“If you want to go
where the rainbows end
you’ll have to say goodbye
all our dreams come true
baby up ahead
and it’s out where your memories lie”

Well, the marathon CD-rip has begun. My laptop and desktop are currently humming as they convert our music library back into mp3 format. Soon I’ll press-gang another couple machines into service and we’ll be zipping through the job at a fast pace.

When I retold our tale of musical massacre to friends and family they all uniformly responded with horrified gasps, a thick silence, and the whispered admission: “I don’t know what I’d do without my music”. One of the reasons I didn’t meltdown was because I knew I had caches of music stashed on other drives and players.

Within a day or two of the unexpected death (RIP) of our music hard drive I had repopulated the replacement drive with approximately 25GB of music. It’s interesting to note what music we valued enough to put on players and listen to on a regular basis.

For instance, I’ll only have to rip a couple of Tom Waits albums. He rates so high with us that we have almost all of his work on our players or on my laptop. The man’s a genius, so that’s to be expected.

Clarion West deserves a certain amount of credit for this. Before I headed off to Seattle in June ’06 I loaded up a 20GB player with music, and put another chunk onto my laptop. Since I was going to be away for nearly seven weeks I copied a huge range of music: classical, dance, traditional Irish, pop, rock, metal, R&B, jazz. I had an almost paranoid fear that I’d be craving a certain kind of music and wouldn’t be able to satisfy it from my portable collection. It was like a virtual fuzzy blanket that smelled of home, Martin, friends, and familiar places.

Music does that to you: it evokes memories and moods. It can put you in a funk, soothe you, or buoy you on an optimistic high. It can remind you of that glorious romance or the devastating break-up. It can recall teenage anxiety, the joy of your first paycheck, and the pride of hosting your first dinner party in your own place. It can summon the taste of peaches, the touch of grass on your cheek, and the assault of smells of a late-night club as you totter for the door. It’s one of the simplest methods of altering your perspective that doesn’t require illegal or toxic substances.

How could you live without that? Even monks and nuns sing and chant.

And I’m listening to the grouchy growly voice of Waits from his live album, Big Time, and he says that “Yesterday is Here”:

“well the road’s out before me
and the moon is shining bright
what I want you to remember
as I disappear tonight
today is grey skies
tomorrow’s tears
you’ll have to wait til yesterday is here”

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