Singles, Space and the Compilation

Published on 13 March 2005 in , , ,

Moving into our house back in June last year was a pretty momentous occasion. Not only did we own our own home, but we had an extra bedroom and more importantly, lots and lots and lots of space.

Few people saw the state we lived in in Ealing – a one bedroom flat with next to no storage. The living room especially was bad. In there were two computers, TV, table and chairs, sofa and lots of clutter.

Everything that couldn’t fit anywhere else tended to just fill the living room – so much so that the TV and sofa were fitted into just one corner of the room because everywhere else was just exploding. And in the midst of all this chaos, there certainly wasn’t room for my music collection.

In fact a large number of my CDs had been sitting in my parents loft in Manchester 1999 – I’d never had space for them whilst living in London. But that was then, this was now and in 2004 several banana boxes (literally, boxes which originally held bananas) of CDs – singles and albums – were transported across the country.

Since then I’ve been slowly digitising many of the singles I haven’t heard for years. It’s been quite a wonderful process – there’s 600 odd singles I haven’t listened to for goodness knows how long.

The original plan was to convert all my compilation tapes to CDs – music compilations has always been something I put a lot of effort into. When you get just the right song to follow another, well it’s just wonderful. And so slowly but surely each single has been loaded into the PC, and the main track converted to WAV format.

That was the plan and as I never went into the MP3 world, I still listen to stuff on the way to work on my trusty CD walkman. But the move to White City has changed things.

My journey to work is now longer than the length of a CD.

And in a morning, I need music. I don’t want to be changing CDs on the way to work but I don’t like having to listen to the first two tracks again after hearing them an hour ago.

I’m actively considering an MP3 player, but with that comes a loss. A loss of the creating the compilation. Sure there’s playlists, but it’s not the same.

There’s just something wonderful about compiling the things – scattering CDs around the floor, picking each one at a time – possibly treating yourself to a little listen just to make sure you get the track order just spot on. Creating the moods, creating the feelings… Getting the perfect combination of just those two tracks… No.

Why create a party tape (well CD) if all you need to do is plug your iPod in and hit shuffle? Why spread your CDs around the floor when all you need to do is shuffle some files around on your PC? And there’s certainly no need to create elaborate, hand drawn covers for them.

Okay I haven’t done that last one for years – decades even. I abandoned it for the old computer many moons ago, but here’s one of those scary realisations – my potential offspring in the future will probably never know the simple joy of compiling the compilation. Give it a few years and it will be a lost art form, abandoned in the pavement of progress.

Of course they also won’t have the ‘joy’ of listening to a compilation years later and wondering… just why on earth did I put that on there? At least one thing I can say about the conversion process is that I will no longer have to put up with listening to those awful Stereophonics and Ocean Colour Scene tracks that used to litter some of the compilations.