I have a collection of books from the 1001 Series – 1001 films /albums/ songs that you must see/ hear before you die.
A little game I sometimes play (when you live alone, you have a lot of time to invent games for yourself) is to pick up one of these books, fan the pages through my fingertips, until something inside tells me to stop. I must then consume whatever song/ album/ film I land on, regardless of whether I know it or not, or it appeals to me.
As part of this 100 Days Series, I might play this game from time to time and write about what I uncover. So if you do see a ‘1001’ post – this is the background to it.
Without sounding too decrepit, isn’t the digital age a bloody marvel? A teenage-music-geek at heart, always hungry to explore more, I am taken aback every single day that with streaming services, the entire back-catalogue of every artist, ever, is no more than ten seconds away. I listen to international radio shows. Analytical podcasts educate me. And any interview or article, ever published, is a Google away.
There’s no way I could have ever, so flippantly, played this game in the past without great time, travel and expense. I believe that the i-Pod is the greatest piece of (non-essential) technology ever invented. I’ll never forget the day I got my first one. I think I cried at the world it was about to open up for me.
As a teen I’d go into Echo records, after my weekend shift at a nearby cafe and nervously approach the counter (the Echo guys were so cool). I’d ask them to look up a particular Japanese edition of an Oasis single for me, because I’d heard that it had a B-Side track that wasn’t on the NZ or UK version. They’d tap tap tap away at the old computer for five minutes, furrowed brows, sharply inhaling, then eventually tell me that they can get it for me on import. They can’t promise. But they’ll do their best. It’ll cost $43 and take 8-12 weeks. I’d fill my contact details out on a lined index card. Pay my 20% deposit. Then wait. More often than not, it never showed up and I’d have to get a refund, which I’d promptly spend on a second-hand copy of some Cure album, or whatever staff member I had a crush on at the time, had on his recommended wall.
That’s how you listened to rare songs back then.
What a wonderful, amazing, brilliant time we live in. I have the convenience and endless possibility of a Spotify account, as well as the luxury and hobby that’s a curated vinyl collection. If only fifteen year old me, obsessively pouring over her dog-eared copy of Q, marking, ticking, and circling their ‘100 Albums of All Time’ list with a felt tip pen, anxious that’s she’d never get to own all 100, knew what was to come.