Wednesday, 19 May 2010

41 grams

I've never taken an mp3 with me on the hill. I've found friends who put music on in the tent to be annoying to say the least- it seems to grate against the natural sounds of the hill and most choices I've heard being played definitely suit an urban environment a lot better. I don't take books on overnight's because I don't tend to read them. On longer solo trips I've taken a book, but again, choice is important. My choice of JG Ballard's 'Crash' for the Rhinogs trip was definitely wrong- a fantastic book but it jarred with my surroundings. On top of that, after an afternoon stuck in the tent, I'd read it all, but a thicker book is a heavier book.
A couple of things have changed my mind a little, and made me think about giving an mp3 a shot. First, I never sleep very well when I'm camping- I tend to wake up a few times a night. It's a bit of a faff to read when I do wake up- find the book, find the torch etc. I haven't tried reading in the bivvy yet but I would gues that would be a pain. A bit of music might be just the ticket. Second, on my last trip, I wasted a fair bit of time not enjoying myself. Often, I do like walking in the mist and I do have a thing about experiencing the outdoors rather than shutting it out, but selective use of music may well have helped.
So when my sister asked what I wanted for my birthday I asked for an mp3. I am not a technologically minded person- I own virtually nothing in the way of gadgets and I still like to have a physical object in my hand when I buy music. I owned an mp3 when they first came out and managed to get about three songs on it before I abandoned it, so I wasn't bothered by complexity. But of course technology moves on and so what I got from a basic mp3 pretty much blew me away. It's the Archos 1 vision-and as far as mp3's go I gather it's for the 'casual' user, which I guess is me. It's advertised as 28g but the headphones put it up to 41g on my scales. I could use it without reading the instructions and it's got 4G of memory. Pretty much exactly what I needed. So what have I put on it? First thing on was a bunch of Bob Cartwright's excellent podcasts. I have listened to a few on the free cds he sends out with his products, but there's five years of podcasts for me to catch up on. Perfect tent listening I reckon, inspiring rather than jarring. My next target was some audio books. Librivox has hundreds for free- amazing! While the entire text of 'The decline and fall of the Roman empire' tempted me I decided that it was a bit like one of those ambitious peak bagging routes I plan and then fail to complete. So I now have H Rider Haggard's 'Alan Quartermain' downloaded. Easy listening for post hill exhaustion but exciting stuff nonetheless. And music? Pretty much the first album I got on there was U.F. Orb. A blatant sign of a misspent youth during the 90's, it's got to be my favourite album of all time. O.O.B.E still has the power to send a shiver down my spine and Blue room is just incredible.This will be the one for midnight dozing. In fact I'm getting all of my Orb back catalogue on it. Orbus Terarrum has a much more 'earthy' feel and tracks like 'Oxbow lakes' may well make for a decent black dog dispeller. I'll take it on the next trip and see how it goes.


The Dude Abides said...

Well there's a blast form the past: The Orb!

I'm glad its not just me revisiting the music of my youth - I though it was a sign of getting old! I've been listening to Nirvana, the Datsuns and Rage Against the Machine - just not on the hill. When I'm out I prefer a combo of less angry guitar based music with a bit of Elbow and Pulp for good measure.

minimalgear said...

Ah- genius! Pulp's 'intro' was one of the next albums I put on- I can't think of another album that captured my teenage experience so well. For angry guitar I alwys liked a bit of american 80's punk- The dead kennedys 'fresh fruit and rotting vegetables'is a classic. There's plenty of good new stuff too-MGMT are a current favourite, plus my brother's sent a a bit of Justice my way to bulk up my bleep quota.