I have a lot of shit on my iPod. Owning one has certainly changed my listening habits. Gone are the days of buying a record and living with a record. Now it’s just a case of finding something which can hold my attention. And unsurprisingly, as my primary outlet for music consumption is my iPod full of shit, holding my attention is becoming increasingly difficult.

The most interaction that I have with my iPod is whilst commuting. I get the bus to work, which takes about 30 minutes door to door. Certainly not enough time to immerse myself in the likes of a Spiritualized’s Ladies and Gentlemen We’re Floating In Space, or to relish my most favoured of albums, the precious, untouchable OK Computer. Now I have only 30 minutes or so. And I want to be satisfied. And I want it now.

One way that I try to overcome this obstacle is by making playlists. Playlists, that usually germinate as an idea for sharing music with friends, but which I near always make to satisfy my own personal ends. Incidentally, I frequently burn these playlists and stick them in them post. Not that my friends ask for them, and not that they even want them, but I do it nonetheless. It helps me to catalogue what I’m currently enjoying, and it helps me to narrow down and navigate all the unlistenable shit that I have on my iPod.

So yes, my iPod is in dire need of a cull. You’re probably unsympathetic. Why don’t I just delete the shit? But what if? What if one day I actually want to listen to that 38 minute long live version of the Velvet Underground’s Sister Ray? What then? It hasn’t happened in all the years that I’ve owned it, but I know that it’s there if I ever get the urge. I might even make a point of it one day and stay on the bus for an extra couple of stops, but anyway, I digress…

There’s still something magical about compiling music. I agonisingly fret over the opening track, over the sequencing, the length. The day I realised that to make a really great compilation you shouldn’t aim to fill an entire cd’s capacity was liberating. Filling a cd with 80 minutes of music devalues the latter tracks. It encourages over use of the forward button. It will not hold your attention.

And therein lies the challenge. Creating a sequence of music which compliments each other, and can be digested in one. And that’s how I roll. Or at least try to. A 30 minute playlist? Behave. That’s far too brief.

I should probably start walking to work to give me more listening time.

The mix-tape is dead. Long live the playlist!

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