Monday, November 12, 2007

Book transitions and the art of mixes

At long last, I have finally finished Pyramids. It was a long run, due mostly to my inability to sit down and actually pick up the book. However, I did feel like the belt fell off the pulley about 2/3rds of the way through the book, but in the end, everything pulled together quite nicely. And there were walking dead. Mummies, of course, but walking dead nonetheless. So it was certainly not at all bad. Pratchett is really an acquired taste - but I do love it whenever Death shows up and speaks in his ALL CAPS voice.

Having finished Pyramids, I picked up the next book in the to-be-read pile which is Love Is A Mix Tape. I confess - I started reading it before I finished Pyramids, but I was good and did not take it up in earnest until I finished the other book. Had I done that, I stood a very good chance of never finishing Pyramids, as LIAMT is very good and right up my alley. I knew that when I read the first part of the first chapter, I would be very intrigued by it and that it would get its own blog post, but quite honestly, I didn't expect to be doing it so soon. So perhaps this is the preamble to what is to come.

This book is basically one man's commentary on his life, focusing primarily on the brief time he spent with his wife prior to her sudden death, framing it all with mix tapes either they made or he made earlier in his life. He writes so fabulously about music that it is a true joy to read, although I do find myself at times laughing out loud and then, minutes later, swallowing the lump in my throat. So it's a good thing - it's getting to me. And I've only just started it.

I made mix tapes constantly when I was in high school and college - I perfected my own art of the mix tape probably around 1992 and made tapes like that up until the advent of recordable CDs. I remember being so meticulous about the order of songs, the choice of songs, making tapes with themes. Some of my favorite tapes that I made were "essential" artist collections - culling what I considered to be the best of an artist and condensing them into 90 minutes. Nothing takes me back to my college years quite like the "essential Mary Chapin Carpenter" tape that I made and listened to until it wore out. Some of those tapes I have converted into CDs, but the trouble was that you always had to cut something to make a 90 minute tape fit onto a 74 minute CD. So a bit of the integrity is lost when doing that.

Of course, iTunes playlists have allowed me to preserve the whole play order of those that I still have around. My mix tapes of old are increasingly rare as I am prone to sudden purges of shit in my life. What has really happened is that a lot of the CDs I made prior to the arrival of iPods have been turned into iTunes playlists and almost invariably have been expanded because there is no time limit.

I do love making mixes for people - it's like giving a little piece of myself to someone else. And since I take my music so seriously, I put a lot of time and energy into it. A lot of times, I put stuff on there that they end up not liking - and that's fine. To each their own - I am never offended when people don't like something I give them unless they're just plain mean about it in which case I get cranky. Don't like my music? Fine, no trouble. Just don't be mean about it. The flip side of this I know how much the music I love means to me - and surely someone else's music that they love probably means that much to them, and whether I like it or not is really beside the point.

So as I have said so many times before (and as Madge said before me) - music does make the people come together. It has been the tie that binds with a lot of my friends - certainly with many of the blogging buddies I have. But it trickles into the so-called real world as well. And for that, I am eternally grateful.

1 comment:

Myfizzypop said...

you can make me a mix tape anytime Dan :)