round at my friend’s house checking out her cd collection asking her what I can
borrow. I tell her that when my
bloke moved out he took all the cds with him. “Bastard” she says.
Yeah, but they were all his I say.
“Still…. Bastard” she says.
Yeah! I’m thinking… I’ve got no music.
I met a
nice muso at the ICA recently who was mildly outraged to learn I only had three
albums on my ipod. “You work on a
magazine called Art & Music and you have three albums on your ipod?” What’s wrong with that? He looked at me
like I should know. Weirdly, that night I lost my ipod. Then someone gave me
their old Nano which had zillions of albums on it. I had a great instant
playlist and started listening to it all the time.
that I need to populate my itunes. I tried the downloading thing but didn’t
know where to start. My best bet
is the local library down on St John’s Street. I get a secure feeling at this place. It must be something
to do with municipal familiarity or childhood, or maybe it’s because there’s
always someone a bit ‘wrong’ speaking really loudly who everyone ignores or
pretends to be ignoring. He’s just been talking to them too, so it would then
seem rude to tell him to “shhhhh”. These
slightly ‘loony’ characters reassuringly make you realise that you are not
actually insane after all. As much as you’d like to talk really loudly to
strangers in the library you’re not and he is. Great.
library is like HMV, there are more CDs and DVDs than books. All through December
you can borrow ten CDs at any time for free and that entitles you to a free DVD
rental. I’m just repeating what the loud talking guy said but, hey, you’ve got
to love Islington Council.
borrowing music is a completely different experience to buying it you can take
a gamble on anything like where you get an album just because you like one
track. The first time is a bit daunting, so I ask someone to choose for me. He
came back with some album by Joni Mitchell, Ry Cooder’s soundtrack to Paris
something by the Fall. I didn’t really like those, so I revert to do-it-
yourself. I get The Kills No Wow, even though I borrowed this from a different library
about a year ago, but that was before I saw them live and fell in love with
Alison Moshart strutting around on stage at Koko. Before the album sounded
stylish and slick, now it just sounds sexy. I also can’t stop listening to the
Arctic Monkeys’ Favourite Worst Nightmare. It’s exciting, young, talky, shouty, a bit 80’s
and I love the internal rhyming… and it somehow explains a few of the
unfathomable mysteries about the male world. Like why do men take your number and then don’t call you?
Obviously, the album doesn’t actually answer this particular question, but it
does make you not care. I also
got Athlete’s Tourist which is melancholic and indulgent but I like that too. I know in
the ‘serious’ indie world they’re not ‘cool’, but I still like it. In fact, for
some reason borrowing stuff from the library evens out the cool with the
un-cool, perhaps because the whole context of the place is so non-brand that
everything exists on the same level. So, I give equal allegiance to Neil
Young’s albums - all of them (even the Crosby Stills Nash and Young ones),
Badly Drawn Boy, Elvis Costello and best of all, everything I would probably
have bought when it came out but didn’t because I knew I’d be ridiculed when I
got it home. So I’m shoving all
this stuff on itunes and I have my own playlist and I’m taking a small step for
I’m at the counter stamping out my CDs, the librarian enthusiastically tells me
I can have these over Christmas and that, “You can listen to stuff you might
not buy but would quite like to hear.” When I then mention “putting them on my
itunes”, things get a bit messy - something about that being “illegal”. He’s
definitely a member of the un-cool brigade. The whole process is a bit like an
adult education class; Learn Yourself Music it’s like being in the cd
equivalent of a book club but you’re the only one in the club. What have I learnt? That if I’d gone with my gut and bought
by Starsailor I’d be a less oppressed person now? That men who are into music
are fascists? That men don’t know more about music than women? That the cd
collection represents the power in a relationship? Fuck that shit, that’s not
it. All I’ve really learnt is I
like hanging out in the library…and my ipod.
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