A couple of weeks ago, within days of each other, two of my iPods breathed their last. The 160 GB Classic (circa 2009) gave up the ghost first. It simply lost all of the 120 GB or so of music that it had on it. And then, my all-time favourite, the eight-year-old 40 GB went kaput. On both of these I’d stashed away loads of songs, many of which were un-backed up; there were carefully (at least that’s what I think!) curated playlists: clustered according to genres, live recordings, year of recording, favourites, and so on. And then poof! All gone. Read more

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Last week, I finished reading Walter Isaacson’s riveting biography of Steve Jobs. As most of you know, it is a fat book with more than 650 pages, which for a newspaper hack like me, is a lot of pages to read. But Isaacson’s book is magnificent. He got unfettered access to his subject and his book is refreshingly not hagiographical. You get to know Jobs, warts and all, but you also get to see what a genius that man was and the profound manner in which he has changed the way we live and do so many things.

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By the time you read this, many of you would have had not only heard (some of you, several times) Radiohead’s new album, The King of Limbs, but also been barraged by myriad reviews of that splendid piece of work. But I am writing this on what will be called ‘last Sunday’ by the time you read this (yes, magazines have strange deadlines). That means I have had a just a bit over 24 hours to listen to the album and have been so overwhelmed by it that it is difficult to for me to describe it coherently. Read more

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I think it was some time in 2002 that a tech-forward friend dropped by to show off his newly-acquired toy, an iPod. It was a first-generation model with a capacity of 10 gigabytes. That meant, he bragged to me, that he could carry in his pocket 2000 songs and listen to them via a pair of white ear-buds anywhere he wanted to. “Just listen to the sound,” he gloated, “it’s like carrying an entire library of music with you.” I was skeptical (and, I must admit, a bit of Luddite too) when I popped the ear-buds in and heard his classic rock selections. I think it was Cream’s SWLABR (which deliciously expands into She Was Like A Bearded Rainbow, circa 1967) that got piped in first and I complained about how the bass was muted; the treble was tinny and so on. “Go away and take that stupid iPod with you,” I sneered. Read more

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Sometimes when the party is over, everyone has left, the empty glasses still stand about and I’m sleepy yet want to listen to one more album, it is Slanted & Enchanted that almost invariably comes out. Instead of on the audio system, increasingly these days, in deference to the others that I live with, it is cranked up on the iPod. I find Pavement’s first (and may I say, classic) album’s fractured music, esoteric lyrics and the entire low-fidelity quality of sound a perfect way to top off a night of excesses.
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