Posts Tagged ‘OZ 2011’

Easy listening


A few months ago I wrote about how I had started converting my vinyl collection to MP3 files. I had hoped to have the task done by the time I left at the beginning of July to work in the UK for seven weeks. That was a laughable ambition. I had thought I had around 100 albums, LPs, whatever you call them. Once I started I realised how low this estimate was and revised it to around 300. Today I reached about half way. I have converted UK 80s/90s and those from the 60s and earlier which has added up to 140 albums. Leaving 80s/90s international and 70s to be done.

As I have converted the albums to MP3 I have spreadsheeted them meaning that for the first time I will have a catalogue of the records I own. Unlike young men portrayed in books by the like of Nick Hornby I was never the sort of sad boy who went through their books or records organising them and then cataloguing them, I never had to worry about how to alphabetise them. The most organised my records ever got was to sort into decades, and that only happened as it was the best way to distribute them around the piece of furniture they are now stored in. My books have historically been split between fiction and non-fiction, although since the recent purchase of new bookcases I must admit the fiction has been organised alphabetically by author and the non-fiction into general categories like sport, politics etc.

What have I learnt?

I seem to have lost my copy of The Velvet Underground & Nico. More seriously, in the first piece about this project I wrote about  my love as a late teenager/twentysomething of the doors. I have also written about being a Germanophile. As I had converted all the original albums by the doors to MP3 I didn’t bother with converting the two Best of the doors compilations. But, it was only when I got to the doors this week and made the decision not to convert them, that I realised I had bought the two doors compilations whilst on an exchange visit to Osnabrück, so it’s the German’s fault! On the same visit I bought a Jimi Hendrix compilation album which I converted this week and really enjoyed listening to on the way to, and back home from, work on Friday.

Being particular about things I have learnt, such as, today I converted The WhoLive at Leeds‘ and in my memory the band were really loud and heavy. However, listening to it as I converted it I heard much more light and shade, the use of quiet as well as noise which surprised me. Then searching for the album cover for the Yardbirds single collection I discovered it was for sale for $9-99 on eBay and for £12-95 on a site called Those Old Records.

UPDATE:  Something I had been thinking about saying but forgot whilst writing this concerned something I had heard whilst listening to Jimmy Savile’s Old Record Club. For the life of me now I cannot think why I might have listened to it, certainly not enough for it to have left a mark on me. During the programme the listener would get marks for getting the name of a record or the singer right. The question would be posed before the track started. There would be bonus points if you remembered the parts of the song’s title that were between a bracket. I have been reminded of this whilst typing the titles of so many songs featuring part of the song in a bracket, like Chuck Berry’s Nadine (Is it You?). My inner Jimmy Savile is saying to me “Nadine, open brackets, Is it….”  Now, is that enough for a scarred childhood?

The next shelf to be converted was to have been my collection of 70’s records but as I’m going to Australia soon (did I mention that?) I thought it would be better to convert the non-UK 80s/90s which, as well as most of the REM albums worth listening to, includes Australian bands the Go-Betweens and the Triffids I was a big fan of in the 1980s and I’ll be able to listen to them whilst travelling around the country. It would have been better to have them on our last visit when we went north of Brisbane, where the Go-Betweens came from, and to places out in the countryside in Queensland which is the area the wonderful song Cattle and Cane was about:


Similarly the Triffids would be more appropriate for being out West where they came from but this is another one that has to be listened to, although I don’t think Tasmania will be so much like this:

November spawned a Monster


In exactly one month I shall already be in the air, having departed from Paris CDG heading towards Shanghai on a China Eastern flight with the final destination of Sydney. I hinted that something big was happening in this post in June. JTO was not overjoyed at our Oz 2011 trip getting the name Monster. That earlier post was written in June just after the tickets for the trip had just been bought and if I was excited then I am, perhaps unsurprisingly, even more excited now.

We arrive on 1st November and after a night in a hotel head off to experience one of the country’s most important, if not the most important, sporting occasion, the Melbourne Cup. Whilst not at the racecourse it is such an important event that it is celebrated across the country. Then the first of four wine trips to the Hunter Valley, NSW‘s premier wine-producing region and somewhere I’ve not been before. Back in time to meet up with wider family on 5th November. (Though with no fireworks) The day after we leave to one of the few cities I’ve not visited in my four previous trips downunder, Adelaide. Here we’ll meet friends and visit the vineyards you are most likely to have drank wine from, if you’ve ever had any Australian wine outside the country. All the time staying at a beach-front motel in Glenelg. We leave there very early in the morning to do a three-day, two night tour along the Great Ocean Road to Melbourne, a city we both love and we’ll have a few days here, including a visit to the Yarra Valley vineyards, before taking the night ferry to Tasmania, another part of the country I’ve never visited before. We’re planning to hire a camper-van to explore the island, visit the two other main cities and, of course, visit the vineyards. As the climate in Tasmania is closer to that in Alsace I’m expecting the vineyards and the wine they produce to the closest in the country to those here at home. We return to the mainland on the ferry overnight, I just love travelling by ferry or train overnight; have a couple of drinks at the bar then go back to you cabin and be rocked to sleep and then wake-up in a new city. Fantastic. We’re still planning how to get back to Sydney from Melbourne but the current favourite is to do it by rail as it would allow us to stop off and visit family at Shellharbour and near Sutherland before returning to Sydney for a few days before our return journey on 27th November.(Boo)

One thing is for certain Oz 2011 spawned a monster of a blog, enjoy:

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