14/11/2017 by Lee
The one where I throw out my Friends CD but not without a fight
Tracey and I are currently in the middle of a minimalism challenge/competition. Basically for each day of the month you have to get rid of that many items, so for instance as I write this it is the 14th so I have to get rid of fourteen things and tomorrow I have to get fifteen things out of the house and so on until the end of the month or until one of us fails. There are other conditions and concessions but that’s the general gist of the activity.
It’s surprisingly easy so far and you start to get a little ruthless as you consider all of the useless items you collect with you on the way. I do think that I have the advantage over my non-materialistic wife who has never been one for collecting stuff. I on the other hand hang on to stuff for grim death out of some fear I’ll lose some part of my self identity (not that I’ve begun to over analyse my hoarding tendencies).
One of the things I have held on to was my hard fought for CD collection comprising of many, many soundtracks. I’ve always loved soundtracks and one of my very first music purchases was the Danny Elfman 1989 Batman score on tape. I listened to that over and over on my Walkman until I upgraded it to CD. For a while there it was hard to get some of these soundtracks because they just weren’t carried everywhere. Then eBay happened and suddenly almost any rare to find CD was available.
And so what was once a much harder activity became a lot easier and infinitely cheaper and I amassed several large boxes of CDs.
Flash forward to today and there whilst there are several devices in the house that can play CDs I do not have a dedicated CD player/stereo and even my iMac has an external drive that is covered in a thick layer of dust (a comment on its lack of use and my poor house keeping). Obscure albums that I searched long and hard for are now readily available on Apple music or Spotify, so far there is only one album I’ve had trouble getting online streaming.
Look don’t judge me, I may be a child of the 80s but I’m a product of the 90s and Friends was freaking huge in the 90s and I loved it and I loved the soundtrack.
The soundtrack isn’t available on Apple streaming and for some reason I’m determined not to buy it again because I paid 1996/7 CD prices for it originally and as I type this I consider the time and energy I’ve spent trying to recover the disk and there is a heavy sigh about to be released.
When they brought the CD out there was a huge flirtation with copy protection on CDs to stop people copying them because the music industry couldn’t survive if there was a reasonably easy way for someone to copy an album either as a back up or to share with a friend. No sir, up until CDs it wasn’t a problem and people never copied tapes or recorded LPs on to tapes…
Anyway, they did a bunch of weird things to CDs to make them very hard for computers to read and therefore would have problems being copied. Unfortunately this also made listening to them via computers very annoying. My Friends CD is one of these CDs that causes the songs to crackle and pop when played on a computer or when copied. The CD is virtually unreadable on my iMac (it has nothing to do with the aforementioned dust) and over the years I’ve occasionally tried to extract it using different programs etc.
The reason why I’m mentioning this is that I’m binging on throwing away CDs because I don’t believe they will ever be properly collectible. Vinyl is different, I can’t see hipsters of 2030 seeking out CDs because the sound is so digital when compared with mp3s (or whatever Superman green crystal storage formats they have then). I love my vinyl but I don’t know there just doesn’t seem to be anything inherently collectible about CDs. So I’m making sure I have copies of all my CDs and then I’m getting rid of them, even the ones with some emotional attachment (to be honest that attachment is pretty hollow and easily transferred to my vinyl collection – as I type this I’m now listening to the Prince Batman soundtrack on LP).
But one of the hold outs in this CD carnage is the bloody Friends CD. I’ve managed to extract ten of the twelve tracks now, five of them are perfect, pulled out by software that fixes the crackling etc, those five took about four hours. The rest were copied directly off the CD as files and they aren’t in great shape. The remaining two are:
- In My Room by Grant Lee Buffalo
- Big Yellow Taxi (Traffic Jam Mix) by Joni Mitchell
Neither song is a particular favourite but the album loses the flow without them. When I was a kid I had bootleg copies of bootleg copies of the Ghostbusters 1 and 2 soundtracks, that is to say I had a copy of knock off albums from overseas and on the Ghostbusters soundtrack each side cut off the last song midway. I can still pinpoint the exact point that I Can Wait Forever by Air Supply used to cut out and it always seems like a luxury to get the rest of the song.
So after rambling on all this way about this soundtrack that I’ll probably only ever listen to ten more times in my life (given my lifespan is around 150 years – science baby!!!) I shall probably suck it up and buy it for $14.99 from iTunes.
I’m going to throw the CD out.
Now I just need thirteen other things.