Quarter Life Crisis

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Die Kugeln in unseren Köpfen

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Robert Die Kugeln in unseren Köpfen book cover gave me Die Kugeln in unseren Köpfen by Max Goldt for my birthday this year - cheekily establishing a tradition here after having given Ä bei Max Goldt as well for another birthday before. It contains two years' worth of columns that Max Goldt wrote for the "ultimate" satire magazine Titanic in 1993 and 1994.

The texts are funny and sometimes sport rather deep observations about people today and Germans in particular. Although being a couple of years old already, most of these observations still hold.

When starting to read the book, I found that reading all the columns like a normal book was a bit tiring, repetitve even. Probably the style used for a monthly column isn't necessarily best for continuous reading. So I read them one bye one, which was fine. The very last piece, written in December 1994, contains a particularly true observation that I've made myself as well:

Einer der wenigen wirklichen Nachteile der CD gegenüber der Analogplatte ist, daß die Abspielgeräte die Gesamtspieldauer anzeigen [...].

He states that one real drawbrack of CD players in comparison to record players is that they display the total playing time of a CD, thus drawing unnecessary attention to it. This attention in turn seems to make musicians (or their managers) feel obliged to produce 60 or 70 minute CDs instead of traditional 35 or 40 minute LPs. Now, sustaining 60 minutes of brilliant music is of course harder and most current CDs seem to contain a couple of space fillers to get a full hours' worth of sound.

However, there's hope. For one - many good new CDs are bold enough to "only" have the traditional 30 to 40 minute LP length, notably The Strokes' Is this it at 36:24, The Libertines Up the Bracket at 36:40, The White Stripes' albums which are around 40 minutes each, The von Bondies' Lack of Communication at 32:33 or Adam Green's debut album at a mere 30:42 minutes.

Now I don't want to suggest that that it's impossible to make a good long album - I can for sure come up with a couple of counterexamples myself - it just seems harder, particularly for certain kinds of music. And why try too hard if you can make a perfectly satisfactory 35 minute album? Similar observations could also be made for the length of the songs themselves. Perhaps to be discussed at another time - iTunes' smart playlist feature can be quite helpful here as for other music observations.

Thinking about the CD-length-observation a bit more, gives me another reason to think that I've bought the right stereo: It doesn't display a CD's total length by default, just the number of tracks on the CD. Which is probably the more useful bit of information anyway.

[Buy at amazon .com, .uk, .de]

November 24, 2002, 13:29

Tagged as book, lang:de, max goldt, titanic.

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