The eighteen-year scratch

"The fuck of the century"

Every once in a while you happen across an item that launches an entire avalanche of thoughts and memories. One such artefact is the CD above.

This is its story.

Early in the year 2000 I was putting together a compilation CD-R of electronica tracks. Some were popular tunes, some were more obscure, and all were great at the time. I still enjoy them today (although, admittedly, Cotton Eye Joe is somewhat of a blemish that hasn’t aged well).

Most tracks were ripped from original CDs courtesy of a DJ friend — but there was one tune I simply couldn’t source anywhere. None of my contacts had it. The nascent internet was of no use.

That tune was LaTour’s Blue, “as heard in the motion picture Basic Instinct“. It gets played during the nightclub scene. Most people probably won’t remember it.

I had to have it; my compilation wouldn’t have been complete otherwise.

Time passes.

One day in April I’m in a pawn shop in an area called Witpoortjie. I never got the table I was hoping to find there but what I did find was a selection of second-hand CDs. Naturally I browsed through them. Imagine my surprise when the very tune I had been looking for was right among them.


Back at home I promptly set about ripping the CD-single but, alas, it skipped due to two concentric scratches which I hadn’t noticed earlier.

The worst kind of scratches to have on a CD

Some determined sound editing later I was able to complete my compilation disc. Titled Danse Macabre, it became a semi-permanent fixture in the car’s CD shuttle, and I probably even handed a few extra copies out to friends. Time and space passes.

The shuttle eventually falls into disuse and the disc finds itself in a box in the basement.

More time passes.

In early 2017 the boxes got unearthed in a rush to back up some discs after it turned out that others from the same epoch had become almost unplayable. They skipped and scratched during playback, and some were exceedingly stubborn toward getting ripped.

Chief among those was Danse Macabre. Luckily I had three versions from which to rebuild a working backup copy.

I’ve put it up on Mixcloud If you want to give it a listen (scratches and all).

So here we are, another year later.  The original CD-single turns up in yet another box. We know the disc is scratched. What hasn’t been said is that the insert is also torn and water damaged. To complete the disaster, I accidentally dropped it and broke the case.

This cursed disc does not want to be sold: it wants to be ripped and then discarded.

…which is what I did. Farewell, Nick and Catherine!

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