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msknight

Michelle's corner

Michelle Knight. Writer, photographer, programmer, truck driver and general, all round nut case. Life is a journey and that's what this blog will probably end up being. Let's see where we go, eh? ;-)

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Do You Mind If I Smoke
Fenella Fielding
Zero Point
Neal Asher

I want to tell you a story....

This, is an Aiwa HS PX-303. Actually, it's an HS PX-30. I thought I'd better own up before some eagle eyed person calls me on it. The difference? This one's from Japan. At the moment, it won't run. Why? I've removed all the major capacitors and the new ones I need won't even be manufactured until June. That's how difficult it is to get the parts for these suckers.

 

 

One of the reasons I've been quiet around here for a while is... oh.. hang on. Let's start at the beginning.

 

When I was young, I was a student. Being away from home, I was facing the most difficult decision of my life... the decision to change sex. I was lucky in that I was in Sheffield, and also in Mensa. I had access to a number of people who pulled no punches. If I decided to go ahead, it would likely mean the loss of my family, my friends, starting life all over again, but this time, alone. You can see how this would lead to a lot of sleepless nights.

 

This unit kept me company as I walked the streets of Sheffield at night, playing music in my ears as I turned everything over in my mind, putting one foot in front of the other in the darkness.

 

The other thing that kept me diverted was Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. Still only about a quarter written by that time, I would see lonely Christmases through with a pile of books and a smaller pile of chocolate.

 

Well, firstly, the unit pictured above isn't the one that spent so close a time on my hip. No. That unit was stolen before I left Sheffield in the mid 90's and I never had the money to get another one. The thing that had been closest to me in my darkest hours... well, I don't need to tell you guys how I felt.

 

That was, until recently. I've been looking for a replacement for many years, but these days they are as rare as hens teeth. In December I joined a forum, by chance. In short order a kind soul in France sent me two units on the proviso that if I manage to fix them both, that I return one to him. Also, another one was sold to me from Japan, from someone in America, but was posted from Israel. Now it's in the UK. Yes, that's how convoluted this got, in very short order.

 

As it happens, the forum had gone through a bit of a rough patch, and there was more than ten years of precious posts, locked in a database. Well, I offered my services, free gratis, as you do. Took a while, but I created an engine to traverse the old database and bring back the knowledge that had been built there over all that time. Also, to give access to the pictures and documents that had been recorded as database gibberish.

 

Out of nowhere, as means of thanks, the owner of the forum (who lives in Spain) has offered for one of these units to go to Slovakia to be repaired. Talk about as ye sow, so shall ye reap.

 

All this is without addressing the issue of the battery, of course. The lead acids are long dead, but someone in China is installing new technology in the old housings. I have one here and need to track more. I'm talking to someone in Hong Kong who does miracles with old games consoles, who is acting as in-between, because I don't speak Mandarin... but that's a whole different story.

 

So... I'm hoping that by the summer of 2018 comes, that I'll be able to walk through the sunny countryside, listening to Tony Robbinson narrating Discworld on cassette. If I'm really lucky, my friend, who has been listening to audio books for years in the car, will have a copy of Colour of Magic narrated by Nigel Planer. Now that would be a treat...

 

So now you know one of the reasons why I've been quiet for so long. If you happen to see a picture of me, one day, out in the sunshine, holding one of these decks in one hand, and a cassette of Discworld in the other... then you'll know that a long and painful ghost, has been put to rest.

 

(and this is the short version, by the way!)

 

Incidentally, April will likely see the re-write of Companion and Leader, as I've taken two weeks off to supervise the bathroom being ripped out and rebuilt... but that... as they say... is a whole 'nother story.

 

From years of searching, to three, all in a matter of weeks...