Thursday, September 17, 2009

Let me bore you about my headphones

Previously on my meaningless meanderings: my headphones broke.

 A friend recommended Bang & Olufsen's A8 headphones, saying they were a bit pricey, but really good quality. I'm always happy to have other people make decisions for me, and clutching my end-of-year bonus letter in hand (if not the actual money, then surely the next best thing), I toddled off to the posh end of Collins Street.

 The B&O shop was everything I had imagined whenever I'd walked past one in the past. Well, hurried past, just in case I got charged for looking at their high-end displays. Inside there were large televisions, hooked up to to matt black boxes with only a single LED and one switch (labelled "mmmmm"). Speakers dotted the landscape, shaped like the robots that should have been bringing me my martini after a hard day's work, if only those 1950s scientists had worked harder.

 The sales lady was explaining the function of what looked like a silvery wall tile to another customer. I padded softly across the deep carpet to the small headphones section, trying not to think about the twinges of pain in my wallet. "We'll be with you in a minute, sir", said the sales lady, turning back to her customer to reassure her that when the silvery tile analyses your brainwaves to determine the kind of music you'd want to hear, it would only tickle slightly.

 A tall man appeared at my elbow, seemingly extruded from one of the matt black boxes behind me, and helped me try the headphones out. I betrayed my humble origins by being so rude as to bring up the subject of price early in the conversation. $220. Or $350 if you want the iPhone ones with a microphone and button thing on the cord. I had to ask him to make me a cup of tea, just so I could take a mouthful and sputter it out all over him in shock.

 I stuck with the non-microphone version. It's not as if anyone evr phones me anyway. We filled in the warranty details together. He gave me a matt black, subtle, understated, little bag marked only with a feint B&O logo and the words "More money than sense" and I went on my way, feeling much lighter having been relieved of that burdensome money.

 This was the end of my brief, but enjoyable, relationship with Blake, the sales person. Or so I assumed. Yesterday, the handwritten card below arrived in the post.

Blake had written me a card, congratulating me on my sensible purchase of such a wonderful piece of technology, and bidding me good fortune in any future technology purchasing endeavours. If any of those purchases could be fulfilled by a B&O product, he would be overjoyed to help.
 
So moved was I by his beautiful penmanship and sentiments, that I was tempted to write back. I imagined a lengthy correspondance, spanning many years, initially on the subject of audio equipment but branching out into illuminating discussions on art, philosophy, the scientific theories of the day. Eventually, perhaps upon my death, these wonderful conversations would be collected into sumptuous, leather- bound, volumes and become bestsellers, pored over by academics for the insights contained therein. Some would devoutly follow the Blakeian school, others the Jonesian, and fierce debates would rage. Schoolboys would memorise the witty banter and erudite exchanges, collapsing in giggles whenever a line was quoted.
 
Sadly, it was not to be. My wife took a pin to the bubble of my imagined future and gently translated the message for me: "please give us more of your money". Heatbroken by Blake's deceitful marketing tactic, I cast the sumptuous, yet subtle, card into the recycling.
 
What's that? Are the headphones any good? Yes, they're fucking awesome. I recommend them to anyone that has a shitload of money.

Posted via email from Gareth's posterous

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