05 May 2009

Can you hear me?

I nearly ended up with my first cybernetic implant today.

Well almost, I got a bit of wire mesh stuck in my ear.

And in fairness, it wasn't really stuck, as a bit of head tilt and a couple of bashes on the opposite side freed the offending article.

I'm not in the nature of sticking things in my ear, but this little bastard had managed to free itself from my headphones, and was intent on burrowing it's way into my head.

It's probably (definitely) my own fault, as I'd recently taken them apart and poked and scraped at them with the pointy end of my broken, yet still functional sunglasses (the plastic ear thingies have fallen off, but I'm not going to chuck away a pair of Ray Bans with intact lenses just because I've had to bend the arms a little bit to stop them falling off).

I've got a pair of in-ear headphones, and they have a little wire mesh in them to protect the speakery bit, that would be perfect for making the worlds smallest cup of tea, or sieving flour for a teeny weeny Victoria sponge. They'd got a bit clogged up with general ear debris, so I'd pulled them apart and removed said gunk, and in the process managed to dislodge one of the filters.

I pushed it back in, but was aware that it might not be completely stable, but love the sound they make, so didn't want the inconvenience and expense of having to replace them.

Because headphones are important, and should never be underestimated for the difference they make to a good tune.

Nothing, well few things, make me more irrationally annoyed than seeing some tosser with their ipod sat on the table in front of them, or held out in front of them, with a pair of shitty apple earphones that come supplied with them.

Yes you've got an ipod. Well done for that.

Even on the bus or out in town when the ipod is in the offenders pocket, I see those cheap nasty headphones and get the urge to rip them out their ears and shove them up their arse, because that is where they belong.

The apple earphones are just a wanky status symbol that says 'No, I haven't got a generic mp3 player, mines an ipod, because I'm really cool'

Everyone's got one. Get over yourselves and learn to appreciate it for what it actually does, rather than just using it as a status symbol.

Wake up call. The headphones that came with your ipod are cheap and nasty, and that's exactly why they came with it. If there were none supplied, there would be an outcry because you wouldn't be able to use it, so Steve Jobs has tried to please everyone, by supplying a pair that are functional, and yet so cheap they are disposable.

They don't fit in your ears properly, so all the noise (which is tinny and bassless) goes straight into the skin below your ear, rather than the ear canal itself. Even if you do manage to get them balanced, if you so much as blink one of them will shift and the balance is shot to bits. And because they don't deliver the sound into your ear, you end up having to turn the volume up even louder, which fucks your battery life, increases distortion, and forces everyone else to listen to what you are, which is not necessarily a good thing if your ipod is having a hissy fit, and is also just plain rude. If I want to listen to something, I'm polite enough to realise that not everyone else will too, so please do me the courtesy of reciprocating the civilities.

Decent headphones come in a range from as little as £20 for a vast improvement on the freebies, to several hundred pounds for some noise cancelling, gold plated contacts, sweet, sweet 'phones.

Rather than bundling in a £20 pair, that the aficionado will have to pay the extra on the price of their ipod for, but still not use, you get the shit pair, then you, the consumer decides how much extra you want to pay for the listening experience, keeping the price of the ipod itself as low as possible.

I don't know what else works on a similar principle. Dress shirts perhaps? Blokes (and women who shop for their blokes because we are a bit shit at clothes shopping) will know that sometimes when you buy a double cuffed shirt, it comes with these knotted bits of string on the cuffs enabling you to do them up. Purely functional. Nobody in their right mind would go out with these pseudo cufflinks, but there are people with wrong minds that do, just as there are people with wrong minds that listen to music through the abominations that they got free with their ipod.

No, instead of bundling in an expensive pair of cufflinks, you get just enough to make the shirt work if your too stupid to realise that what your supposed to do is decide whether you want to get an attractive, and perfectly usable pair from Next, or spend a months wages on some that you swear make all the difference, but still look like the Next ones to everyone else.

So what I'm really advocating is you don't need to spend hundreds on a pair of headphones, but please spend at least £20. Mine were £30 - and I'd never pay more than that, and I don't want to have to replace them for the sake of a little bit of metal that could potentially get stuck in my brain.

But if I catch you with a pair of the one's that were bundled in the box, I'm going to cut them off, and you know where they're going. I bet the acoustics are great up there, but you know what? I bet you still wouldn't appreciate them.

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