Wednesday, 26 February 2014

The Burning House and what I'd take.


I bought a book the other day which has caused me to evaluate what’s important to me in my life. It’s called ‘The Burning House’ and the premise is that your house is burning. You have to get out fast. Suddenly you are forced to prioritize, editing down a lifetime of possessions to a mere handful. Now you must decide: Of all the things you own, what is most important to you?

So are the things that are important to your life practical, valuable or sentimental. This is what separates us as individuals and makes us the people we are.

At first, I started to think about what I’d hate to lose in my life. Well all my music for starters. I’ve been collecting for as long as I can remember. I’d be in a terrible mess if I still had all the vinyl I’d bought over the years. Luckily, back in 2002, I started to convert all my records and CDs into mp3 format.

I now have a all my music on hard drive, well on one hard drive and two back up hard drives. There is also my playout computer system that has 42,000 songs that I can choose from for my radio shows. These songs are backed up onto 274 mp3 CDs as back up. So basically, It’s all comfortably backed up and can all be accessed from one of 3 hard drives.

Photos play an important part of my life as I’m a nostalgic kind of guy. I have all my photos on CDs and hard drives. All my pre-digital photos have been scanned and they are also on hard drive. However, there is one area I still need to address. When my Mum and Dad died, I took possession of three suitcases full of their old photos. These photos have played such an important part of my life. When I used to visit my parents, we’d often get the photos out and my Mum would tell me about the people on the photos. They were a part of the history of my family, and their friends.

I’ve managed to scan one of the suitcases of photos and have them on my hard drive, so I’ve still got a lot to do. Then, I suppose it would be a good idea to keep a back up hard drive of all the photos.

Having done that, two hard drives would pretty much contain the things that I’d struggle to replace.

Books would be another area where I’d struggle. I’ve thought about that and at a push I could leave all of them, because the favourite books could all be bought again.

I’m not really someone who values possessions too much, I could pretty much sell 99% of the stuff I have and replace with new.

So it comes down to what is irreplaceable – priceless – the stuff that it would break my heart to lose. When it comes down to it, what would I want to make sure I got on my way out of the door?

Well, the most important things to me, are probably worth very little on the open market, but they probably say more about me than anything else I own.

The most important possessions I have are four reel to reel tapes that belonged to my Dad. On these tapes are basically the songs and tunes that made me the music lover that I became so early in my life and continue to be today.

So what’s on them? Well, my Godfather owned a record shop, and my Dad used to borrow all the chart hits of the time, take them home and record them (A& B sides). The music on these tapes comes from the chart period of 1958 to 1960. I’m sure he had more tapes, but over the years they disappeared (although I don’t remember there being any more).

Besides all the singles, there’s one tape that has a very early Bill Haley LP on one side, and a Gene Vincent LP on the other side. The Bill Haley LP has songs dating back to 1953 on it, the Gene Vincent LP is from 1957. I've pretty much spent most of my life collecting the songs on these tapes.

The tapes are all still playable, but the music has degraded over the 50+ years since Dad recorded them.

It’s funny, I’d never really thought about it before, but now it seems to me that 2 hard drives and four reel to reel tapes could contain the goods and chattels of my life that are important.

Before I go, I just want to say that I’m talking about the things of my life, not the people!


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