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From this morning's train ride..
I can't work out if Shuffle mode is killing music, or saving it..

This morning I've been listening to Better Ways to Self Destruct and This Is Where I Stand, in both cases listening to tracks in the order in which they were intended. It must be the first time I've done that in years now, which is odd.

Normally if I'd even queue up all the tracks on the albums (and normally I'd pick and choose), they'd be shuffled anyway, so I wouldn't really get the effect I used to..

Back when I bought the albums in early 2003, I didn't have an mp3 player, so I had to make do with my old CD player for listening to stuff when I was out and about.. So my first experiences of the albums were very much in the correct order. So listening to them like that again kind of takes me back to still being at uni, in the summertime in Brighton. It's a happy place, far removed from the cold and rain in Cardiff :o)

I was thinking the other day, the stuff that ends up in my journal these days is somewhat dull.. I'm not entirely bothered by that - this was never for other people anyway. It's always been about remembering how life used to be down the line - that's why I'm so glad I've got over six years worth of stuff in here.. I can see what I used to do before I went to uni, what I used to think about in my first year, that sort of thing..

Nevertheless, I don't think I do any of it justice any more.. My thoughts used to be in the form of sentences, and I could just transfer them directly from my head to the keyboard. Not so any more.. For starters, I don't think in sentences so much.. I think in epiphanies and patterns most of the time.. it's all about subtle changes in perspective and understanding, and I find it very hard to translate that into words. I find it hard to even explain what I mean by that..

I suppose it's only natural - my brain hits overdrive at about 7am and doesn't slow down again until I get home from work.. in that time, I have two long train journeys, during which I can't really communicate with others. So I just kind of think.. About politics, about economics, about biology, and about how the world actually fits together.

But it's hard to say exactly what those thoughts actually are.. it's more just considering logical relationships, and cause and effect stuff.. Like I said, I can't explain it.. The other day in Nip/Tuck, a character died. She was just sitting there, the camera angle changed, and even though we couldn't see her it was suddenly instantly obvious that she was dead. But you try putting into words exactly what thoughts took you to that conclusion, trying to summarise in few sentences what it took your brain just a fraction of a second to realise. Those are the thoughts that occupy my mind a lot of the time - they describe how the jigsaw pieces all come together to build the world, but it's impossible to be specific..

But that said, don't for a second think that I'm engaged in some sort of deep philosophical consideration of the mysteries of the world. It's nothing so impressive.. The quality of my thoughts is no better than it used to be, it's just more obscure.. Like I said, it comes from not having the opportunity to articulate thoughts written in English, and so abandoning the language in favour of something that fits directly into my worldview.. And that's the thing I guess - the thoughts are kind of in machine code, they plug right into my thought processes and perception of the universe. It's kind of cool..

I suspect none of this makes any sense.. I am unconcerned. It's given me something to think about on the train, which is enough for me :o)

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I'm abstaining from shuffle for the time being ,as it's making listening to music an utterly passive experience. Because I commute 3 hours a day and can't be bothered to actively decide on music to listen to, I use shuffle all the time. But last week I tried to choose something and found that out or 6000 tracks there was nothing I had the slightest desire to listen to.

Now that I'm forcing myself to actually select tracks and, preferably, albums to listen to, I'm enjoying it a lot more. Shuffle is brilliant though, in moderation.

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