Of ipods and Boxed sets

Most people know I lost my cat this week, and rather than rehash it right now, and depress myself (just as I’m feeling better), I wanted to talk about a couple of things that helped bring me some respite from the overwhelming loss and grief I’ve felt this week.

The first is a new iPod I received as a gift.  I’d sold my old one on eBay last month, and received a replacement from someone who will remain anonymous. what I got was an iPod Touch  2G.  Now, I’m no Apple fanboy. There are things about ipods I really like, and things I hate. not being able to replace the battery is one thing I hate.  The DMR on my past iTunes purchases is another. And like all Apple products, it’s always a question of price. However, I also love the design and simplicity of the iPod-though iTunes leaves a lot to be desired.

Anyway, I charged it up, loaded my music on it, and realized how much more there is to the Touch than just playing mp3’s.  Near a wifi hotspot? I can jump on the net using a full version of Safari. Need to enlarge a web page to read something? A couple of taps will do that. Have some pictures you want to show someone? Just sync them to your iPod and you’re good to go. You can enlarge the photo with a tap or gesture as well. Want to play games? Not only does it do that, it does it pretty darn well. It will never replace a PSP or DS, but for quick on the go gaming it’s hard to beat.

Oh yeah, it plays music too. Here then, is one of my chief complaints. with my old Nano, pausing was as simple as pressing the single button.  with the touch, I have to press the home button, unlock it (keeping it unlocked poses the risk of pausing, forwarding or going to the last song if you’re not careful), then press pause. not very convenient when you have it in a shirt pocket.  The earbuds that come with it, are the same crappy ones Apple has been foisting on the public since the ipod’s debut. All in all, despite some design flaws, this is an amazing little gadget that I’ve quickly become infatuated with.

So what am I listening to? A boxed set I mentioned back in November, Marillion: The Early Stages, a 6 CD box set containg live performances recorded from 1982-1987.  This is, in my mind a must have for Marillion fans. There are a few songs that get repeated (Garden Party shows up 4 times-which annoys me because it’s not one of my favorite songs), but for many, the arrangements are different enough to keep them from being repetitive. There’s a bit of Fish doing what he does best (aside from singing and songwriting), which is between song banter. Dubbed “The Official Bootlegs”, the sound quality is far better than expected. Is it state of the art? No, but neither was recording back in 1982.

This set shows a band evolving, maturing and ultimately going from small pubs to stadiums. I’m not sure how much non fans, or people not familiar will like it, but for those who know and love Marillion, there’s no excuse for not having this in your collection.