Everything in my life seems to be governed by some soundtrack or other these days. As I go about my daily routine and do the things I always do, or as I do new or different things, they all seem to be accompanied by a tune, or a particular sound. It's been this way before, or, more accurately, my entire life. I'd be walking downtown to work, or sitting outside reading or thinking and it's like some sort of slow-seeping solo broadcast that only I could tune into. Sort of like a movie - as you watch the story unfold, part of why you end up identifying with what's going on is the appropriate soundtrack. They put you in the right headspace for what's about to happen next.
For as long as I can remember, I've been able to associate music with everything, from life changing events down to the most minute of daily activities. When I was little, probably until I was about 8 or 9 I thought that everyone heard the Beatles "Michelle" while they put their socks on. And breaking up with people? Oh mercy the sappiness - and it wasn't even self inflicted. Getting over the demise of a relationship is all that more pleasant when it's like being able to hit the "Stop" button on a cassette deck.
But despite the sometimes annoyance that comes with having a relentless soundtrack going on I've always thought it was kind of neat to be able to associate life occurring with an ongoing playlist, if you will.
This is why having an ipod is often a blessing and a curse. Now I have the power to select my own soundtrack, which is slightly dangerous. Often because I've already got something bopping around in my head, but also because it allows me to be indulgent, and fall back on old favourites, instead of just absorbing and taking whatever comes.
I hadn't really thought about any of this in a while, until I hit upon an article in the Guardian this week. An interesting read, it talks about how technological advances like the walkman, and now, the ipod, all prevent us from experiencing real life.
"He was the living, breathing embodiment of the philosopher Martin Heidegger's observation that technology is the art of arranging the world so that we don't have to experience it."
Which, by some means, is quite true. But by another, for me, music has always been part of the experience, and not just a means of tuning it out.
note: Kottke wrote about this too.