Sunday, 8 March 2020

Digging up sound memories to relive


In search of portable sound
It is probably two decades ago, I bought a Creative NOMAD Jukebox Zen, an MP3 player with a 6GB hard disk, this was before the Apple iPod took off and became the mainstay of portable music players. Bundled with the jukebox was a copy-protected compendium of classical music that took up over half the available space on the disk.
I probably erased one folder of music before I found the means of extracting the classical music collection into a portable format that I could playback on my computer. With time, I extended my classical music collection, ripping CDs I had bought for portability sake. Unfortunately, not all CDs automatically populated the tracks from the Gracenote CDDB as it was known then.
Volumes of excess material
Over time, I had compiled a classical music collection, all my music CDs, a whole catalogue of preachers' sermons and exhortations, along with different audio bibles, the full King James Version (KJV), the New Testament in the New International Version (NIV) and the whole bible in the Message (MSG) translation. These versions belong in different areas of translation and interpretation, the KJV which is close to literal, the NIV being somewhat intermediate and the MSG is like a paraphrase.
Blog - Good Samaritan Values - The Renewing Of Your Mind – Written in 2013 with an overview of types of English bible translations.
By then, I upgraded to a Creative Nomad Jukebox III, a friend gave me one with a 20GB hard disk, I soon ran out of space on that too, I began to juggle what I needed from what was not immediately necessary. A few years later, the jukeboxes were too cumbersome and I plumbed for a miniature Creative Zen Mozaic 8GB MP3 Player with dimensions 1.3 (depth) x 4 (width) x 8 (length) in cm, it still lives, some 12 years on.
Properly cataloguing sound files
I used to like listening to the Gospels in KJV, there were times I had it playing in the background and found myself imagining I was just walking down the same street where Jesus was having a conversation with an audience that included me.
Managing 1189 chapters from 66 books of the bible in audio format, wasn’t easy as the publishers made a shoddy job of the MP3 tagging. This being the metadata that allowed the MP3 file to be properly identified and categorised. So, I found myself retagging the files, setting out the books as albums and the chapters as chronological tracks.
It would have been easier to merge the chapters into one track per book, but the granularity in seeking specific sections would have been lost. I studiously did this for my music albums and other audio collections too.
Too many old memories
Now, why I am on this journey into the past. I acquired a while ago the full boxset of Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister, political satire from the 1980s but could not find where I had stored them. With portable hard disks all around the place, some probably with stiffened spindles for the lack of use, I began to plug them in to review their contents.
In the process, I found all my audio bibles, my broader music collection, the Yes, Minister series, some old training material and a picture I had not seen for probably 8 years now. The picture did bring back some old memories, but there was nothing I could do but sigh, he died a decade ago and someone has fully and fittingly taken the place I was unable to relinquish to explore the opportunity for love until early last year. The whole audio and video catalogue is being uploaded to the cloud.
A time to relive
I guess the strange thing about life is the many moments that create a complex story of wanting to experience the new, whilst having some other attachment to the old. The ability to conflate the past and present into another moment to cherish.
Childhood memories of places that brought happiness, peace and joy, some other time in life where some activity had its serenity and calmness, then a present that offers the scope to relive and settle into a bliss almost unbelievably complete.
It is strange that being both a creature of habit, with a curiosity for the unknown and a quest for knowledge. You wonder when the mind quietens down. Yet, I find peace in music, simple detective shows and railway documentaries. Sometimes, I just switch off everything and go to sleep.


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