Archive: Music

Senna film poster

If you follow Formula 1 online, it has been absolutely impossible to avoid the hype. Films about Formula 1 do not get made often. It is highly unusual for so much footage to have been prised out of Bernie Ecclestone. When you factor in that the film is about Ayrton Senna, a driver who has reached an almost legendary status, it was inevitable that this film would attract a lot of attention.

Moreover, the film has been met with near (although not quite) universal approval. Seasoned film critics and those with no interest in motorsport have lapped it up enthusiastically.

So it has been a painful wait. I was delighted to learn that it was being shown at my local cinema, so I took the first opportunity to watch it.

I found the film truly engrossing and hugely emotional. The story of Senna’s career — or at least one version of it — is very well told. Some of the footage, particularly of drivers’ briefings and the like, is absolutely astonishing.

Alain Prost

The film’s treatment of Alain Prost has come under a lot of scrutiny. It is said that Prost is cast as the villain of the film. I was relieved that his treatment was not as bad as I had feared.

I actually felt that Prost comes across quite well in the film — though this may be for ideological reasons, and that I already understand the Prost–Senna rivalry. It is easy to see why, in a film that celebrates Senna’s approach, others may feel that Prost’s alternative approach to racing does not come across so well.

In fairness to the filmmakers, I think it does illustrate that the frosty tensions between Senna and Prost had thawed in the final months of Senna’s life. We see Senna embracing Prost on the podium at the 1993 Australian Grand Prix, Prost’s reaction to Senna’s fatal crash from the TF1 commentary box and Prost as a pallbearer at Senna’s funeral. A caption at the film’s climax also displays the fact that Prost is a trustee of the Ayrton Senna Foundation.

Important details skipped

However, I do feel that the film does not get across just how controversial Ayrton Senna was. The only time it is really tackled is in a relatively brief clip of Jackie Stewart’s famous interrogation of Senna’s dangerous driving.

I was also disappointed in how little of Senna’s career is actually covered. The film skips straight from karting into F1, then practically fast-forwards to the Prost–Senna rivalry, which is clearly the meat of the film. Thereafter, the 1992 and 1993 seasons get the briefest look in. In the process, the championship victories of Nigel Mansell and Alain Prost are belittled, particularly through the skilful vilification of the Williams car.

After the film had finished, I felt like only a handful of incidents had been covered. I was left feeling that only a superficial account of Senna’s career had been presented.

I can fully understand why this is so. There is a limit to what Bernie Ecclestone will allow. So the filmmakers are left with the quandry of how to sum up an amazing driver’s entire career in the time it takes to complete just one grand prix.

Authentically inauthentic

I also found myself being annoyed by tiny details that I felt detracted from the authenticity of the film. For instance, almost all of the source footage must have been shot in 4:3, but the film is in a different aspect ratio, meaning that all of the footage is cropped. When much of the footage is blurry enough as it is, this doesn’t help.

A significant proportion of the film also contains a blurred-out Globo DOG, with a new one superimposed on top of it (presumably to meet the requirements of the Brazilian broadcaster). Then there are the mock TV captions that crop up throughout the film.

These are small details, but I found them irritating me. To me, they detract from the cinematic mood.

When I read about the edits that have been made to some of the footage, particularly the sound, my eyebrows were raised. “They managed to change it, so it’s very authentic,” says Manish Pandey. It reminds me of a line from the Pulp song Bad Cover Version: “Electronically reprocessed to give a more lifelike effect.”

Intense and emotional

Having said that, the film is no less gripping as a result of all these niggles. I felt the grin across my face as I watched Senna’s awesome driving in the Toleman and the Lotus. The events of the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix weekend are well-handled and emotional to watch.

However, here it does once again feel that certain events are rushed through. Rubens Barrichello and Roland Ratzenberger are both only briefly introduced before their crashes are shown. Not much time is reserved to dwell upon these events, even though Ratzenberger’s death was, for me, the most emotional part of the film to watch.

Summing up Senna

All-in-all, Senna is a brilliant, emotional film packed with extraorindary footage and with a well-constructed story. But the time constraint, and (let’s face it) the requirement to make a film that would be commercially successful, did leave me feeling as though only the tip of the iceberg was considered.

In fact, for me, the Top Gear feature from last year summed up exactly what Senna was all about in only 13 minutes. It outlines exactly what made Senna so different to other drivers, and was not afraid to investigate his controversial racing style while also underlining his parodoxical concern for safety.

