Subject 1 - stuff.
I have a lot of stuff. I went to my parents' house this weekend (and now that I *nearly* own my own house, I will have to stop referring to it as "my house", which I still think of it as, even though I haven't lived there in any permanent sense for nine years) and started to sort my stuff out. I genuinely didn't realise how much stuff there is. I bought three big "moving" boxes, and filled them within about an hour. I also have an issue with how to categorise and prioritise stuff. I started with what I thought would be easy, my books by, about or relating to The Beatles. I split them into three types - books I want to take to my new flat, books I don't want to take but I don't want to get rid of and books that can go out. I started to ruminate on this, because I am a hoarder and there are books there that contain no information not contained in other books and which I will probably never look near, but I don't want to just throw them out, it implies that they are worthless and they are not. So I have resolved I will sell them on eBay, and hopefully make a nice wedge. Hopefully. However, in order to do that I will need to secure the agreement of the parents to leave them boxed in their home for some time.
Anyway, I filled the box of Beatles, and it is too heavy to lift, so it will have to be decanted at a later date (when I have more boxes).
Next I moved on to videos, mainly of Doctor Who (old skool Who that is!) but also old telly ("three words, more. old. telly.") and, inevitably, The Beatles etc. That's another box full, and a little file box too.
Next was Douglas Adams and Monty Python - a little box, some charity shop bound (ulp!), and part of a big box.
This was followed by old music magazines, filled with interesting articles! you never know what bands you might get into!! and I even have nostalgia for certain issues - read that backstage at Romeo and Juliet!, made up a compilation tape from the list of great Queen tracks in that one!, I think that was the best article on Pink Floyd I've ever read and it was in the kitchen when I came back from watching England v. Scotland at Wembley in 1999. Some of these filled the bigger box, and others have been set aside as "more research is needed" before they can be definitively thrown away.
So I now have a half cleared bookshelf, and a half-cleared cupboard. Only the books on top of the cupboard and the big bookshelf to go. Wish me luck.
Subject 2 - the lost art of the compilation tape
I dropped the heavy black bag onto the patio, there were 100 sickening crunches as 100 cassettes - marginalised by the compact disc, rendered obsolete by the iPod - gave in to the pressure of their brethern bearing down upon them. In a sort of music format peace process the pre-recorded, cassingles, C60s, C90s and even a couple of C100s and C120s were put "beyond use".
As part of the great purge of my past the cassettes had to go. Simple nostalgia for old friends is not a good enough reason to hold onto things in the current climate. (As TOM said "....but what's it FOR!!!") I did keep a few : unique, unavailable in other formats, or at least not owned by me. But everything else had to go. Including a fair number of compilations. While going through this painful process that the compilation tape must have held sway for at least 25 years, possibly as many as 35. The satisfaction of a good compilation tape, one that ends mere seconds before the tape itself, is one that the current formats cannot hold a candle to. The CD-R compilation does not have the same thrill of gambling with time; as close to 90 minutes as possible, and not one second over. The CD-R software won't let you start if you can't finish. The MP3 compilation doesn't demand the same self-control, as there is no time limit, hence a 90 minute "best of" Rod Stewart expands to a behemothic 4 and a half hour playlist. Honestly, when am I ever going to listen to 4 and a half hours of Rod Stewart to appreciate the progression of a musical journey? I threw away three compilations of which I was immensely fond, two "soundtracking" comps, one for vocal songs from films (I believe there was a caveat that the songs had to be written and recorded especially for the film, or at least turn up there first) and one for instrumentals (all hail the City Of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra! and John Barry's theme to Midnight Cowboy) and the pre-club compilation, compiled in 2000 and was more usually the post-club, must-hear-some-good-music compilation. I actually played this on Saturday afternoon, and the sequence of Say You'll Be There-Happy-Young Americans-The Seeker is uplifiting in too many ways to detail.
As well as these multi-artist compilations, there were excellent single-artist compilations too, from the cleverly titled ("These Stories I've Known - The Best of Kenny Rogers", "The Beach Boys - Love And Mercy, Heroes And Villains", "Fleetwood Mac - Singles Bar") to the matter of fact ("The Sting Cassette", "Rolling Stones Compilation", "Elvis").
And, of course, there were the bittersweet, High Fidelity style memories of compilation tapes made for others where the songs themselves, or the subtle ordering of the tracks were the message...
All of which is to say, so farewell then, the Compilation tape.
Subject 3 - How memories attach themselves
Today was a "very 2000/2001" day I thought. I meant the weather and temperature etc. reminded me of days at that time. But how does that work? There must have been days with rain in the air before then, and after, so why is it a 2000/2001 day?
Oh, the sweet mysteries of life...