My first job in San Francisco was with a dot-com start-up, back in the summer of 2000, where my audio skills came in handy. In my quieter moments I would spend a bit of time on Napster, almost exclusively - and this was my justification - downloading music that I had on CDs and tapes left behind in England. I grew to appreciate the way it allowed you to browse through other people's collections of music, and would often, if I found something a little esoteric, message the person, and occasionally formed some online friendships. The example that sticks in my mind was when someone started downloading some tracks that I had by the Fire Engines. Now, they were a very obscure Glasgow band from the classic days of Postcard Records in 1980-1, so I assumed I was dealing with someone of my generation from the UK. It turned out instead to be a young woman in Buenas Aires, and that was fun, because one of my regular Napster correspondents was a student in North or South Carolina with a taste for Scott Walker who had mentioned an imminent trip to Buenas Aires. I got the two of them in touch with each other, but never heard in the end if they indeed met up or what came of it.
On Friday, not having a spectacularly happy day, I got a card in the post. It turned out to be my reader from Guernsey, who, it turns out, was only there temporarily (I had noticed the island disappearing from the stats, and wondered if I had somehow scared them off). She also turns out to be an old friend of Sandy in Scotland, who as I recall, only found this blog while searching for something stat-related, and whose blog I continue to enjoy. I hope I won't embarrass her by quoting the opening lines: "I am, by nature, anonymous, a leaf on a tree indistinguishable from, and hidden amongst, billions of other leaves. But sometimes a chance remark from half-way round the world reminds me of my connectedness to the whole tree". The card was a lovely screen-print of a Tunnock's Tea Cake, a delicacy I have not enjoyed for some time. My sombre mood evaporated.
As an old Buddha said, "There is no remedy for satisfying hunger other than a painted rice cake".