Losing The Playlist To Our Lives 

Life before your iPod … remember that? If you're anything like me, then probably not. But last week I began to remember what it was like. Or rather, worse than that, what it's like when something you've grown used to is suddenly taken away. Because last week the unthinkable happened and my beloved iPod, from which I have run all the music in my home for the best part of a decade, died. I desperately tried to heal it. Searched the internet for a miracle cure. After a brave and 24-hour long battle for life, I had to admit it was no more.  Life extinct. It was an ex-iPod. I mourned. I was bereft. 

But of course, as much as I loved it, and missed it, it could easily be replaced. So I shot down town to purchase a new one. This proved to be less than simple. It seemed the recent launch of Apple's iPad 2 had meant a shortage of iPods in stores across my hometown. It seems that one of the world's biggest computer manufacturers can't keep supplies up of more than one item at once! I cursed a bit and drifted wearily home. Not for the first time, I regretted not ordering online in the first place.

With a couple of days to wait until a replacement arrived, I decided to use my time wisely. With a new iPod on the way, it seemed a good time for a total overhaul. So I began to move my entire music library away from the old household computer and over to a much newer, fancier, dancier, more powerful laptop. Not the latest model, but at least one which was modern enough to 'talk' to my iTunes shop (from which I'd been shut out ever since one update too far gave my old Mac, and very nearly me, a nervous breakdown).

Quite proud of myself I was when I succeeded in transferring it all to an external hard drive and then on to the laptop.  Even prouder when I discovered how to solve a couple of unexpected glitches along the way. It seems that the disk drive in the laptop doesn't like any of my new CDs so I had to load them on the old Mac and repeat the transfer process. Yes, I know, it was nothing that the average nine-year-old couldn't do in their sleep, but I was born, indeed mostly educated, before the advent of a computer in every home, so I considered it a major achievement.

Unfortunately I hadn't realised that, while every single track of music had transferred perfectly, not one single playlist had joined them. I had 5,000 songs and tunes successfully relocated, but none of my carefully selected and designed little playlists.  Once just iPodless, albeit temporarily, I was now without the soundtrack, or at least the playlist, to my life. You see, I've spent years building up a wonderful set of purpose built playlists. The Christmas ones alone were perfection. I had a playlist for our "Pre-Christmas Party" all ready for next Yuletide's bash (quite Christmassy but mixed with a healthy dose of classy non-seasonal sounds and absolutely no carols). As Christmas nears there are other, more Christmas-centric, playlists culminating with the full-on Bing and Slade and carols galore "Christmas Day" version. All now tantalisingly still sitting on my old Mac but steadfastly refusing to transfer to the laptop.

And it doesn't end there. I have playlists for barbecues, for dinner parties, for bus trips, for chilling out and for boosting as well as reflecting my mood. Actually, I have dozens of playlists for all manner of occasions. And, if I'm honest, I have playlists for things I can't even remember. The idea of having to re-do all those playlists manually didn't exactly fill me with delight. So I decided it was time to think seriously about which playlists I really still needed. Some I cannot imagine losing: mainly because they are sentimentally important. The 8-hour playlist I created for my parents' "Ruby Wedding" most definitely falls into this category. And while those with "Moroccan", "Italian" and "Krakow" themes might sound dispensible, I'm reluctant to give up on anything that will help my tagine, pasta or pierogi meals with their unique ambiance. 

I'm too fond too of my "New Year's Day", optimistic, uplifting and soothing selection to let it go. But, unless I want to be messing with playlists come New Year's Day 2012, I fear I may have to forego such delights as "Driving Music" - divided into summer and winter versions, of course and perhaps the "Theme Park" playlist that I instigated in a moment of Disneyworld remembrance and have probably played precisely twice. And do I really need a playlist called "If I Could Sing" featuring all the songs I wish I was able to sing? After all, I'm pretty sure that, after all these years, I'm not suddenly going to develop a remotely decent singing voice. Doing justice to "Moondance" is just not going to happen. Besides, think of all the new, as yet unimagined, playlists I can make! 

But, if I want to get my life back (or at least the playlist that accompanies it) I might have to put my nose to the grindstone. So, if you don't hear from me for a while, you'll know I'm still tussling with iTunes … so I'll see you around some time!