Sunday, January 15, 2012

Doctor, I have CD rot


Do doctors and dentists decide for themselves what magazines are stocked in their waiting room?
And if they don't, who does?

Reader, I am old enough to know that it was fact, not just a popular notion, that all doctors' and dentists' waiting rooms once stocked copies of Punch (and in some cases Country Life).
By my time they had become anachronistic and unloved, an unquestioned convention almost, and I was drawn to Punch in part by the pristine allure of the neat, untouched stacks of them one invariably found. (Hip to the streets even then, I became a fan, and Pick of Punch buyer, during the final years of Alan Coren's editorship.)

The new Punch is Classic FM Magazine. You get the feeling that this is as close as a doctor can get to the demotic but is an attempt to connect with the masses all the same: after all, it's not Gramophone; it's got Myleene Klass on the cover. Like Punch, the ratio of ill to healthy readers must be at least 4:1. The list of subscribers must read like the end credits of Casualty.

I've had to go to the hospital a few times lately, and can confirm that Classic FM Magazine is a hoot, well worth the kidney stones, in fact.
I especially like the little highlighted boxes containing soundbites from the station's presenters.

Simon Bates has ideas for how to keep the children entertained this Summer: "Why not enjoy Classic FM on your long car journeys?"

I was also diverted for many minutes by an advert for big wallets to store all your CDs and DVDs in, made by a company called Arrowfile.
Have you heard about this 'CD rot' business? It's apparently caused by plastic CD cases, and the only way to prevent it is to put your discs in big wallets made by a company called Arrowfile.
"It's a myth that CDs will last a lifetime!" screams the ad in big red type, above a kind of rubber stamp impression-type logo, that says: PVC FREE - Prevents CD Rot!
And there's testimonial from a grateful customer called Mrs Mae: "I am shocked to learn that CD cases may accelerate CD rot (rust), and surprised to discover that manufacturers recommend vertical storage to prevent this."

We're all shocked, love.
Is this true? Or do they just want me to buy the big wallets?
I've no idea but I'm now madly looking for signs of CD rot (rust) whenever I play one.
Is it visible to the naked eye? Can it be reversed or halted once detected? Or is a diagnosis already too late? Can it spread from CD to CD? Can it spread from CD to people? I can't sleep now. Damn you, Arrowfile!

Classic FM Magazine has invited its readers to email questions to Katherine Jenkins.
They want to know if she would wear a wig if she ever sang Carmen (maybe, but she has no immediate plans to), if she has any diet secrets (not really), would she ever "launch commodities under (her) own brand name - i.e. perfume or underwear" (no immediate plans to) and if she has any plans to visit Australia (no immediate plans to).
Next month: Russell Watson, probably.

Also making the headlines in the classical world is the theme music of the new Batman film (New Batman score goes Kapow!) and Natasha Marsh's version of Mozart's 'Queen of the Night' from The Magic Flute, specially arranged for ITV's coverage of Euro 2008. There's a picture of her in a ballgown holding a football. "I love football, and I love the passion, beauty and power that football and music share... Everyone's waiting for that moment, and everyone feels the goosebump factor."

Just time for some hi-fi equipment reviews.
There are things called i-Pod docks, which even I can see are just speakers for an i-Pod.
The review begins: "Unless you've been living under a stone for the past few years, you'll be all too aware of the ongoing digital music revolution."
Exactly the tone to take with readers of a specialist classical music publication.
It continues: "But listening to your music on an MP3 player or through a computer is only the half of it - what about listening to your tunes out loud?"
'Tunes'. Like it.
But isn't out loud the way we all used to listen to our choons, back in the olden days?
These reviews are crazy; surely unfair as reviews.
The Logitech Pure-Fi Anywhere is good because; "Listening to tenor Andrea Bocelli sing the emotive 'Time To Say Goodbye', his voice sounds clear, strong and full of emotion".
Is that how you test them, then? Just don't buy the i-Pod docks where Andrea Bocelli comes out singing the emotive 'Time To Say Goodbye' like a girl.
Then there's this which, unless I'm wrong, means absolutely nothing at all:
"There may not be quite the same level of bass as delivered on other iPod docks but in terms of playing a tune, this Logitech is a class leader."
In terms of playing a tune? What is this maniac talking about?
Or there's the Griffin Evolve, ideal if "you want an easy, reliable way of sending music to different rooms".
Actually, since all three models under review have the same maximum star rating and are each labelled the best, albeit the best at different things, this is basically an advert.
The B&W Zeppelin is 'Best for looking good' (all-important, I have no doubt), as well as the one to go for if you "want an i-Pod dock to set tongues wagging".
(B&W's tagline, by the way is: 'Listen and you'll see'.)
But it's not just an odd-shaped black plastic thing of beauty. There's also the matter of sound, or "sonic prowess" if you will. And at £400, it's "worth the extra money if you crave something close to true hi-fi performance". Yep, that's modern technology. 400 smackers for something close to what you're looking for.

Ah, but what about defence against i-Pod dock rot? I don't know: the doctor was ready to see me at this point.