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The Joy Of MP3

Image representing Apple as depicted in CrunchBase

An Apple a day keeps verbal diarrhea at bay

Someone once told me that you miss out on so much of life by having your iPod shoved in your ears full time. Now, I’m inclined to agree that going on a dinner date while wearing headphones might restrict future romantic liaisons and that going to the cinema with your favourite play list still blaring is going to put you at a slight disadvantage when it comes to working out the finer plot loops of Inception. Hey, even Twighlight’s overly angsty teen antics require a little bit of ear work, and new parents, you should definitely steer clear if you want to be able to recount your child’s treasured first word (if you’d reeeeally rather listen to the latest releases, you could always lie and say it was “Dadda” – it usually is) but general every day journeys and those times in life where you’re between ‘acts’ of interest and communication are much enhanced by having the noise of every day banality replaced with your very own soundtrack.

The most accepted example of this would be the plugged in Sporty (gym bunny, jogger, cyclist etc). These people know that there’s nothing like a good revved up ‘choon’ to keep your sweaty pins pumping away and make you believe you look more Lance Armstrong than Neil Armstrong which is imperative if you are ever to leave the house in lycra again. The music industry has even cottoned on to this sweaty niche in the market and you can actually purchase one of many pre-selected ‘Ultimate’ albums aimed at the runner in much the same way as you’d pick up an album of ‘Ultimate’ driving tracks for your dad to stick in his Rover on Fathers Day.

I personally don’t care much for the running or the pedalling as neither is conducive to pencil skirt and stiletto wearing but there’s nothing can improve a beautiful riverside walk like a carefully selected album, either to get the feet moving faster or make you think you’re actually the protagonist in some hip urban indie adventure. The truth may be far from glam as you delicately hop over a dog turd the size of a roast chicken but keep those plugs in and it’s all some witty plot device by the Coen Brothers.

Walking is merely enhanced by the iPod but it’s my other preferred mode of transport that truly drives home the point that your life is in no way improved by denying yourself an MP3 player – the tube is undeniably awful without it. This I discovered when I was unfortunate (read – idiotic) enough to let the battery on my iPod run down to empty. Now, I know what you’re thinking, there was life before Apple and Sony and there were indeed several years when I survived without one of these magical music boxes but hey, did we not also survive for decades without antibiotics and electricity?! Try getting on without those and see how chirpy you are!

Instead of being delicately introduced into my morning consciousness, I was rudely whacked around the brain with a cacophony of assaulting sounds from my fellow travellers.

The fact we’re all using the same moving metal armpit doesn’t mean that we need to hear each other’s banal stories at full volume. Case in point; the ill informed yet very convinced self professed king of trivia who was telling his captive friend and anyone who’d listen (and those of us trying not to) about how “pigs can see wind. Fact”. Well done sir, you’re truly dull, loud and stupid and you’ve managed it al before 08:30.

Then we have the joy of being delayed/stuck/being held up for some reason which is never ideal and certainly not something I and my fellow passengers would have opted for so a general group feeling of tolerance and calm would seem to be the obvious mood requirement and yet certain people feel that this situation will be greatly improved by the sound of a harshly exhaled sigh, making proclamations in the name of their chosen deity and general tutting. Trust me, I’d rather not be there either but for the most part that’s down to all the hot wind you’re issuing and not the 3.56 minutes being added to my journey time! If I’d had my headphones in, I wouldn’t have had to endure the blustery tutting and “oh for God’s sake”-ing, in fact, I probably wouldn’t even have noticed the delay as I would have been lost in a world of soul-calming beats and uplifting lyrics, picturing myself in my own Scorsese directed music video and would quite possibly have blithely missed the pointless half-arsed apology that the LUL staff are forced to spew out over the tannoy to announce every 10 second delay to one of their trains. Oh, and don’t even get me started on the tantrums of toddlers and drunken ramblings of tramps, these things have a visual aspect that even the MP3 can’t vanquish!

In case you were thinking that the world isn’t really so full of noises that need drowning out and that being able to hear the laughter of a stranger’s children is just utterly priceless, I have news. We’re now entering winter and while you’re on your daily to-ing and fro-ing, there will now be one more assault on the ears – The cold. Sniffing, sneezing, coughing, snivelling… We’re in the season of the runny nose and there’s only one cure for this; not a tissue coated in balm, not a brightly coloured, powder filled capsule and not honey and lemon flavoured drink – it’s an iPod!


About prettyfeetpoptoe

I live in London and have both my own legs so I am fortunate enough to get out and about on occasion. I form many views on the things that I see and do and love nothing better than a session of linguistic gymnastics in order to share these views.

2 responses »

  1. MP3 players are brilliant, especially as in-built systems in the car for long trips; although they’re handy for when you’re walking too (not the car versions, although cars are easier than walking).

    But I must admit I am not always entirely happy with the iPod people on trains, when they play their music at the grey level – not loud enough to be heard (and possibly enjoyed, depending on the music) but loud enough to be annoying, with the constant “thump thump thump” that goes on (and on, and on) for the half hour you spend in each other’s company.

    If they used large headsets that enclosed the ears, maybe nothing would be heard, but the little earpieces often mean that others get to share in their pleasure of music too, whether they want to or not.

    Maybe some people don’t know Redbeard’s first law of train travel: The morning train is an extension of one’s bed, where you get to catch up on some peaceful sleep before work.

    Maybe iPod victims should take a “boom box” on the train, point it in the direction of any noise offenders, and give them some 50 decibel blasts, just as a subtle hint that you don’t want to be “enriched” by their music.

    Perhaps the better alternative is to join the jet-setters’ club and use a private helicopter to fly in instead. Works for me.

    • People who play their music loud on headphones may do so, they just shouoldn’t act surprused when they find themselves on the other end of a sharpened biro.

      I have an unwritten agreement with fellow colleagues, that if we see each other on the train in the morning, there is utter silence. Nothing more than a mere nod to acknowledge we exist and that conversation can commence in working hours. So far it’s saved the lives of half my office.


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