Playing the hard way

first_imgWho would live in the olden days? The poor sods had it hard. The minor matter of world wars and inadequate healthcare aside, everything was just so basic. Can we even imagine living in a world without dishwashers and washing machines, internet and mobile phones? We gripe about it now of course, this proliferation of modern technology turning us all into wired-up electronicjunkies, but we wouldn’t be able to go back to the days of sitting round a wireless to hear Churchill’s broadcasts – and most of us wouldn’t want to. The developments of science havemade our lives easier, but also richer and more expansive.But there is also an invisible line in this technology business, which we seem to have crossed. There seems to be a point up to which technology can only improve your appreciation of and ability in a certain field, but after which it rather seems to detract from it. The prime example is the world of music.Music as we know it has changed immeasurably with scientific development, perhaps more than almost any other field. Recording quality is leaps and bounds better than the crackling racket that used to pass for reproduction. Mixing desks have facilitated experimentation with styles and sounds, and even given birth to new genres like dance.Increased accessibility of equipment has made it possible for every household to have one or multiple sound systems. Instruments have been tweaked and honed, and new resources,such as the internet sharing system, have sprung up. In short, the position of the music lover has become easier. But the word ‘easier’ is a false friend – or certainly a two-faced one. Ofcourse the increased accessibility of music is a good thing, but the fact is easier doesn’t always mean better, and can sometimes mean worse. Just look at the iPod. The sleek, white(or pink or blue or olive green) little genius can store thousands of tracks in its clever memory. A few hours on the computer and you can have your entire music collection to be carried around with you on the train, to a lecture, available at the touch of a fingertip. Software like iTunes andthe much debated myTunes enable you furthermore to download tracks onto your computer and from there to your iPod like turning on a tap. It all, undoubtedly, makes much more sense than carting round a hundred CDs in one of those irritating wallets, or worse, faffing around with tapes. But with this ease and efficiency has disappeared much of what is wonderful about being a music lover. Scouting around record shops looking for a rare copy of an album, or nosingthrough random stacks to find something that grabs your attention just because of the cool cover (and then getting it home and discovering it is the best record you have heard in years); these are things of no value in a virtual cyber world. Most of all has gone the sense of slow, deliberate carethat record collectors take over their babies. Putting your iPod tracks in alphabetical order just doesn’t bring the same joy as pouring over your CD collection, carefully wiping jewel casesand dust-jackets and wondering why you never took Captain Beefheart out of his plastic jacket.The same is true of the machines themselves. As controversial as it may sound, an iPod, while a thing of aesthetic finesse, is not a machine designed to be loved. To be flaunted, yes, and flashed around and occasionally stroked in wonderment at its smooth, sleek shininess. But it is not like a record player. Record players are the true music lover’s dream. The machines themselvesare large and cumbersome and cannot be easily transported. They take quite a bit of looking after, what with cleaning their needles, changing their cartridges, investing in antistatic pads and the like. Records, too, must be meticulously looked after; no leaving them around on the topof a cupboard, because once they get scratched they are dead. The process of putting a record on a deck must be done slowly and carefully so as not to damage the record or the stylus. Andof course, you have to get up halfway through to change them over. You can’t skip between tracks except by physically moving the needle, and you can’t arrange playlists or shuffles. They are, in short, hard work. And yet despite all that, or perhaps because of it, they are beautiful, wonderful things.So what can record players teach us about listening to music? That what is quick and useful is not always better, neither in terms of effect nor in terms of overall appreciation. Anything in life worth doing is worth taking time over, and care and conscientiousness are rewarded in an increased overall pleasure. Record collectors unite! And just slow down a little.ARCHIVE: 3rd week MT 2005last_img read more

Guinea accepts to host 2025 Africa Cup of Nations

first_imgConakry, Guinea | AFP | Guinea has accepted to stage the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations instead of the 2023 edition, a move that confirms Cameroon as the 2021 hosts, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) president said Monday.“I am delighted with this change in the organisation of the calendar that will see the Nations Cup take place in Guinea in 2025 and I am proud that the president of Guinea, Alpha Conde, has himself accepted,” Ahmad Ahmad said.Ahmad, who held talks with Conde on Sunday, told reporters it was a similar situation to Cameroon, which will stage the 2021 tournament having been stripped of hosting this year’s edition.In 2014, CAF awarded hosting rights to Cameroon (2019), Ivory Coast (2021) and Guinea (2023). Following the decision to remove this year’s edition from Cameroon because of severe delays in building stadiums and security concerns, Egypt and South Africa have bid to step in as hosts.CAF will announce on Wednesday which of the two countries has won the right to host the tournament, with the clock ticking to the June 15 kickoff.Ivory Coast will now host the tournament in 2023.Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more