The Senna film sets out to do something different. So in this respect I was slightly disappointed in the fact that the film is a celebration of Senna’s career, and not a thorough factual account of it. However, as a celebration of Senna’s career, it is difficult to imagine how this film could be improved, beyond being longer. I am eagerly anticipating the DVD release.

This week, I have decided to make another attempt at reading more books. I read stuff all the time, but almost all of it is on the web. A few hundred words at a time. Lots of breadth but not much depth.

I have never done much in the way of reading books. Fiction is not for me, so novels are more-or-less out of the question. However, I do enjoy reading non-fiction books. But I somehow never get the time to read them.

Time is the scarcest resource imaginable, and I have a tendency to build these backlogs. Not too long ago I wrote about the huge number of podcasts that are stuck in my backlog (I am just about getting that under control). I also have a small pile of CDs that I bought several months ago and still haven’t listened to, and a slightly smaller pile of DVDs from before Christmas that I still haven’t watched.

The unread books shelf But books are the big daddy of my backlog. I have special shelf just for unread books! Currently, 15 books sit there. Some of them I must have got almost a decade ago.

I think they are perhaps the wrong books. How tempted am I to ever reopen the ten-year-old book about US radio stations that I started but didn’t finish? How about the two political books that I started but never finished? Or the two books about economics that I started but got bored of?

In the summer of 2006, between my second and third years at university, I went on a big drive to read economics books. I had begun to realise that I was struggling at economics, and decided to spend the summer reading less academic, more accessible economics book in an attempt to soak up some of the subject and hopefully become a better economist in third year.

I happened to read a blog post by Greg Mankiw called Summer reading list, which seemed to fit the bill perfectly. After a bit of research, I selected five books from the list and ordered them. Sadly, it took me a year to read one of them. I finished another of them last year. I started one of them this year but gave up, and two others sit on the shelf virtually unopened. (I finished Freakonomics very quickly, but I think I bought that afterwards.)

My lack of talent in economics became clearer in third year, when I performed abysmally. My motivation plummeted. I later bought the Penguin History of Economics, which was on the reading list for the History of Economic Thought course that I took. This, also, has been started but not finished.

For a while, my main plan was to get through these economics books, and the other books in my backlog, before buying any others. But having not done any reading for several months, I had to recognise that this wasn’t a good plan.

Before I completed my degree, I had already more-or-less made the decision not to pursue economics further. I was lucky enough to somehow get a 2:1, but mostly due to the politics courses and my dissertation. It was clear to me that I just wasn’t cut out for economics, even though I planned to maintain an interest in it.

But there was no point in pretending I was going to start reading these books. So I have decided to buy more books on different subjects and start reading them. Last week I acquired seven new books — six that I had bought, and one surprise gift. It’s a mixture of stuff — some about writing and editing, a humour book, some motorsport books that I will probably blast through, and… an economics book.

Well, I figured that since I liked Freakonomics so much, I would probably actually read Superfreakonomics. Wish me luck. I will keep my LibraryThing thing updated.

I see that The Scotsman has again been trying to wring another story out of a politician’s use of Twitter. This time it is Jo Swinson exposing her ignorance about football.

As she was overwhelmed by members of the Tartan Army at a railway station, Ms Swinson got out her BlackBerry, logged on to her Twitter site and wrote: “Have I missed something? What’s the football festivity? Can’t move at Queen Street station for folk in Scotland tops.”

Seven minutes later, Graham Barrie posted: “The Tartan Army v the Dutch Army tonight at Hampden Jo. You really need to get out more :)”

Jeff and Mr Eugenides both have good takes on this. I have to agree with them. For some, football is a matter of life and death. The Scotsman‘s David Maddox calls the match “do-or-die”. But in truth, it isn’t much more than a slightly tedious playground game.

The Scotland–Netherlands tie wasn’t exactly in my diary, though it is true that I was quite aware of it thanks to my football-loving friends. My own take on the match, as published on Twitter, would probably have got me into more trouble. I wasn’t merely ignorant; I was aware, but sarcastic and dismissive:

Advice to football fans: Scotland won’t win the World Cup, so I wouldn’t concern yourself with it.

I find it difficult to get excited about football at the best of times. My enthusiasm for Scotland internationals is marginally above zilch. In my defence, I was rather put off by the fact that last month I was taken by a friend to the pub to watch what I was told would be a football match but turned out to be a disaster film. Strange.

Really, you could argue that the people who don’t think about football are making the right decision. All that worrying over whether Scotland gets knocked out in this round or that does seem to be a waste of energy. And I can well imagine Jo Swinson has plenty of other things to occupy her time with.

