker. Great chunks of swing. Bel canto. Folk.

No sweat. With time and effort, that can be reconstructed, if necessary. It just means pulling out boxes, extracting CDs and re-loading ... or whatever. Time is the great healer.

That's not the point here. What has survived? What was in daily use?

And that's where the psychology of Luke 4:23, "Physician, heal thyself", hits home.

Malcolm is forced to confront what has been his recent day-to-day diet of aural stimulus and satisfaction. It is quite frightening, and quite revealing.

The entire history of Willie Nelson. Carpenters and ABBA, for heaven's sake. Miles Davis. Neil Young and most other manifestations of CSNY. Asleep at the Wheel. Pretty well the whole oeuvre of the Kingston Trio and the Limeliters. Manhattan Transfer and the Swingles. The best bits of Artie Shaw and Goodman. Beach Boys (cue visual recollection of Andy Lippincott's elegiac death in Doonesbury).

A replacement drive is on order. The cycle will repeat itself.

And the moral of this story is:
Back up your back-up.
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yourcousin said...

I'm very sorry to hear of your loss.

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Sorry for offtopic

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