A message flashed up on the screen of my laptop recently, telling me that I was running out of disk space.
As I only really use my laptop as a word processor and a jukebox (and I don’t write anywhere near as much as I should) I reasoned that I must have cluttered it up with music – so I took a look to see what I could trim out of my iTunes library.
Scrolling through the list of songs, I was amazed to see that not only were there dozens upon dozens of albums and artists that I had no recollection of adding but – much worse – many of the albums and artists that I will often claim to love and adore were totally absent.
It got me to thinking: what if I got kidnapped? What if I was whisked away into the back of a van and vanished without trace, leaving only my laptop behind. What useful clues could the task force working on my recovery hope to find in there? Anything?
Or say I suffered from some terrible bout of amnesia? Say I woke up one afternoon with precisely no idea who I was and all I had to go on was this laptop. Aside from a few awful short stories I wrote at university (which would at least remind me what a pretentious boob I’m capable of being) the best hope I’d have at remembering my old self would be to use my music collection. But what conclusions would I draw from something I barely even recognise in the full possession of my faculties?
Truthfully, I have no idea. By ordering the 6,000+ songs the library contains by Play Count it becomes quickly apparent that I have only listened to half of them. Of that half, I appear to have listened to about two thirds of those songs only once – many of which I imagine got their solitary airing because I accidentally left iTunes running on mute whilst I popped out for lunch or took a phonecall or something. Which leaves about a thousand songs I have decided to play more than once, and even fewer that have merited more than a handful of plays.
How did it get to this stage? Seeing that I could press play and leave my laptop running for 16 days without hearing a single song being repeated made me feel like a compulsive hoarder – one of those people who refuse to throw out so much as a used napkin and end up having to burrow their way through their possessions like a gerbil to get from room to room.
So, before I clear it all out – and before this laptop finally packs up on me – I intend to listen to my full iTunes library from A to Z, from song #1 to #6241, to find out what it contains and what exactly that says about me.
I will detail my findings here.