Election Time Bhangra

You might want to click on the button below to start the accompanying music loading whilst you are reading this journal-entry. It’s approximately 1.3Mbytes – which shouldn’t take more than a moment or two to load up – and only needs to be done once. Don’t forget to turn up the volume – best heard loud!

In just over a week’s time the UK citizens (or should that be “British Subjects”) will go to the polls to vote for new Members of Parliament. I’ve lived through these momentous events a few times now – and I have always taken a great interest in the news and political shenanigans occuring in the run-up to the big day. Also – I have always voted, and in one case (in 1997) I believe myself to have been the first person in the nation to have voted. (I was first to turn up to the polling station – it was 6.45am and I had to get to work early and I couldn’t afford to be 5 hours late due to being stuck in a mega-traffic jam caused by a hoax IRA bomb on the M25 near Hemel Hempstead as had been experienced a few days prior – so they kindly let me cast my vote before the official 7am opening.)

This time, however, things are a bit different. The whole event is just plain disinteresting. At least last time there was a funny guy in charge of the opposition party (William Hague) who actually seemed to offer some rational oratory in his public speaking. This time we have a guy who stands in front of the podium labelled with the words “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” – a question so irritating and patronising that you end up thinking about the irritability of the question rather than what the guy is speaking about.

No – this time I’m less interested in the elections – and more interested in downloading songs from iTunes – even though I don’t have an Apple or an iPod. Actually, I’m extremely proud of the fact that I don’t have an iPod – as I’d be too ashamed of having so much music storage capacity and not enough music to fill it up – and, instead, would probably end up storing all the Powerpoint Presentations and Microsoft Word docs that I get at work which are too big for the email system at work to cope with. And besides – almost everybody and their pet dog has got an iPod these days – I think it’s positively fashionable to *not* have one.

So – instead of trying to work out who I’m going to vote for next week – I’ve been trying to work out how to transfer the music that I’ve downloaded from iTunes onto my MP3 player. Unfortunately – there’s no straightforward way doing it. The problem is that the iTunes are in protected AAC+ format (which is OK if you own an unfashionable iPod – which I obviously do not) – and there isn’t a readily-available way of convert these to unprotected MP3 – not without spending some more money anyway. So – instead – the workaround is to convert the iTunes to audio-CD format – i.e. to burn them onto a CDROM – and then use (say) Windows Media Player to rip them back onto your hard drive again – as MP3s. A bit tedious (and a waste of a CD if, like me, you don’t really play CDs any more) – but it works – and at least I can play the iTunes on anything that plays MP3s – which apart from dedicated, fashionable MP3 players like my own – also includes most DVD players, Home Theatre boxes and recent CD players too.

So now I am listening to Juggy D on max volume and in full glorious 128kbps stereo on my fashionable MP3 player’s headphones (which are not dazzlingly-brilliant-white like those that come with the unsophisticated iPod owners like to wear) – doing a bhangra-style jig from my front door all the way to the Route 79 bus stop – without having had to buy the whole album – and not caring for one minute about the General Election.

iTunes is more interesting than the election.
(Although you can see that someone in the neighbourhood does care!)

In case you are interested – Juggy D is a second-generation British Indian (Punjabi) – born and brought up in Southall (West London) and started performing at the age of 14 – and now a member of the Rishi Rich Project ( and Two Point Nine) – churning out a unique form of decidedly British Punjabi music very popular with the British youth of all backgrounds and getting a lot of exposure in the Asian nightclub scene and also on radio stations like Club Asia, Kiss 100FM and BBC Radio 1. Hit the play button at the top of this article to hear a popular dance track called “Billo” by Juggy D from his 2004 album.

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