This comes just a few months after Patrick Harvie was at the centre of another Twitter row manufactured by David Maddox. His crime was to discreetly tweet at the dinner table, something which I think many people do.

I don’t get this obsession with politicians having to be identikit robots who all have to be up-to-date on the price of milk, whatever music is in the charts and some tedious sporting exploit. I have written about this phenomenon before, and my views haven’t changed.

The fact is that there are 646 MPs and 129 MSPs. If you took 775 random people, you can be guaranteed to find people who couldn’t give two hoots about football and couldn’t tell you how much a loaf of bread costs. You would certainly find plenty of people who didn’t feel the need to contrive odd opinions about the Arctic Monkeys. Yet we expect all this from our politicians. Why?

On the one hand people criticise politicians for being almost like robots if they are perceived to toe the party line, talk in soundbites or reel off reams of irrelevant statistics. But then if they reveal a bit of their personality by representing part of the variety of society by not fitting a media-constructed template of what a “normal person” is expected to be, they are blasted for being “out of touch”.

I can more easily admire Jo Swinson for her personal choice not to worry about football than any politician who feels the need to pretend they are interested when they are so clearly not. Indeed, Jeff’s comparison with Gordon Brown’s uneasy comments about Paul Gascoigne’s goal against Scotland in Euro 96 reveals that this is one of those issues where you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.

While you would expect parliamentarians to have a knowledge of certain things in order to do their job, there’s nothing wrong with them being human when it comes to their personal interests. In cases like this, it is those in the media who seem more out of touch.

Well there have been a few posts on this blog already about what we might expect from the BBC when they take over the coverage of Formula 1 in the UK from next year. There is one aspect of the coverage that I have not yet touched on because I have been planning a separate post on it — the theme tune.

Most people say they like ‘The Chain’, although I wonder sometimes you know. I think there is a bit of groupthink going on there. A lot of people say it just so that they can feel like part of the club. Nevertheless, Grand Prix on the BBC without ‘The Chain’ would be like cricket on the BBC without ‘Soul Limbo’.

ITV’s current theme tune, ‘Lift Me Up’ by Moby, is a bit of a mess. The title sequence is a bit of a farce as well. I can just imagine the meeting. “Do you know what our title sequence needs? A miniscule F1 car being launched from a giant helmet!”

The title sequence used from 2000–2002 was also a bit of a duffer. Apollo 440 were kind of cool in the 1990s, but they were getting pretty tired sounding by this stage. Their music is unmemorable — fitting for these F1 wilderness years of Mickey the Shoe domination.

ITV have had some good themes though. Their original was by Jamiroquai, and it’s rather good. Some of the sound effects used here are still used by ITV in some of their stings, twelve years on!

My favourite though was the Bachman-Turner Overdrive remix. I know this makes me unusual, but I am sure it’s Christine Blachford’s favourite as well so I’m in good company. 😀

As for the BBC? I do have a soft spot for The Chain, I have to say. Whenever I think of the Beeb’s coverage, I think of this title sequence. The 1994 sequence with the Williams livery materialising over a montage of classic Grand Prix footage was the first I can remember seeing.

I wouldn’t mind seeing something new from the BBC though. I suspect they will probably use a jazzed-up remix of ‘The Chain’.

But if the BBC bring back ‘The Chain’, I want FOM to bring back this.

So “Sir Trevor McDonald” (it is illegal to say ‘Trevor McDonald’ without putting ‘Sir’ in front of it) has just completed his second gruelling week back at the helm of the resurrected News at Ten. It doesn’t seem to have worked for ITV.

They’ve made a big fuss about how they are bringing back an institution, even though they killed if off in the first place so that it wouldn’t get in the way of the football or something. And they are making a big deal about how Trevor McDonald is back presenting it while keeping quiet about the fact that they spent years shunting him around various scheduling back-alleys in the ignominious “News at When?” days.

I don’t even get all of the fuss about Trevor McDonald. Everyone goes on about how he’s the country’s favourite newsreader. I don’t get it. His delivery is wooden and robotic. His is like one of those voices that blind people have to put up with on their screen readers on their computers. And have you ever seen him smile? I haven’t.

So if it seemed like his heart wasn’t in it originally, imagine what it must be like now! He thought he had finished with all of these late nights. Now he is being paid £1,633 per minute to deliver the news in his odd staccato drawl.

