One of the greatest inventions of the modern era is undoubtedly the iPod. I could go as far as to mention that there are other MP3 players out there, and good for them, but in reality who cares? I even had one of those alternative devices once. It had better battery, more space, better sound quality, it was great. Except that it wasn’t. Because no-one else on earth had one.

Anyhow I digress. iPods are wonderful. For someone like me, who had over 300 albums in their CD collection, a massive logistical storage headache was reduced to something the size of a passport. And while the consumer satisfaction of clicking ‘download’ on iTunes is nothing like that of unwrapping a newly-bought CD, there is the small matter of convenience.

But as with all other things, the iPod has brought with it new perils. The ease with which you can access such a wide array of music at the touch of a button is a great power. However in the wrong hands, it is pure evil.

There was a time when going to a party involved turning up and chatting, having a few drinks, maybe dancing, perhaps trying to get off with someone… You hardly noticed the music. The host would put a CD on and that was that. Once it was over, they’d put another CD on. It was all very logical.

Nowadays, with our tip-top technology, this has all changed. The moment anyone gets a bit of alcohol in them, they all seem to think they’re Judge Jules (check to see if there is a more up-to-date DJ that I can look cooler by pretending to know who they are –ed). Songs get chopped and changed with gay abandon as half the partygoers move over to the iPod and start wrestling for control of the music.

These two scenarios are, believe it or not, quite different...

These two scenarios are, believe it or not, quite different…

Alcohol is proven to shorten your attention span. It also makes you staggeringly self-indulgent. These are not qualities that I would look for in a DJ.

The end result of all of this is that the music tends to ping-pong back and forth between a couple of drunk people’s totally esoteric tastes in music, each one turning the volume up a little more in a grandiose display of “look at me”. They play about the first minute of each others song before losing their patience and changing to theirs. It’s like the worst round of “beat the intro” ever.

Then just when the battle for supremacy between minimalist Tibetan yodel-house and Congolese hip hop appears to have reached a cacophony, a girl somehow manages to put ABBA on at full volume before grabbing a wine bottle ‘microphone’, jumping on a chair and destroying everyone’s will to live.

Sound familiar?

What is it about girls and ABBA?

What is it about girls and ABBA?

This never used to happen in the days of CDs. You couldn’t just cut a song off with such ease halfway through, while the only person who had their music at a party was the host. And that’s the way it should be.

I mean it’s not like you’d stay at someone’s house for the weekend, only to start hanging a few paintings from your living room up on their wall because you don’t like what they had done with the place. Or maybe you would?

Perhaps next time someone comes to a party at your house and wrestles the music from you, you should reciprocate by repainting their bedroom when you get the return invite.

An Englishman’s house is his castle, and at parties in my castle I do not want to listen to:

  • The first 60 seconds of about 15 different songs
  • Anything I hadn’t heard before that evening
  • Anything boring and repetitive, no matter how trendy it is
  • Bloody ABBA

Or next time I’m watching a film at your house, I might just grab the remote and switch over to the golf halfway through.

by Harry Harland