I know you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, but that's good advice when it comes to "iPod, Therefore I Am - A Personal Journey Through Music" by Dylan Jones.
I have just read the first 100 pages and there are only another 150 page to go, or 320 if you count the 70 page appendix where he lists the contents of the playlists on his iPod.
I don't know if I will be reading any more.
It proves that the iPod is hot stuff when such a poorly written, ill conceived piece of twaddle can take up valuable shelf space in Waterstones.
The books is a mish-mash of technical mis-understandings presented as history and musings on music disguised as self revelation.
Here is an example of the author's excellent grasp of Apple history:
Chapter 1, Page 8
"Apple II's breakthrough was an application called VisiCale, the first proper spreadsheet. released in 1979, when Jobs was twenty-four."
What the hell is "VisiCale"? If it was the first "proper spreadsheet" what was the first "improper spreadsheet"? What this book proof-read by his cat?
When I read the following page in the book I was surprised that Tom Chi and Kevin Cheng hadn't been credited anywhere in the book when this was obviously a description of one of their creations. Doesn't Dylan know that a picture is worth a thousand words (or 142 in his case).
Chapter 5, Page 47
"It's only a small, three-panel cartoon, yet it speaks volumes about its subject.
Panel one is captioned 'The Road to Cupertino' and features two spiky-haired religious devotees, dressed appropriately in Buddhist-like garb, trudging through the forest. 'We're almost there, mate!' says the first. Almost where Ivan? You said we were going to a conference.'
In the second panel our two compadres are sitting in a crowd of similarly dressed geeks listening to an address from a fellow disciple. 'We're going to do way more than that!' says our first friend. 'We've come to pay homage to "The One"...and I would appreciate it if you referred to me as iVan with a small i from now on.' 'The One?' replies his friend.
Panel three is captioned 'The One they call Ive' and features a picture of the designer sitting in the lotus position, arms folded, dressed only in a robe, levitating over one of his creations."
I wonder if Tom and Kev got a free copy of the book, because their fantastic comics didn't get a mention from Mr Jones.
I just wish I had read this review before I handed over my hard earned cash.
The truth is, Jones does not have anything much to say; he even quotes his wife at one point, which is always a bit of a give-away. His book flips between dull business and technical stuff about Apple and a record-buying hop through his life. This takes the form of a series of essays on passions from punk to lounge, Van Morrison to the Beatles. All of these have been far better analysed elsewhere, however. Jones brings nothing new to the turntable, beyond informing us that Bryan Ferry once admired his trousers.
As for the way the iPod has affected the way we listen to and consume music, well, he is too enslaved to probe. "The iPod is to music what penicillin was to medicine," says U2's manager, Paul McGuinness. Rather than hold this statement up to scrutiny, Jones quotes it meekly, unquestioningly. He would rather get back to his appendices: a whopping 78 pages of playlists. Because, in spite of its pretensions, this is really only a book of lists in disguise. It is so ironic: a tiny oblong of glowing, white plastic can hold 10,000 songs, yet a big, fat hardback like this is able to strike only one, wobbly note.
PS. I have been offline for almost a month because of my incompetent brodaband provider Telewest (there's a story I need to get off my chest sometime!). I have just started on my e-mail mountain so I apologise to anyone I haven't mailed to recently.