Tuesday, 10 April 2007

For the oldest swinger in town

My son Justin has been on at me for some time to 'get with it', to embrace the modern technology and buy an MP3 player.

Personally, I don't see the point. I've got all the music I need in my extensive CD collection. Why I would want to replace it - probably at huge expense - with a new format, I can't for the life of me conceive. I have yet even to see MP3 music for sale in shops, ayway.

Yesterday, however, I found myself in the unusual position of actually buying such a player. Not for myself, you understand, nor even for young Justin. Instead, it is destined to be used by my grandmother, Ethel Blunt.

At 102, her arthritic hands make it somewhat difficult to change the tapes in her cassette player. She's also (more than once) become convinced that she's broken the darned thing, when all she's done is accidentally press the 'pause' button.

I considered a little CD player for her, but, I fear, the same difficulties would present themselves. Then, following a discussion with Justin, we agreed that perhaps the MP3 player is just what she needs. No tapes to change, no CDs to fumble with. Just 250 carefully selected tracks that (Justin tells me) me, we simply have to 'rip' and 'burn' to the player. She'll then just have one button to press, and she can be away in a world of her own.

And therein lay our dilemma. Her eyesight (she claims) is not so good - although she can spot a bit of fluff on the carpet at twenty feet, when she wants to). So we were looking for an MP3 player that could easily be used by a centenarian. The bigger the buttons - and the fewer of them to press - the better.

As we toured the shops in our quest, yesterday, Justin reminded me more than once that our search was counter-intuitive. The whole point of MP3 players, he said, was to contain the maximum amount of songs in the smallest amount of space. He was right. Virtually every model we inspected looked like it might be a key fob of some description.

Anyway, we finally hit upon one that looked like it might fit the bill. It was in Music Zone in Sunderland, where the disbelieving sales laddie shook his head more than once when we explained what we were after.

For those of my readers with aged relatives seeking a similar solution, I can commend to you the Prolectrix 1GB MP3/4 Player - just a shade under £45. I'm not sure that Prolectrix is a particularly big name in the world of audio technology, but I see that they also produce a line in Epilators, described as working "like a pair of large tweezers... the 36 discs rotate and twist bunches of hairs together, plucking them from the roots". I shall have to pass the news on to Mrs Blunt.

It's a brave man who accuses Bill Blunt of being a technophobe. I liked this little gizmo so much, I might even buy one myself. It will be sad to see the CD go the way of the old 33rpm record, I suppose. But you can't stop progress!

4 comments:

nursemyra said...

"twists bunches of hair together ripping them out at the roots"?

and that's supposed to be a selling point?

Thomas Hamburger Jnr said...

I'll have to ask Bill how they work out with Mrs Blunt. Personally, I'm not sure the 36 disc model will be up too the task. He may need to look for something a little more industrial for his wife's needs.

Crofty said...

I'm impressed - here was me thinking that I was trendy using a Mini-Disc player. Still, you can't record the Andy Kershaw programme on an MP3 player...I don't think, can you?

Thomas Hamburger Jnr said...

Justin told Bill that 'CD's, minidisks - they're all something called intermediate technology'. Bill's still trying to work out whether that was a compliment or not.