Saturday, January 07, 2006

See Into My Head Here

As I get older, I like talking less and less. I don't like talking because of all the subtle things you say and do that betray what you're thinking. (Writing's different, because you can edit the subtle things out, plus there's no body language*). The idea that someone might know what I'm really thinking terrifies me more than almost anything else.

Also, talking generally requires eye contact. I hate eye contact, because it makes me feel like the person I'm talking to can SEE INTO MY HEAD. Why anyone would actually *want* to see in there is a different matter - for one thing, it would be extremely dull. But that doesn't stop me worrying about it.

It's the same with shops - I hate buying things in shops, in case other people see, and know what I'm thinking. Shudder.

(Working up to the point now...)

This goes some way towards explaining why I was so mortified this afternoon to discover that I've somehow set up a user account with "personalised internet radio station" Last.fm. The principle of Last.fm is fantastic: you tell it what music you like, and it plays you a continuous stream of other music it thinks you'll like, based on your preferences. And so far, it's been totally spot on. Marvellous.

However, as part of my account activation, I also seem to have downloaded and installed a thing called an Audioscrobbler plugin. This is a little bit of software that watches everything I do with iTunes, and then beams that information back to Last.fm, so that it can learn over time what music I like best.

To my absolute horror, this means it's now possible for anyone in the world to look on the internet and see what music I own, what songs I've listened to in the last week, and what I listen to the most. To me, this is practically the same as having the whole world be able to SEE INTO MY HEAD.

I tried to explain this to nibus, but he didn't seem to think it was important. But the thing is, I don't just listen to songs because I like them. Often I'll listen to them because they remind me of a time, or a place, or an experience, or a person (or, indeed, any combination of the above). So it's kind of like the soundtrack to my thoughts.

Hmm, erring somewhat on the side of the pretentious there, but anyway...

On the other hand, obviously I really like the music I listen to, and you might like it too. So it's with great trepidation and with no little realisation that I'm just about to blatantly contradict everything I've said above, that I present you with my Last.fm User Profile page:

Click here to SEE INTO MY HEAD

*Patroclus runs and hides under the sofa*

UPDATE: Actually, this is all paranoid bollocks. What I'm basically saying is "Look everyone, I quite like American indie rock. Woo!"


* Except there is, really, but you'll just have to wait for my little monograph on Body Language In Disembodied Space for that...

23 comments:

nibus said...

Very few people care what you listen to, and none of them knows what these songs mean to you. Your average geek on last.fm is only really concerned about keeping Radiohead/Coldplay at the top of the chart. They'll look at your list and think 'who the hell is that?' or 'why is there no Radiohead?' for 3 seconds, then move on. Now, if you had a blog, for instance, that might be an easier way for people to get an insight into your mind.

dvshh: what you say to whirling Turks who make too much noise.

patroclus said...

All this is in very fact true.

ulgzwrox: ULGZW is quite good.

Betty said...

I used to be horribly worried about the records I bought and would self-consciously hide them so that customers in the queue wouldn't see them and I'd be petrified that the shop assistant would point and start laughing at me and would realise I was worthless through and through and was probably some sort of pervert. Then one day a bloke behind the counter was talking to his fellow assistant about a dance single I was buying - "that Laurent Garnier thing? Oh, it was good but it's really STALE now". It didn't bother me. Was it a rites of passage thing?

Anyway, now I'm old I've developed really uncool taste in music and I'm not THAT scared to admit what I like.

I still can't look a shop assistant in the eye if I'm buying something like a rubbish 60's compilation though ...

Catpee said...

That last.fm sounds exactly like Launchcast without the intrusion. I love my Launchast radio station. Like that thing you have, it's very good at choosing stuff I'll like.

Urban Chick said...

jeepers, i ain't heard o' most o' them there folk

BUT

i have mastered* podcasting in the last 24 hours

* when i 'mastered', i mean i have downloaded two open source software packages and recorded a chicklet singing

Kyahgirl said...

erm, what nibus said....

Dave again said...

I'm a very private person, and keep my feelings and thoughts very much to myself. I cannot for the life of me explain why I started a blog. Perhaps there is a deep-seated need to share things, and it's OK on a blog, because no-one you're actually going to meet will read it.

Except I have now met five of my regular readers...

Is there room under your sofa for two?

patroclus said...

Morning all.

UC: so you're going to start podcasting from your blog? Wow, it's like a multimedia empire. Impressive.

I haven't heard of half of those bands either, btw. I was quite amazed to discover what I listen to. Apparently I'm, like, well into Minotaur Shock. Nope, me neither.

Dave, so do you get on better with these five readers in real life or in blog world?

LC said...

But P, we already know what's going on inside your head: I see your psyche as a chaotic battle-field, where an indestructable robotic Germain Greer wages eternal holy war against an army of gigantic fluffy kitten-warriors (all wearing fabulous shoes) for control of your soul. Plus there's a really cool soundtrack.

patroclus said...

That's quite possibly the coolest thing that anyone's ever said to me.

I'm off to sell the film rights to my interior life story to Hayao Miyazaki, and get the Flaming Lips working on the soundtrack. Woo!

Actually I'm off to Slough. But hey, it's almost the same.

Dave again said...

In real life I can't say the sorts of things I can as a blogger; I am however now constrained a certain amount, knowing that some people who know me are reading my blog. That saddens me.

So I have another blog, who's identity I refuse to reveal, where I can swear.

GreatSheElephant said...

I want a psyche like that. Stamps foot. I may link to this with an invitation to us all to speculate what is rampaging across our individual psyches.

lc, you rock.
you too P

MinCat said...

wot GSE said.

Tabby Rabbit said...

(Peers in). I think it's fabulous - you always listen to great music.

Dave F said...

Why I don't have an iPod or a cellphone: when I am out and about in this crazy old world, I want to hear the wind that's ruffling my hair, the birds singing Mozart, the snatches of loves and lives in passing conversations, the growl of a passing Porsche Carrera -- everything except people shouting at invisible characters on their phones.

patroclus said...

Dave, you big reactionary, you. Don't you know you can have *much better* birdsong piped directly into your brain via a bluetooth mp3 cellphone? Who needs the real world?

Merkin said...

Ladytron sounds to me like a female sex robot.

I feel rather musically inadequate in your cyber-presence, even if I did know about the Arctic Monkeys before any of the teeny boppers leapt aboard the bandwagon.

PS Apropos of not a lot, I've changed my mind about the Crown and Sceptre. Bit grotty now.

patroclus said...

Oh, and I hadn't even investigated the Crown & Sceptre yet. Which Bush-located drinking establishments are you favouring for 2006?

You're way ahead of me with the Arctic Monkeys btw. I don't think I've ever heard anything by them.

Spinsterella said...

I think I might just be the complete opposite to you Patroclus.

I believe that everyone should know exactly what I'm thinking all the time. So I speak very loudly, quickly and constantly.

It's for their own good.

Tabby Rabbit said...

I'm with you there Spinny. I tell people at bus stops my innermost thoughts. Not always a good thing.

BiScUiTs said...

I'm just glad I don't use iTunes! Having people knowing what I've been listening to seems scary to me as well. And I'm not even sure why.

the Beep said...

who would use iTunes when there is AllofMP3.com?
Same bag (and the downloads play in iTunes) for a tenth of the price....

patroclus said...

Yes, I've given up *buying* stuff from iTunes. Nasty proprietary technology. And who needs that when there's a lovely shop right opposite our office that sells tip-top albums for a fiver apiece? No one, that's who.