A couple of years back, having read 31 Songs by Nick Hornby a vague idea to attempt something similar had been lurking in my subconscious until, as I lay in bed, trying to avoid getting up to resume the final preparations for a school excursion to the big smoke, my thoughts turned to the idea and I came up with something I thought might work.

Like a lot of things I’ve started, the initial burst of activity was followed by almost total inactivity. But, with this web site, I’m back on task and looking to make some progress on what could be an intriguing little exercise.

So, here I am, comfortably into the twenty-first century, sitting in the Little House of Concrete and trying to make sense of the thirty-thousand tracks located on the iMac’s hard drive with a substantial subset located on the iPod.

The particular little satori that came to me as I lay in bed a couple of years ago wishing I could get back to sleep was that 31 Songs or 31 Themes or 31 Somethings was also a way of approaching the contents of my iTunes folder so that playlists and things like that could be compiled.

If you’re anything like me, the tendency for people to classify things into genres is an exercise in total futility. What the hell do we mean when we say some track is Rock or Jazz or Easy Listening - to pick three labels under Genre in the iTunes window?

Why not substitute some other non-label-type word for some of those?

By looking at a theme - say work songs and things that could have been sung by people working in the cotton fields of the American south and calling this Theme One you could have a personally selected set of tracks that fit the theme placed into a playlist for further listening and reflection. And you wouldn’t need to worry about what the hell Easy Listening means - you’d be dealing with a classification that makes sense to you, and could be used to compare notes with anyone who wanted to discuss the matter.

Why 31 Themes? Well why not?