I wrote earlier this month of technological woes, specifically the death of hard drives, and I continue to hear of other people’s troubles with technology. Earlier today I picked up that refurbished Hard Disk Recorder with built-in DVD burner and Freeview receiver. I commented on Hard Disk troubles to the chap in the shop, and he said that his parents had had 5 or 6 Sky boxes that had failed, which needed to be replaced every time. Yesterday evening, discussing “The Hollow Crown” with a friend (on the way to see “Richard II” at the Barbican, David Tennant in the title role) he said that he’d recorded it but the Hard Drive he was using had failed before he’d got around to watching it. It made me think of the programmes that I’d recorded and not seen yet when my BT Vision box failed: the “Imagine” documentary about the stage production of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time”, and part 3 of a BBC4 series about Rock ’n roll America. I was looking forward to them. In the days before the Hard Drive had failed I had seen the first two parts of the Rock ’n roll America series, and it was more resonant than it might have been if I’d seen it when originally transmitted. Among the contributors were PF Sloan (elusive writer of “Eve of Destruction” among other memorable songs) and the writer-producer Allen Toussaint, both of whom died towards the end of 2015, and both featured on the “Matter of life and death” segment of Paul Gambaccini’s show.
Still, on a technologically positive note, my wife’s beloved Kindle Paper White has taken a turn for the better. The age-old solution of “turning it off and turning it back on again” seems to have done the trick. And my 1998-era Sony Mini Disc player, which I was using to record and play back some spoken words earlier this week, is working as well as ever, nearly 18 years after I first bought it.