October 29, 2017 at 4:13 pm #5634
The fires in Northern California have had an impact on all of our lives here in the Bay Area, quite drastically for some people. Many people have lost their lives, and many more have lost their homes and possessions. I have friends who had to remain on alert in preparation for evacuating their homes. This made me think about what I would do if I had a but a few minutes warning to evacuate my home, knowing that when I left, whatever I left would likely be consumed in flames. What would I choose to take with me? The first and most obvious answer is that your life is the only essential. Your family and your pets, these are the things that no insurance policy can replace. But if you had your life and the lives of those you love assured of safety, and there was time for one or two personal items, which would you choose? Posing the question in this space intends to reference audio gear and music, leaving aside things like photos, money, passports and identification, that might otherwise have priority. My own ramblings appear below, hastily thought out, but without the imminent threat of peril. Please consider sharing your own thoughts, and perhaps even your own story if you were one of those who actually had to make the decision to flee.
The thought of moving anything over a few dozen vinyl records seems like it would be a daunting proposition were I faced with an imminent brush with death, though that may be true of any task when faced with imminent death. There would also be the task of trying to quickly decide which of my vinyl records would be most valuable, or hardest to replace. That my record collection lives in five different room of my house doesn’t help, though I’ll plead that is due more to the small size of my house than it is to the large size of my record collection. In an emergency situation, I can see myself just grabbing a handful at random from one of the shelves, or perhaps none at all. This is where those in the digital music camp gets to feel superior to the vinyl faction. And this is also where I would choose to go too. Quantity over quality? My digital music collection of thousands of albums and rips of LP’s, backed up on a portable hard drive from my NAS, could fit in my shirt pocket.
Beyond the music, I’d love to preserve the items I’ve made. I’ve built a phono stage, a preamplifier, a turntable, and a pair of speakers, among other things, and in the process, I’ve made some wonderful friends from the DIY community. The experience of learning how to make something, and then making it is something insurance would not cover, and if it did, I’d still lose out as my speaker kit is no longer available for purchase, though with enough time I could construct it on my own. As for the turntable, it was the lengthiest, most arduous DIY project I’ve done, mostly because, after I designed it, I had to find other people to do the machine work, which added greatly to the time. So, do I grab the speakers and the turntable? The speakers are physically large, and the turntable is close to 100 lbs. To take them I’d have to choose my 23-year-old pick up, which would leave the sports car to melt in the garage? More decisions that would have to be made amidst the heat and smoke and panic of impending death. And then there’s the artwork. Not valuable in an luxurious sense, but some of it is irreplaceable, and all of it comes with a memory of the relative or artist who created it. But if I truly thought my house and all its belongings were going to parish, I guess I should imagine my future living situation to be something impermanent and not necessarily conducive to housing non- portable electronic devices. Perhaps locating the portable music players and headphones and Bluetooth devices and bringing them along would be a good priority?
November 1, 2017 at 5:54 pm #5639
I lost virtually everything – photos, keepsakes, heirlooms, furniture, appliances, books, collectibles and such – four years ago. I would happily flee empty-handed. Thinking beyond myself, I would grab the recordings I have made or bought/bartered that are available nowhere else. Art still matters; my experience taught me that things don’t.
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