I recently initiated my own hashtag: #iambecomingabesimpson.
Mind you, it is not that I desire to become the sometimes senile, emotionally bankrupt, confused denture wearing sire of Homer Jay Simpson, it is just that I am getting old.
My next birthday, my family will be able to sing When I’m 64 to me, and while it is true I am aging, I am trying to adapt.
I do have an IPhone 6, and I score my golf on it, do my banking, retrieve my boarding passes, text a lot, do Twitter (@lawrmichaels in case you are interested) but in some ways I am not so much resisting aspects of the future and technology that have already run amok it seems. It is more, I am just not interested.
For example, I have an MFA in literature with a specialty in 19th Century British authors. That means I know a lot of George Eliot, Charles Dickens, the Brontes, and for sure Jane Austen.
So, when Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was released last week, all I can do is shake my head, cupped in both hands, and wonder why the fuck someone would even try such a thing let alone how it could possibly be any good? (And, if they were thinking, they might have considered Austen’s first novel, Northanger Abbey, which holds literary vehicles from the Gothic novel, in that there are castles and mysterious hallways and personages, all perfect for bloodsucking.)
More to the point: How did we seem to run out of story ideas?
But, I digress.
I do have this IPhone, but Lindsay (and her sister Kelly) always give me gentle shit because I have 116,000 un-deleted emails (my baseball mates here on the site will probably attest to the amount of stupid industry spam and such we get), or I cannot figure out how to turn the horizontal view on the phone off.
But, Lindsay is my music mate in the family, and she has been on me to to get Spotify for over a year now, and this last Saturday, I kind of relented. That is, I downloaded the app, made an initial favorites list (The Who, The Kinks, Mick Ronson, Richard Thompson, Yo La Tengo, and Wilco) and streamed on my way to the golf course. Mind you, no money has exchanged hands as of yet, for I get the free service, with commercials.
My conundrum is I am not sure just how much to commit to Spotify.
For one thing, I really like listening to the radio. I love two stations–KTKE, and KEXP–both off the wall independent ones just like I love listening to baseball on the radio. It is something I grew up doing, and somehow the commercials (I can so hear Vin Scully talking up “Farmer John’s sausages”) don’t bother a lick within those contexts.
Another thing, though, is I started buying albums in 1963 (Surfin’ USA) and did so until the 70’s when 8-track, and cassettes burst onto the scene. In the end, though, the tapes were not reliable, so most of the stuff I bought on tape I wound up repurchasing on vinyl.
And, then came CDs, meaning now 25 years into their existence I have about 800 albums and 800 CDs, and probably 15% I cross own. For example, I think of the Beatles White Album.
I bought that on regular vinyl when it came out, and then again in the late 70’s when re-issued on white vinyl. But, I also bought it on cassette so I could listen to my player on my headphones at night when I went to sleep. Needless to say, I also own the White Album on CD, meaning I have purchased the rights to listen to Dear Prudence no less than four times.
And, now, in order to stream the White Album on Spotify, I have to pay a fee to listen again?
OK, so you could say the music moguls saw me coming, and it is not that I am against streaming or using my IPhone as such.
My old IPhone 4 had 1300 songs on it from all over the map, and that made for some killer streaming, but when I upgraded to the IPhone 6, I lost three-fourths of what was on my playlist for one technical reason, or another (never that I had not purchased the rights: more like I am too lazy to put the album information in anywhere).
But, I also have TuneIn radio, and stream KTKE and KEXP so I can listen to what I want when I want.
Lindsay, however, says all this will be wrapped into one nifty package–sans commercials–and that we can share playlists and songs without having to burn anything.
OK, that sounds like fun, but, how long till I have to switch when something falls out of favor (Napster or MySpace, anyone)?
I probably will wind up subscribing just to make life easier, and well, I love the fact that in Lindsay I simply have someone in the family who loves music as much as I do, so this is a small price for sharing something so wondrous.
Also, though I am getting older, it is not like I don’t want to grow or change, or stay open. After all, when I returned to the golf links after a 40-year layoff, I played in high top cons for over six months. My friends all said I should get some cleats, but I waved that off as such an affectation.
“When the grass is wet,” I was cautioned, you will see.
Sure enough, one fall morning I hit a tee shot on a par 3 into one of the bunkers guarding the green. It had rained a little, and the bunker was muddy, and as I stepped in to get ready to make my shot, I slipped.
I was able to catch my balance, and did not fall, but my planted left hip and leg, which was anchored, got tweaked and bothered me for two weeks.
The next day I bought cleats, and when Diane asked me why, suddenly, I said “I am getting older. I understand at my age if you break your hip in public, they just shoot you in the head where you are and leave you there.”
As Elvis Costello said: “Don’t bury me cos I’m not dead yet.”
I used to buy CDs and then iTunes files and mp3s from Amazon,, and I would have those CDs and songs forever. Still do. A few years ago I started subscribing to MOG and suddenly I had access to almost everything.
A couple of years ago I moved over to Google Music because they would let me upload my iTunes library and make that available to me anywhere I was, and it included music that they didn’t offer among their 30M songs. Plus, last fall, they added ad-free YouTube to the package, which has a ton of live, out of print, and music video stuff you can’t find elsewhere.
I miss playing a record I bought over and over and over again, simply because it is the new one, until I either love it or hate it, but I like being able to go into my collection and play Jimmie Rodgers or Tommy James and the Shondells or whatever whenever.
I also miss the album art and all the clues and connections about the music I used to find there. But I can’t imagine ever going back. And these services will get better.
Great post. Keep Spotify.