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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Things We Lost in the Fire

My external hard drive seems to have crashed on me for no apparent reason. I had nothing on it except a whole fucking lot of music—probably 90-100 gigs. I also had about 150 of my all-time favorite movies on it, as well as every episode of The Simpsons, The Sopranos, The Wire, and Entourage. I haven’t given up hope. I still may be able to recover everything once I can find someone qualified to take a look at it. I feel like shouting at my hard drive with a bullhorn to assure everything trapped inside that help is on the way, like survivors in a mine cave-in, or a child trapped in a well.

I have very little of what was on my hard drive backed up. I sort of thought that was the point of a hard drive, and how are you supposed to back-up 300 gigs? The truth is that I don’t really need or especially want anything that I may have lost in this bit of technological amnesia. I am just a neurotic collector of books, movies, and music. I have had to part ways with most of the thousands of books I have collected over the course of my life. Try to move across the country or to a new country with a huge load of books. It gets really, really, really expensive.

I have collected lots of music. I started out with vinyl. I couldn’t wait to make the change to CDs simply because they represent an appreciable reduction in size—a big help when moving. I traded my collection of about 1,000 CDs for my external hard drive. I may have lost all of it. Easy come, easy go.

In this age of internet piracy it would be easy enough to replace everything that I may have lost. Hell, I could probably write a book on the subject. The truth is that I am better off without all of that digital clutter in my life. It seemed that the more gigs of music I added to my hard drive, the less I actually listened to music. I was overloaded. It’s kind of like how some forest fires are actually healthy for nature as they get rid of a lot of useless underbrush. I had a lot of useless underbrush on my hard drive, stuff I wouldn’t ever watch or listen to if I were to live another 100 years.

As luck would have it—or perhaps because I am by nature generous with my friends—I have been able to recover the best part of my music collections from the music DVDs I made for people in the pre-crash era. One of the things I immediately replaced on my laptop from a DVD I made for a friend was Glenn Gould’s recording of Bach’s English Suites. His playing of English Suite #2 in A minor still brings tears to my eyes. I often think that this is the only piece of music I really ever need. Everything else is just clutter, the useless underbrush, the trees that keep me from seeing the forest.

I will still attempt to save everything that I lost, but all of that crap is just going to have to get comfortable. Help may be a long time in coming. I will be listening to this Bach piece for quite a while before I decide that there may be other music in the world worth having around.

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