And that brings up the next thing that’s wrong with News at Ten. It is so painfully obvious that he refused to come on board if he had to do all the heavy lifting. So the bulletin is shared with Julie Etchingham. Presumably they couldn’t use Mark Austin (how pissed off must he be about all this?) because having two male presenters would be, like, so gaaay or something. As if doing it (the bulletin, I mean) with someone young enough to be your daughter is any less perverse.

But since when was the “heavyweight” late-night bulletin double-headed? This must be the first time it’s happened. I thought the point of having two people presenting the news was so that you could have all of that cringeworthy banter during the light moments, which is why until recently they had two people presenting the Six O’Clock Tabloid News, which is all light moments apart from the faux Daily Mail-style scaremongering bits at the start.

But News at Ten is not meant to have banter, except for the ‘and finally’ bit, but there is only one ‘and finally’ story so there’s not much space for banter there. No, Julie Etchingham is just there so that poor Trevor McDonald can save his breath. He now only speaks for around three minutes per programme apparently.

Then there is this monstrosity.

“This is the news!”

All I can say is, it must have been fun to be that timpani player.

ITV seem to think that reviving News at Ten would give them credibility, gravitas and prestige. But it has actually highlighted many of its major weaknesses. It’s just quick fix after sticking plaster.

Throw money at a problem. Bring in a big name star. Remix the theme tune to the point that it becomes self-parodying. Use overly-flashy computer graphics which make it look more like the deck of the USS Enterprise than a newsroom.

The fact is that ITV News is still rotten. It is focussed too much on gimmicks and sensationalism. It doesn’t matter how much of an ‘institution’ the title of the programme and its main anchor are. If the programme is rubbish, people will not watch it.

That is why by the third day of the new run of News at Ten it had lost a third of its viewers and remained over 2 million behind the BBC Ten O’Clock News. Which has no gimmicks at all.

I don’t usually listen to leaks. I’m old fashioned that way. I prefer to wait until I have the physical object in my hand before listening. As Armando Iannucci said, “there are only two things in the world that give us absolute happiness: one is unwrapping a newly bought CD.”

But for the first time I have listened to a leak. I just couldn’t stand waiting two months for the album to come out. I am just far too excited about this band to let this get away.

And what an album! Mirrored is undoubtedly the Battles that we have become familiar with over the past couple of years, but there is a really different vibe to their sound in what is technically their début album.

Battles are now a little bit cheeky, happy and bouncy. There is a little bit of a sense of humour shining through, but at the same time they have not allowed their incredible sense of how to surprise their listener to slip. Even the track titles are noticeably different. Many of them even contain actual words rather than looking like excerpts from half-remembered algebra lessons.

The album opens with the frantic ‘Race: In’, which already signals one of the major changes to the Battles sound: vocals take centre stage. Not lyrics, mind — vocals, often skewed so much that you cannot understand a word that is being said. The vocals in ‘Race: In’ sound a bit like dogs yapping.

Lead single ‘Atlas’ swiftly follows, and this is such an awesome track. There is a constant beat and a pounding, relentless bass accompanying the track throughout. Yet despite the basic foundations, here is a track that is as unpredictable as anything else Battles have come up with in the past.

It is kind of the theme of the album. It is recognisably Battles, the band that is liked by many for being so unconventional. With Mirrored, Battles have been unafraid to be as unconventional as to add seemingly conventional elements such as pounding beat and prominent vocals. But these elements are all incorporated in a ways that still surprise and reward greatly.

‘Atlas’ is a tough act to follow, but ‘Ddiamondd’ has a good shot at it. This is an utterly madcap track, with fast-paced chripy singing. If you can imagine it, the track is like a mixture between a sped-up version of Maxïmo Park’s ‘Limassol’ and Clor’s ‘Hearts on Fire’. And then comes the sped-up whistling that sounds like a messed up Seven Dwarves.

My favourite track, though, is ‘Rainbow’. It starts off really quietly with quite a basic riff. Gradually it builds up a bit of a warped streak before eventually turning into something that’s simultaneously mad and happy. It all builds up to a quite triumphant ending, like one of those emotional post-rock bands without (quite) as much pretentiousness. I just don’t know how to describe the track, I don’t even know why I’m trying. Just fantastic.

‘Rainbow’ particularly highlights the John Stainer’s idiosyncratic drumming style. Unrelenting snare drum rolls are interspersed with hi-hat rolls. Full marks to him for effort. To see just how much he puts into his drumming, check out this video of part of ‘SZ2′.

