Listening To Music — A Lonely Experience

No hay mal que por bien no venga. That translates to a bad thing comes your way for a good reason.

On Saturday night after our Mother’s Day dinner I noticed that my CD player had gone through the last tune of Bill Evans — Conversations with Myself. I put another CD, Trevor Pinnock — Bach Partitas and my player told me I had forgotten to insert a CD. This was not the case. I inserted another CD and the same indication was there. It was then that I knew that my Sony CD player was toast.

In our home the CD player is not the only method to listening to music although we discount ever listening to anything on the net with our computer’s tinny speakers. I have an extensive record collection and a very good tape player that I purchased for a song at The Captain’s on Alma and Broadway here in Vancouver. The Captain opted for politics instead of selling good used stereo systems. He closed his store and disappeared.
I did have a third option. I have a tuner and I must state here that a tuner, no matter what people might tell you, is not just a radio.

I chose to play tapes and I started with Art Bergmann’s 1991 Polygram recording Art Bergmann. From there I went for The Modern Jazz Quartet & Guests: Third Stream Music and Ron Carter playing Bach’s Cello Suites on pizzicato string base.

Then I opened the lid of my Sony linear tracking turntable and played Brubeck & Mulligan- Live In Concert, New Fantasy — Lalo Schifrin and a very old but still playable Argentine pressing of Dizzy Gillespie y Los Dobles Seis de Paris.

The experience was pleasant except I began to mull on the idea that when I listen to music these days I know of nobody who shares my tastes or even if they do, will they be willing to sit with me in the living room. The idea of waiting for the trombone part in Ravel’s Bolero with someone besides yourself seems to be an alien experience in these days of personal play lists, ear buds and one’s cell phone.

I associate Stan Getz’s beautiful Focus (with arrangements or composition by Eddie Sauter) and Jazz Samba with intense darkroom printing with my friend Robert Hijar back in the early 60s in Mexico City.
My first memory of listening to music by myself was when my girl friend Corina left for England from Buenos Aires in 1965. I went home after waving her goodbye on the dock of Puerto Nuevo and played Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue, over and over until I became so depressed it almost felt good.

Five or six years ago before my friend architect Abraham Rogatnick died; he, my friend Graham Walker and I sat in my living room after lunch to listen to Handel’s Julio Cesare live from the Met. It was a Saturday.
Rosemary prefers the bed to sitting in our spacious living room that has a pair of excellent JBL studio monitors on one end. I listen to music, not too often, alone. The music takes me to my past and I think of shared memories with people dead or living somewhere else.

My friend Paul Leisz told me to skip going to London Drugs and to try the Future Shop for a new CD player. He did warn me that I might have to buy either a DVD player or a Blue Ray DVD player.

At the Future Shop I was met (I had to really try hard to get their attention and consider that since it was 30 minutes before closing on a Sunday I was the only customer) by surly, bored, unhelpful and badly informed attendants. I was shown a compact CD player with a radio and two square speakers. “This is all we have.” I tried the home sound area and the two employees there stared at me and kept chatting. I left for London Drugs. There for $24 I purchased a Sylvania DVD player. It does not have all the buttons my Sony CD player had but I can go from one tune to the next or skip with the remote. How about that? Twenty four dollars for a unit that includes a remote? Yes!

Rosemary went to Lillooet for a week with our daughter Ale who teaches elementary school there. Sunday night was an evening of listening to my new CD (DVD) player and randomly picking music that was all over the place. It was fun but it was a lonely experience. It has to be a sign of the times we live in. Accurate sound

Link to: Listening To Music — A Lonely Experience

Originally published at

Into Bunny Watson. I am a Vancouver-based magazine photographer/writer. I have a popular daily blog which can be found at: