15 albums in 15 minutes

15 albums in 15 minutes is what I’m aiming for here. I think the idea is to pick the 15 albums that define me and have stayed with me through the years, but I have a feeling this is going to concentrate on my late teens/early 20s more than it probably should.

So here goes…

  1. Lloyd Cole and the Commotions – Mainstream
  2. Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation
  3. The Cure – Disintegration
  4. Pixies – Surfer Rosa
  5. Pixies – Doolittle
  6. Joy Division – Closer
  7. The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses
  8. Rage Against the Machine – Rage Against the Machine
  9. R.E.M – Automatic for the People
  10. Manic Street Preachers – Gold Against the Soul
  11. Manic Street Preachers – The Holy Bible
  12. Jim O’Rourke – Bad Timing
  13. The Beta Band – The Three EPs
  14. Radiohead – Kid A
  15. The Arcade Fire – Funeral

I could easily name another 15, and may very well change my mind on a lot of these by tomorrow.

Concentration and distraction

It’s good to take a week off work when I’m actually not too tired or stressed to enjoy it.

This weekend I’ve largely caught up on washing, shopping and other dull household tasks. I’ve also watched the whole of season 1 of Twin Peaks, in readiness of season 2 arriving on Tuesday. What with that and with my current aim of watching every season of X Files as fast as Love Films can send them to me, it seems like I’m going through a bit of an early 90’s phase as far as TV watching goes.

I’m hoping I might soon be at the level where I can concentrate enough to watch a whole film, and eventually to read a book. The fact that I used to do these things all the time makes me realise how far my concentration has lapsed over the last few years, and I’d really like to watch a few films in the near future without my mind wandering off somewhere.

I’ve also been checking out my extensive collection of archived MP3s, and copied a few GB of stuff I’ve not heard for years to my computer and iPod. I think I’m at a point where having all my electronic media in one place would make me happy, and I’m in the process of sourcing out a solution to this issue.

This makes me sound busy, although it is all largely an illusion. Despite all this apparent activity, I have still found plenty of time for doing what I can only really describe as absolutely nothing. It’s the kind of inactivity that is only really possible when there are no distractions, and I think this weekend has probably been my longest consecutive distractionless period for years.

Talking of distraction, and of music, I was having a quite interesting out-loud-thought on Thursday about listening to music when I’m working. I’m probably the only person I know who doesn’t find music in some way useful when working, and I think it’s largely because I listen intently to music, and find it very hard to concentrate on anything else because I tend to give it my full attention. I’m generally ok with instrumental music that I know really well (like Jim O’Rourke’s “Bad Timing”), but anything new, or anything with vocals is going to draw me away from what I’m doing. I’m also very bad at doing (or thinking about) anything else when I’m listening to music through headphones. It makes me feel closer to the music, and the thought of putting headphones on to “get into the zone” for coding or other development work just seems alien to me.

It’s taken me far too long to write this, for this very reason. But I think I’m done now.