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Review of the half year

It’s July. A few days in actually, and I meant to say these two things back on the 1st of this month:

• Where did the year go?
• I need to bitch about my music. Like this:

So we all know that I’m quite obsessive about my music, my iTunes collection and how I divide up the 4,000 or so choons that I have in my library.

In fact, since 2003 when I first installed and ran up iTunes, I created a playlist called “My … ” and the name of the year, and put into it my favourite tune of the moment – and so by the end of the year, I had a comprehensive list of ‘my faves’ from the last 12 months and the songs that had shaped my year and would remember forever.

I did this again for 2004, 2005, 2006 .. and again am halfway through this year adding in favourite songs as I go. (Latest addition: Klaxon’s – It’s not over)

But at somepoint a while back, I found myself asking – “How did I used to do this before iTunes?”.

And the answer was rather easy. Back in 1986 the first year I started buying 7″ singles, I would make compilations onto cassette tape. The trusty magnetic format stayed a loyal companion for over ten years until 1998 (which seems incredible now) when I bought my first CD burner (2 speed write!) – and I could make compilation CD’s instead. I had a brief flirtation with MiniDisc in 2000 and 2001, before going all MP3 (and then AAC) when Apple took over my digital music world.

And this made me think … what songs would have made my “My 1986…” and “My 1987…” playlists on my iPod, if we’d have had digital music back then.

So a while back I took it upon myself to go back and with a LOT of help from the superb – remembered what my favourite songs were from all those years ago and create a playlist for them, and I’ve just gotten around to being as near as complete as I reckon I can be.

And so that’s what I’ve got now … Twenty playlists called “My 1986” though to “My 2007” (this years one that I am still currently adding to), with all my favourite hit singles from that year.

I revel in hearing The Blow Monkeys “Digging your scene” from ’86. I’m totally embarrassed to remember that I quite liked “Bring me edelweiss” from ’89. I loved the fact that I rediscovered Crash Test Dummies “Mmm Mmm Mmm” from ’94, and feel vindicated (with news of their revival tour) to find that I’ve got “Viva forever” in my list from ’99.

But none of this is what this post is about. What this is REALLY about is the totally geeky stat-fest that I was then able to procure out of this. As it’s now (to me) a snap shot of how ‘into’ music I was in a particular year, just my counting the number of favourites that I had in a particular period of twelve months.

So here’s a simple graph I’ve generated. It’s a count of the total number of songs that I marked as my favourites in a year.

Music Graph

And what does it show? that in 1990 & 1991 – when I was eighteen and becoming a geek at the university radio station I was into music more than ever. That between 1995 and 1999 I had a ‘dip’ and wasn’t really buying much music at all. Then the iPod and iTunes came along, and when the UK store opened in 2005 it was “Buy! buy! buy!” in music city all the way and in 2006 I had the highest total count that I’ve had in the last twenty years.

Through to now … 2007 at exactly half way through the year (well, give or take a couple of days), when I see that my total is at 21. Meaning that by the end of the year you could argue it’ll be at 42. Which is a low score again. Why is it low? Does being in America make me less aware of ‘popular’ music that I would have liked back in the UK? Did I become involved so much in my wedding and planning earlier in the year that I just spent less time listening to the radio and being aware of new music? Is any of this actually important? Does all this justifying such a in-depth blog post anyway? So many questions …

iPhoneBTW1: iPhone. Yes they’re available here to buy in the USA. No I haven’t actually seen one yet. Yes, there’s a lot of hype and they do cool things, but they also have a lot of shortcomings too. No, I have no plans to get one – I’m still waiting for the 6th generation iPod proper. Oh, and this is hilarious if you haven’t seen it already.

sickoBTW2: Sicko. It’s ace. Go and see it. I repeat – Go and see it. The audience in the cinema [movie theatre] that we were in Friday night cheered & clapped when Tony Benn (yes, that Tony Benn) came out with the line “Why is is we can find money to go to war and kill people, but not when it comes to healing people”.

13 responses to “Review of the half year”

  1. Viplette says:

    Garrick is leaving us to work for Apple as the Lead iphone engineer responsible for the technical side of the European roll-out..
    As you can image, suddenly he has a lot of new friends!

  2. Is there not a danger that your historic “My” playlists will have become altered by time and hindsight, by adding songs that you didn’t like then but have grown to like since, and likewise songs you’ve gone off? Why not just get the magnetic source material?

  3. Tina says:

    iPhone video, wonderful, thanks Geoff for lightening up my ever stressful day (moving home at the moment).

  4. leigh says:

    I think it’s because you have less time on your hands these days. Last year, you had loads of time to listen to music and catergorize it. Isn’t that when you created your 80’s playlists? Also, perhaps you bought songs (as opposed to other stuff) because they gave you maximum pleasure for very little money.

  5. Richard says:

    As it’s a lot easier to buy a song you like on iTunes rather than get a physical recording, I reckon you went on a binge for the last two years and are now approaching the Mr Creosote stage where you can’t be bothered to listen to new music anymore.

    I reached this point two or three years ago, and have realised that it’s part of the process of turning into my dad.

  6. leigh says:

    Just to hark back to an old posting where I argued you could get a sun tan lying next to a window and Geoff disputed it… Are Brits more freckly on their right sides? (read below)


    Myth No. 3: Sun can’t penetrate through windows.

    Reality: Glass filters out only one kind of radiation — UVB rays. But UVA rays, which penetrate deeper, can still get through. That’s why many adults have more freckles on their left side than their right — it’s from UV exposure on that side through the car window when driving.

  7. Mikey says:

    That sounds great, I could load in my old playlists…oh wait, I can’t, cos Media Player sucks ass and lost them all.

  8. Joshua Curry says:

    I can look back on my tape box and tell which ones held heavy rotation by the dirt, fingerprints, and peeling labels. It’s not very scientific, but totally revealing. My prize is a Minor Threat, Killing Joke, Black Flag, Clash mixtape that was a constant companion in the old Honda Civic Wagon. U2’s War was second. But the real soldier is Van Halen 1984, which my grandmother bought me at a Military PX in Virginia. It took a good half hour of cajoling because of the baby smoking.

  9. CV says:

    Radio Jackie (the sound of south-west london) played Strawberry Switchblade the other day as I was driving to work and I had a ‘PH moment’ (those that know the man will know what I mean) when I temporarily applied a lot of the concentration I was using to avoid crashing to turning up the volume on the car radio, and swerved alarmingly into the path of oncoming traffic. Proves I’ve not completely turned into my dad yet! (I hope?)

  10. Brent says:

    I would go to say that it’s not so much that you’re in America that you’re down on the music scene, but more the location in America that causes this. Charleston isn’t exactly a hotbed of the music scene. Even Charlotte or Atlanta aren’t that high (unless you want the young rap/r&b scene then the ATL is good for something). You need more culturally rich environments for such things…NYC, LA, Seattle, even the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (Cleveland) is pretty hip 2 B square….Good ol’ SC has not much more than a few country links (Julie Roberts…yum!) and Hootie 🙂

  11. Ben says:

    Sicko hasn’t got a distributor in the UK yet, but as soon as it does….

  12. geofftech says:

    Sicko not out in the UK yet? I did not realise! heh. makes me realise that i have to go and see his previous two though.

    So. I’m turning into my dad then? Great.

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