ON SHUFFLING WITH IPODS AND "RADIO LUCK" . . . At DennisKennedy.blog, Dennis Kennedy has been thinking about the iPod's "shuffle songs" feature. Kennedy says that although iPod playlists are nice, he's been using the iPod's shuffle feature as a way of "surrendering to the element of randomness" to see if he can "simply relax and give up the need for control."
I also like the iPod's shuffle feature, although I've always thought of it in terms of "radio luck." Radio luck was first described by one of Nicholson Baker's characters in his 1992 novel Vox--
[I]t seems to me that you really need the feeling of radio luck in listening to pop music . . . If you buy the record, or the tape, then you control when you can hear it, when what you want is for it to be like luck, and like fate, and to zoom up and down the dial, looking for the song you want, hoping some station will play it--and the joy when it finally rotates around is so intense.
When I first read those lines in 1992, they struck home. Fourteen years later, I don't listen to the radio anymore. The fun of radio luck, however, is still there: just use your iPod to shuffle songs, and see how often the songs you like most turn up. It's even a little luckier than radio: since you've chosen the music on your iPod, you're much more likely to get lucky.
Related post: "Nicholson Baker Update: The Law of Fictional Bumpings-Off."