A few years ago, I can’t say exactly when, I stopped listening to music. Now I hear a song or two sometimes while driving, sometimes when I take the Metro. But it’s not really listening, like it used to be.
I don’t think my memory exaggerates when it recalls entire nights spent listening to the same album. Not reading, not watching, not liking; just listening. Spending a fortune on music players and headphones and amplifiers when I didn’t have money for an auto ride home. Even this blog’s ancestors, as some particularly persistent readers might recall, were influenced by this. Posts used to begin (rather embarrassingly, in retrospect) with songs, and most titles used to be vague, mysterious-sounding “adaptations” of lyrics.
Oh well, maybe that bit hasn’t changed much.
A couple of (undeserved) friends recently gifted me a record player. My first record is ‘Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out!’ Just taking it out of the sleeve and feeling its weight and running a finger across its grooves (not recommended, I have since learnt) is quite something. It’s the same thing that makes me scoff at Kindles and iPads. One in hand is infinitely more inspiring than 40,000 in the goddamn cloud.
And yes, the sound makes mp3s sound like midis.
I don’t know if this will last, or if it’ll end up in the cupboard with the guitars and the drawing pads. Maybe those days of burning impatience, of promises to keep, are not coming back. But I’m going to start listening again. If nothing else, it could remind me of some things I ought to remember.
Like the lyrics to Me and Bobby McGee.