‘Snare Hanger’ is another stand-out track for me with its glitching, almost hip-hoppy drums. The track ends sounding almost like it was influenced by The Futureheads (“oh – o – oh oh!”).

Meanwhile, ‘Tij’ reminds me of Blur’s most experimental moments multiplied. This track is another one that ends interestingly. Splintered, it sounds like a beatboxer with a serious case of the hiccups.

In short, this is a shimmering, dazzlingly experimental album that isn’t afraid to blast out a good melody. I really hope this album is noticed by a lot of people, because it’s probably one of the best I’ve heard for a few years.

Already a lot of Battles’s more po-faced fans have reacted angrily to the new direction. It’s too happy, it’s not serious enough, and — ewww — vocals. I just love the fact that this is only their début album, and already there is ‘old’ Battles and ‘new’ Battles. This is a band that is clearly not scared to push boundaries of any sense, even if it seemingly risks alienating some of their more serious fans out there.

Atlas promo video

The Honda F1 team’s new livery has caused a bit of a stir.

I think it looks revolting. It ensures that this season will be one of the ugliest in history, with Renault’s multicoloured vomit-coloured livery, Ferrari’s funny slanted subliminal Marlboro non-descript barcode and, of course, Toro Rosso’s paint factory explosion.

Now Honda have only gone and taken the Earth, and re-moulded it into the shape of a Honda RA107. Yuk!

But for those people who aren’t just interested in a racing car’s colours, Honda’s sponsor-free livery has raised more than an eyebrow around the place. Friends of the Earth have been particularly critical, pointing out the hypocrisy of a gas-guzzling Formula 1 team trying to push forward an environmental agenda.

On the other hand, as Ollie White points out, isn’t it better for a Formula 1 team to try and promote an environmental cause? That’s better than nothing, right? After all, if they didn’t, Honda could be accused by Friends of the Earth of burying their heads in the sand.

I think Friends of the Earth are being a little bit too harsh. It’s easy to paint a picture of motor racing being a horrible, over-indulgent, carbon emitting, environmentally unfriendly sport.

But the reality is a good deal more nuanced. Some say the F1 teams are there just to sell cars. But it’s worth remembering that they make cars as well.

As such, much of the life-saving technology that is in everyday use in road cars is developed, improved or even invented by motor racing teams. Once upon a time, the technology we take for granted today was the cutting-edge in motor racing. So motor racing has probably saved countless lives.

The strangest thing about this all is the revelation that Formula 1 has been carbon neutral for a whole decade! This is news to me, which immediately makes me suspicious.

But I mean how can a sport be carbon neutral? Has Bernie Ecclestone been going around planting trees on behalf of each of the teams? And does it count the testing, air travel to long distance races, and suchlike? This revelation poses more questions than it answers.

This whole thing does kind of prove one cast-iron law about environmentalism: don’t open your big yap about the environment, or you’re bound to be exposed as a hypocrite.

(eg. Do Friends of the Earth go without electricity then? Don’t they realise that electricity use contributes to one third of carbon emissions — ten times more than air travel. This makes them hypocritical environmentally unfriendly scum!!1!etc.)

Perhaps the worst thing about Myearthdream is the fact that it is blatantly designed to disguise the fact that Honda have not managed to find a new sponsor since the enforced departure of Lucky Strike.

When rumours that Honda was thinking of changing its livery first surfaced I was a little bit disappointed. Honda were in a unique position, where the colours of their tobacco sponsor coincidentally matched with the team’s traditional colours. All Honda had to do was remove the ‘Lucky Strike’ logos and it would have been fine. (Remember the ‘Impossible Dream’ advert…)

And who would have minded that? Nobody would have accused Honda of being hypocrites, or jumping on the bandwagon, or even of being unable to find a sponsor. The environmental message may be a laudable aim, but Honda are taking a hell of a lot of stick for it.

And perhaps this is deserved. After all, this is the big idea of Simon Fuller — a man who, it is worth remembering, was responsible for S Club 7 and Pop Idol. The man has brought nothing but pain to this world. This is just his latest hare-brained scheme.

The problem was that he was hired by Honda to do something. He would have been better off doing nothing, and sticking with Honda’s traditional colours. But he would be out of a job then.

Some new clothes! They still need to be ironed a bit though. I’ll sort out all the little niggles over the coming days. What do you think?

Update: Finally getting round to updating this post, which I meant to do yesterday. It’s crazy. It’s Christmas and I’m still running all over the place with no spare time. I’ll have to do something about that…

Anyway, the original plan for this new look was to use pink, green and yellow because I think those colours all work really well with each other. But I had also decided to have a dark background, because I fall in love with just about every website with a dark background. So that meant that the colours had to be a bit pale in order for the text to be readable.

