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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Friday, August 19, 2005
    Radio off
    Here's a list of things I have which currently don't work due to electrical failure:

    Shower (ON-OFF switch doesn't come on);
    Remington hairclipper recharger (dead after a decade's service);
    Camera (dropped it in water, never been the same since);
    Car nearside brake light (Halfords sold me a dud);
    Car clock light (Fused);
    Car radio light (Fused);
    Car radio itself (Lost security code when I tried to fix the fuse)

    These are all telling losses, but it's the latter one which I find causing me the most grief. I noticed it this evening on the way home from a raid on Probe. I couldn't listen to my new purchase (Blue Cathedral by Comets on Fire) on the journey . And somehow, therefore, the journey felt diminished.

    Joe Moran is already onto this, as are other cultural commentators, as he explains in Reading the Everyday. He's writing about the Mondeo because of the symbolic status that vehicle has attained in our society (the resident of Middle England as 'Mondeo Man'). He says that 'with its well-equipped cabin decorated in tasteful ebony or camel leather, the Mondeo creates a micro-environment that cocoons its occupants from the outside world. It is a comfortably predictable 'non-place''. And he quotes Kristin Ross's suggestion that 'The [car journey] ... has become the respite, the retreat. A miraculous object ... a home away from home, a place for solitude or intimacy.'

    And by extension, the best place for listening to music. I don't have a Mondeo but all this applies to me. Now my car radio's bust I have to renegotiate my relationships with vehicle, with journey, with music, with home. Maybe it will be a change for the better.