My music collection is much too big. I have listened to most of it, but statistics argues against the possibility of me ever, realistically, listening to it all again. There is just no way. This is why I love my iPod, which travels with me in the car as a radio substitute, always on and hiding in the glovebox, reminding me of the many treasured musical moments I have had, playing out my musical legacy randomly, constantly surprising me with its choices.
It seems that my beloved iPod was as happy as I to be travelling out of town for several days last month. How do I know this? The little hard drive was somehow telepathically linked to me and was aware of my various activities, and chose to express itself through its musical selections. Here are a few illustrative cases:
– I attended a typically stunning classical recital by Gil & Orli Shaham at Spivey Hall in Morrow, Georgia. Getting back in my auto, feeling elated after the concert, I turned on the car stereo and wild, thunderous applause came roaring out of the speakers. When it finally died down, a woman on the stage – the object of the adulation – proclaimed
I know…I’ll sing ‘em all, and we’ll stay all night! I don’t ever want to go home!!
Then Judy Garland launched into “Over the Rainbow.” It was the closing moments of the Judy at Carnegie Hall CD, a record that I haven’t even heard all the way through.
– Two days later, driving around in South Carolina, a live version of Nick Lowe’s “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding” came on. That’s such a great song, and the version that played was the acoustic rendition from the Untouched Takeaway album.
I was sharply focused on the song: it reminded me of the September 2007 solo acoustic show Lowe did at the Somerville Theatre that I was fortunate to have seen. Song over. Next song was a Robyn Hitchcock song called “Clean Steve.” At 1:40, Robyn sang the following lyric:
Clean Steve lent me a pound in 1974
That was a lot of money then, I was extremely poor
We had a party three years later
Clean Steve wore a robe
He brought a new Nick Lowe cassette and played it in the road
Damn! I thought. It’s programming songs as a running commentary on my life!
– Trip over, I drove away early in the morning, headed home to Birmingham. As I turned right onto the ramp leading to I-26, “On The Road Again” by Willie Nelson started up. I swear I am not making this up. If the iPod had eyes, it would have winked at me when I whipped my head around toward it in astonishment.
Just three, maybe four, more reasons to embrace the machine.