At first I thought the green looked really rubbish, so I took it out. Then I thought, we’ll I’ve taken the green out so now the yellow looks out of place. So then the whole thing ended up being pink. Reactions (as you can see in the comments to this post) were a bit mixed. But anyway. I’ve taken away the pink header because it was probably a little bit too in-your-face.

Regular readers might remember that this isn’t the first time I’ve attempted to use black / dark grey and pink. The previous times I gave up and reverted back to the same old blue. I am totally fed up of the blue now, so I’m determined to keep this dark design now. I thought quite hard about it, and I think (hope) it works. Now I’m pretty happy with the design and I just have some sweeping up to do. When I can be bothered.

BTW, I decided to call the theme Razzmatazz, because that’s the song I was listening to when it came to deciding a name, and I thought it fitted quite well.

ITV Play slinky ident
ITV Play barker
Images nicked off Andrew Wood at TV Forum
Another ‘Participation TV’ channel (i.e. scheming, conning, shite shite quiz channel) launches this week. ITV Play is replacing Men & Motors on Freeview. All I can say is:

  1. at least Men & Motors isn’t much of a loss
  2. at least it will have Quizmania on it
  3. at least it has really pretty idents!

People who have read this blog for a long time may know that I am interested in all of this television presentation nonsense. When I was a wee nipper, I found ITV regions fascinating. I just did, don’t ask me why. It was probably just the shiny logos.

It wasn’t only television logos either. Apparently my first word was ‘gas’. According to my parents I often pointed at the logo on the gas van and shouted ‘GAS’. I guess it’s one way to learn how to read.

If a station relaunched with a new set of idents, I’d usually end up watching the channel all day just to take it in. Sad or what? Imagine my delight when I discovered a few years ago, through the wonder of the internet, that I wasn’t the only one.

Anyway, when I was younger, some idents really scared the crap out of me. I remember a particular Channel 4 ident that was used to introduce its American Football programmes. It always made me jump because the ‘4’ figure made a loud grunt. Numbers don’t grunt! I can remember actually having nightmares about it.

ITV Schools ident But the scariest ident of them all was surely the rotating ITV Schools one. I’m not too sure why I was so frightened by it, but it seriously gave me the willies. I remember once actually running through to tell my mum when I managed to sit through it!

Maybe I was worried that the rather hefty-looking ITV logos would spin off course and hit me. Perhaps I couldn’t comprehend the advanced computer graphics. Everybody knows that CGI dates horribly. But despite the fact that the ITV Schools ident is almost twenty years old, I think they still look amazingly good even judging by today’s standards.

There is an excellent feature on TV ARK all about the making of this ident. It sounds like it was a truly massive task. It’s amazing to think that they would go to so much bother just to create a way to introduce some television programmes!

When I was six, the spinning ITV Schools ident and ITV Schools itself was gone forever. So I wouldn’t have to be scared by the evil ident, right? Well imagine my shock when (at the tender age of six, remember) the brand new Channel 4 Schools ident ended up being this freaky thing. The spooky countdown music (which I now actually think is pretty cool) sounded like an accompaniment to a drowning. This is music for introducing schools programmes! Did they not realise that children would be watching?!

I saw this intereting story on Guardian Unlimited today: CDs becoming a charity case (with some comments here). It seems as though more CDs are being sold second-hand because everybody’s got all their music on MP3 players now.

Well I’m fully MP3’d up, with all my music stored on my computer and my iRiver. But I will never throw away those CDs. I love those pretty boxes!

Music sounds much better from a CD played on a decent stereo than on an MP3 player, and I am a sucker for special edition CDs and enjoy the artwork and everything about them.

And I am reluctant to buy MP3s. It just feels like a bit of a rip-off when you buy something that you can’t physically hold in your hand and say, “that’s mine”.

I have to say though, ever since I got my MP3 player my CDs have felt less valuable. These days they mostly just sit there on my shelves (in alphabetical order, naturally) gathering dust. The artwork doesn’t seem so important these days — I certainly notice it less because usually I just take a look at it when I’ve bought it, then never see it again when it goes on the shelf.

So are CDs dying out?

And what happens if your computer crashes and you lose everything? I know you can back things up, but at least I know I have all of the music safe and stored on something I can actually touch.

Yeah! At least we know our music’s safe on our CDs, right?